Tag Archives: George Miller

THE ‘HIT’ MAN: An Interview with Dominik Starck by Kent Hill

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Dominik Starck is a cool guy who loves and makes movies. That’s a man I’m down for spending some time with – so I did. His new movie, The Hitman Agency, is a complex nest of intrigue, danger, action and redemption. Throw those altogether and you have a great blend that tastes a little like something we’ve had before – yet it’s flavored by Mr. Starck’s unashamed passion for his many cinematic influences as well as the sheer joy he has being a filmmaker.

Most of us, at one time or another, who make fatal decision to go off and pursue a career as an artist, are met with the inevitable speech for our parents which carries the immortal lines like, “You’ll never make any money,” or “Why don’t you get a real job.”

Now Dominik tried that – he tried to deny the fire inside, the voice telling him he wasn’t doing what he was meant to be doing. He wasn’t, as the Bard would say, to thy own self being true.  So he started doing what he had to do, and, for my money, what he does well – he started making movies.

“Making an indie film is close to being a hitman; choose your goal, aim and go after it no matter the obstacles. And like assassinations, it’s a hit and miss with movies. I consider our movie the latter but it’s up to the target audience to decide if that’s the truth or not,” says Starck, the writer/director. While the German independent production by Starck Entertainment and R.J. Nier Films is represented by distributor Generation X Group GmbH at the film market in Cannes (May 8th to 17th) for international sales, the US audience is the first to be able to watch THE HITMAN AGENCY on Amazon.com where it’s available for rent and buy.

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This movie is the directorial debut of writer/producer Dominik Starck who previously worked on the award winning mercenary action film ATOMIC EDEN, starring Blaxploitation legend Fred ‘The Hammer’ Williamson and Lorenzo Lamas (RENEGADE). While being a deliberately different type of movie, THE HITMAN AGENCY features a special appearance by 11 time kickboxing champion Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson from BLOODFIST-fame. Starring American-born Erik Hansen (THE COUNTESS) and LA-based Everett Ray Aponte (ATOMIC EDEN) as competing hitmen from different ends of their assassin-careers, THE HITMAN AGENCY is a character-driven conspiracy-thriller with twists and turns, spiced with some martial arts outbreaks and assassinations. Shot on locations in Germany in English with more blood, sweat, and tears than a real budget, this underdog movie is proof to the phrase that nothing can stop you from making a movie when you really want it. Not even in Germany where there’s no platform for genre films at all.

Like I said at the top, Dominik is a cool guy and a cool filmmaker. He was worried about his English before we spoke but I tell you now as I told him then – “his English is as beautiful as his film-making.” Seek out THE HITMAN AGENCY… (follow the link below)

https://www.amazon.com/Hitman-Agency-Everett-Ray-Aponte/dp/B07BY5Y1XL

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After the Apocalypse: A Conversation with Barry Hunt by Kent Hill

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There are too few films in this day and age that leave you with something to ponder in the wake of experiencing them. But, The Further Adventures of Anse and Bhule in No-Man’s Land is, I’m pleased to report – does not fall into that category.

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As I remarked to its gentleman director – Barry Hunt – I found myself thinking to the influences which drove his artistic choices and compositions. I found traces of Herzog, Annaud, Jodorowsky – even Samuel Beckett.

For you see, this ain’t your typical day in the wake of the devastation of the world as we know it. Mr. Hunt has crafted here a sublime and visual feast that is as deep as it is vast. I found myself recalling films like Quest for Fire, Aguirre and Holy Mountain – even the lost children scenes from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

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One of the founders of the Sowelu Theatre in Portland , Oregon, Hunt has taken this intriguing, theatrical source material and constructed a film which is at once engaging and thought-provoking. And you can’t tell me there are too many films about which offer these sensations anymore. From the opening scene, to the world after the fall, Anse and Bhule also brought back to me the emotions evoked by McCarthy’s The Road. Both are absorbing journeys in which the characters we follow must shed, if you will, their emotional and even physical ties to all they have known. Then and only then can they truly become creatures of the new age, thrust upon them.

I urge you to seek this film out, and prepare yourself for a profound cinematic experience. The burgeoning cinema of Barry Hunt I eagerly anticipate. He has a new film in the spawning, and I have a feeling it will, just as Anse and Bhule did, exceed my expectations while completely stripping them away.

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https://vimeo.com/107316810

I present a fresh and brave new voice in the service of pure cinema. I give you, Barry Hunt.

 

Riding the New Wave: An Interview with Travis Bain by Kent Hill

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It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that the Australian film industry was launched onto the world stage by a band of rebellious genre filmmakers, that would take international cinema screens by storm. Regrettably that age, to the naked eye, may have come and gone like the VHS tape. But not all hope is lost…

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Enter Travis Bain. The boy from New South Wales who, after encountering George’s galaxy far, far away, decided to run off and join the circus so to speak. In short – become a filmmaker. But unlike Spielberg and Abrams, he was not to the 8mm camera born. Young Travis would craft his fantastic adventures on audio tapes, creating a cinema of sound.

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From there he thought he might be able to launch something in a literary manner, writing work that would later become the bread and butter of Aussie action author Matthew Reilly. But, he learned all to quickly that the road to the Everest of publishing was just, if not more arduous, than path toward the Mount Olympus of movie-making.

Down but not discouraged, he took to learning the fundamentals of the cinematic arts and in time would make a debut feature. He would come north to the Sunshine State (Queensland) and find, and you’ll pardon me, his place in the sun.

His latest film is Landfall, starring the iconic Australian acting legend, Vernon Wells (my chat with him here: https://podcastingthemsoftly.com/2016/09/30/zero-defects-remembering-innerspace-with-vernon-wells-by-kent-hill/ ). Travis has ambitious plans for the future. As I listened to him speak passionately about his journey, his current projects, his hopes for the strengthening of the local industry – let’s just say I’m a believer. We need artists of his ilk now more than ever; to bring the spark back to our slumbering screens. And, you can quote me if you like, Travis Bain might just be the man to lead Aussie genre filmmaking in a bold, new direction.

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Our Lady of Lethal: An Interview with Cynthia Rothrock by Kent Hill

Cynthia Ann Christine Rothrock, is an American martial artist and actress who I first encountered in a little movie called Raging Thunder or No Retreat, No Surrender 2 (part of my beloved Seasonal Films Library). From there I followed her through the China O’Brian and Martial Law movies. It is fortuitous that she shares this triple martial arts action extravaganza with Don “The Dragon” Wilson; the pair having shared the screen in a number of Cynthia credits, including The Martial Arts Kid and its forthcoming sequel.

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Rothrock holds black belt rankings in seven styles of martial arts and was a high level competitor in martial arts before becoming an actress.

It was in her hometown in Northern California in 1983 where she was on the Ernie Reyes’ West Coast Martial Arts Demonstration Team. A Leading Asian Film production company, Golden Harvest, was searching, at this time, in Los Angeles for the next Bruce Lee. Rothrock’s forms and manoeuvres were observed at a demonstration by Golden Harvest and they signed a contract with Cynthia there and then. It was two years (1985) later that she made her first martial arts movie, Yes, Madam (or Police Assassins / In the Line of Duty Part 2) which also starred Michelle Yeoh. Proving to be a box office hit, Cynthia ended up staying in Hong Kong until 1988 doing seven films there.

Rothrock would go on to be one of a handful of western performers who achieved stardom in the Hong Kong film industry, before even achieving success in their own country. Producer Pierre David initiated Rothrock’s move to back to America, offering her a co-starring role with Chad McQueen in Martial Law, Rothrock’s first U.S. production. A ten year successful career in B-grade action movies would follow in movies such as: China O’Brien and China O’Brien 2, Guardian Angel, Honour & Glory, No Retreat, No Surrender 2 and Prince of the Sun amongst a roster of thirty films

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Rothrock appeared in the television film The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion. She was also the inspiration for the video game character Sonya Blade from the game Mortal Kombat, though was given neither credit nor compensation. After the film Sci-Fighter, she retired from acting to teach martial arts at her studio in California. She made her comeback in 2012 with a role in the family film Santa’s Summer House, and in 2014, she starred in the action movie Mercenaries, (the all-female Expendables) alongside Kristanna Loken, Brigitte Nielsen, Vivica A. Fox and Zoë Bell directed by Chris Olen Ray.

Like her contemporaries of the genre, Cynthia is still going strong, busy with slate of movies either in the works or beginning production. She is dynamic, fearsome and as I’m sure Cynthia will tell you herself . . . she isn’t too old to quit kicking ass yet.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7DTnJSX0WQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiE18U7to0M

Lunch with the Equalizer: A Conversation with Richard Norton by Kent Hill

Richard was a young lad from Melbourne, Australia plagued by asthma who loved martial arts.

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As he grew in skill, he would eventually catch the eye of the legendary Chuck Norris, who extended an invitation to the young Norton to come and train with him. It was while working as a celebrity bodyguard that he finally found his way round to the home of Norris, and from there he was offered a part in The Octagon as the masked ninja, Kyo.

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This would be the first of more than sixty screen appearances for the action film star, stuntman, stunt/fight coordinator/choreographer and martial arts trainer. He has worked on fights for “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, joined Suicide Squads, trained Scarlett Johansson  for the Manga turned motion picture Ghost in the Shell. He even braved the heat, dust and high-octane insanity on George Miller’s Fury Road.

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As a respected member of the martial arts community, Norton has remained close friends and has shared the screen with fellow industry luminaries such as Jackie Chan, Don “The Dragon”  Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock.

When I spoke with him, Richard was on his way to train the X-Men for another big screen outing, so there is no sign that the humble 67 year old from Melbourne is slowing down.

Richard Norton is a man who remembers well his origins and what it took to climb the mountain of success, upon which he stands, victorious. It was really cool to chat with him. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

So, here he is folks, the ‘real’ action man . . .  Richard Norton.

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PTS Presents NICK AND FRANK’S BEST OF 2015

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We returned to form with our first new recording together since the newest addition to Nick’s family, and the STAR WARS overload that Frank has been overwhelmed by.  We go over our top ten films of the year, top five directors, actors, actresses, supporting actors, supporting actresses, screenplays, cinematographers, score, ensemble and television shows.  We were both very excited to do this, and we hope you enjoy!

Catching up with The Feral Kid: A chat with Emil Minty

I’m excited to bring you my interview with Emil Minty. Emil was selected at the age of eight to appear in Mad Max 2, aka The Road Warrior, which is highly regarded as one of the greatest action films ever made, and a catalyst and inspiration for many of the post apocalyptic movies, video games and artwork we see today. Emil played The Feral Kid, a wild little guy who was never taught a language and functions almost like an animal, proving to be a great asset and help to Max in his quest. Enjoy

Nate: How did it come about that you auditioned, and got the role? You were very young so I’m assuming your parents submitted you. Do you remember much about that day? Was George Miller there?

Emil: I was around 8 years old and my sister was in an acting agency already and she suggested to my parents that I also join to make some pocket money.

Well they signed me up and i was lucky to get a lemonade commercial soon after I had joined.

I then had an audition for Mad Max 2, I don’t remember Who was there at the time but do know that We were not told it was for a movie called MM 2 until later on closer to starting production.

The audition process had got down from a number of kids to a few and we were asked by George Milker to come up with a story of how we became this wild kid in the wasteland.

My father helped me with my backstory and it was basically this:

My parents and I were flying in a plane and ran out of Fuel. My father left to find find fuel or help and did not return. My mother then left me and said she would find my father or help, but she also never returned and I was left alone in the wasteland to defend for myself.
Nate: Very cool! That adds quite another dimension to the role! Your performance is uncannily good, along with Max I’d say the best in the film. Your intuitive portrayal of a wild child was very convincing and believable. Did you receive any training whatsoever before that time, how did your process work to so that? Were you coached on set?
Emil: My mother was with me on set in Broken Hill for the duration of filming and she was always helping me get ready before each day and scene by making sure I was calm and focused on what I was told to do.

George would obviously tell me what I was to do in a particular scene and he was basically my coach throughout filming and getting me to do what he wanted out of my character.

I do remember Sandy Gore, George’s wife at the time was also on set and she would coach me also, and I recall her being there the day of the truck rollover and coaching me on being emotionally upset and hurt when Max carried me out of the wreckage and sits me on the tyre.
Nate: The stunts: you climbing out onto the hood of the careening vehicle looked scarily authentic. How did that work? We’re there safety concerns because you were so you ge?  What are your memories of that rigorous experience?
Emil: In preparation for the stunt where I was on the bonnet of the truck, I recall going to someone’s house or work place in Broken Hill to get sized up and fitted for a harness to wear, I have a vague memory it was a leather harness.

I was attached to I think a cable of some sort that was held by a guy inside the cabin of the truck while I was out on the bonnet.
The truck for some parts was stationary and the crew used blocks and bars for leverage to shake the truck around to make it look like it was moving along the bumpy road.

Other times it was moving but I think only about 30kms give or take. I don’t remember being scared doing this or any of my other stunts.

By the way for the record the only stunt I didn’t do was the back flip, this was done by a local girl in town she was a gymnast.
I do recall the long nights, early mornings and very cold conditions out on location in Broken Hill and I actually got very sick at one stage almost getting pneumonia.

It was also really windy and dusty out on set.
Nate: After Mad Max, you went on to do some other films, as well as commercials, before moving on to other paths in life. Was acting something you really enjoyed and ever pictured doing long term, or did you also know you might end up doing something else?

Emil: I did a few short films after mad max 2 and enjoyed acting and being on a set and at various locations very much, I was doing something I enjoyed and seeing different places and getting treated very well by everyone involved in many productions.

I was still acting while I started working with my brothers mate, a friend of the family as an apprentice jeweller and acting just started to slow down and I just got more interested in having a secure job and getting a trade.

So I just sort of faded out of the movie and television industry and I still work in the jewellery industry and for the same person today 25 years on.
Nate: What are some films that you really enjoy?
Emil: I like all sorts of films so there’s not really any specific genre I like the best, but if I had to choose it would be action films.
One movie does stand out as my all time favourite and that would be THE BOONDOCK SAINTS, the first one as the sequel didn’t do much for me. This would be my favourite film as I can watch it over and over and it still gives me goose bumps when I watch certain scenes especially the music, it draws me into the film like I’m there.

As far as television shows then generally like Australian series that are family and real life drama orientated, of the top of my head like PACKED TO THE RAFTERS, SEA PATROL, POLICE RESCUE and my favourite has been all of the UNDERBELLY series.

Currently a series I love and watch with the family is a show I could not stand once upon a time but now actually watch it religiously is HOME AND AWAY, it’s something we watch as a family so I guess that’s why it has become routine and enjoyable.
Nate: Excellent choice! The Boondocks Saints is one of my favourites as well. So what is life like now for you?
Emil: Life these days for me I guess is just normal like everyone else, always busy working and doing things with the family.

I love the life I have had doing films and meeting the people I have and experiences gained and would not change it for the world nor would I change anything now.

I am currently in the process of building a new family home so this is pretty exciting and feel blessed to have a wonderful wife and kids to complete my life.

I have just purchased a 1973 Ford XA 2 door coupe and I am in the process of building a replica Mad Max Interceptor, so this is a pretty cool time as well and can’t wait to drive it around….so watch out for me on the road lol.

Nate: Sounds awesome! Thanks so much again for your time Emil, and for speaking with me, it means a lot.