‘For Lovers Only’ : 2 Filmmakers, 2 Cameras, 2 Actors, 1 Script. Wait, What?!
[Please, give me the airline you took and that didn’t charge you for extra luggage]
A little recap here: a month ago, the Polish Brothers did an exclusive interview with The Wrap where they talked about their new feature film, For Lovers Only, shot in Paris on a Canon 5D with Castle actress Stana Katic and that went up to number 2 on iTunes, thanks to a strong word-to-mouth on twitter, making it the sensation of July.
“It was me, Mike and Stana, and that was it. We shot for 12 days, and the whole point was to capture this really intense intimacy between the two characters.”, screenwriter and actor Mark Polish explained.
But not only did the Polish brothers managed to shoot an indie Black & White movie that found an audience, they also did it for zero dollar.
Needless to say that everybody jumped on the unbeatable success story of the moment, without being too concerned by the bold affirmation that they shot a feature in a foreign country for zero dollar.
Today, if you go on the Beyond the Scenes Website page you can read:
Two Filmmakers? Two cameras?
I thought it was just the three of them!
The second filmmaker’s name is not revealed and Michael Polish is the only person credited on IMDB and on the website as cinematographer and director, so it’s hard to know if it refers to Mark, or to the mysterious man playing with a DSLR on the picture below, or to the mysterious fifth person taking the overall picture. (Note that we’re already far from the three-people-hanging-out-in-Paris-low-key-style)
[No credits for Waldo]
So what happened during the Wrap interview? A second filmmaker doesn’t seem like an element you would forget mentioning, especially if you had to come up with names to fill up the credits list:
In the end, Michael and Mark even had to make up some names for the film’s title sequence, which they wanted to stretch out to a reasonable length in order to fit the score that had been written by their friend Kubilay Uner.
What bothers me with #FLO, as twitter fans hashtaged the movie, is that the Polish brothers seem to be quite flexible with facts to cultivate the beautiful and romanticized story that they shot a feature for zero dollar and that everybody is just too eager to buy it.
When you already have accomplished something worth talking about by shooting a feature, quickly, for cheap (not for zero, but for cheap), and that is sky rocketing on iTunes, why pushing the envelope and going for the extra-incredible story?
Ok obviously this is a rhetorical question. And yes, their strategy proved them right, and by playing it all ‘we-didn’t-care-about-the-outcome-we-just-followed-our-heart’, they somehow found respect and financial success.
But as I said in my previous article about For Lovers Only, admitting they spent even only $200 to shoot the film wouldn’t have tarnish the prestige that came out of their enterprise and would have make it plausible.
I would have appreciated their effort much more if they had not play around with facts that didn’t need to be tweaked.
Because nobody shoots a movie for zero dollar and to affirm it is not cool, it just puts more pressure on independent filmmakers trying to explain to potential investors that it does cost a bit of money to make even a modest feature.
In real life at least.
UPDATE: 08/12/11: Stacey clarified several points on the first comment below.