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An Interview with Angel Connell, Director and Star of Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2019

Angel Connell on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll (Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll) is a short comic movie about an independent filmmaker (played my me) who, in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign, fends off a variety of malevolent individuals (usually agents/spies from Russian, North Korea, Iran, et al) who seek to steal his ultimate crowdfunding perk - a Donald Trump fetish doll.


Basic question of course, why a Donald Trump fetish doll - and while we're at it, what can you tell us about the design and creation of the doll?

 

Why not a Donald Trump fetish doll? It's an appropriate symbol for our times in the same way a JFK fetish doll would be an appropriate symbol for the '60s or a Reagan fetish doll would be an appropriate symbol for the '80s. The actual doll itself was created by Scott C. Miller based on my design ideas. I wanted the doll's look to be distinctive yet open to multiple interpretations. Anti-Trump factions would embrace the doll's look as representative of the evil they feel resides deep within the POTUS while the pro-Trump factions would tout the doll's look as emblematic of the President's inherent "dragon energy" (as described by entertainer, fashion designer, and Trump admirer Kanye West).

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll?

 

Plato once observed that "necessity is the mother of invention". That proverb certainly applies to the origin of Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll. I had written a short horror script called Evening of the Evil Eye. To date, that script has been accepted at over two dozen film festivals/competitions, nominated 23 times for "Best Short Script/Screenplay", and won 15 awards/certificates. The success of Evening of the Evil Eye as a screenplay emboldened me to launch a Seed&Spark crowdfunding campaign to raise money to make a short movie based on the Evening of the Evil Eye script. For the thirty-day crowdfunding campaign, I designed a few skits with the purpose of drawing attention to the campaign and raising money for it. One skit would be launched per week with a total of five skits for the entire campaign (plus the prologue and the epilogue). At some point it occurred to me that the skits could be further streamlined into being a short movie in and of itself. When the crowdfunding campaign failed, I decided to go forward with refining the skits into an actual movie that became Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll. Thus did it arise Phoenix-like from the ashes of the failed crowdfunding campaign.

 

photo by Chris Esper

Since the Donald Trump fetish doll also features in another movie of yours, Evening of the Evil Eye, how closely are the two films linked, both narratively and stylistically?

 

IMDb mistakenly lists Evening of the Evil Eye as a completed movie when in fact the project still remains in script form. Once made into a movie, Evening of the Evil Eye will differ from Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll narratively and stylistically. While both projects will be short movies, the former will be a dreamlike horror movie that meditates on the destructive power of hate while the latter is a satiric comedy that pokes fun at both political fanaticism and some of the crowdfunding tropes of indie movies.

 

Do talk about Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll's brand of humour for a bit!

 

The humor in Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll is a mix of lowbrow cartoon slapstick and highbrow verbal repartee. Audience members attuned to the nuances of contemporary politics will enjoy some of the rhetorical clashes between the characters. The more discerning audience members might even spot an Easter Egg or two in the fantastic sound design work done by Chris Esper [Chris Esper interview - click here].

 

What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

Because Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll originated as a bunch of skits designed for the crowdfunding campaign of another movie (Evening of the Evil Eye), I didn't have the time or resources to create the kind of movie I usually make. It was a "no-budget" production that had to be shot in one day and quickly edited so that portions of it would be seen on the Evening of the Evil Eye crowdfunding campaign (as originally planned) as well as it's world premiere in Westford (MA) before the end of 2018. That meant that I had to shoot multiple scenes in one location with only one set-up per scene. I had no formal rehearsals with the cast members; the actors and I would tweak the scene, shoot it, and move on to the next scene if we were all happy with the previous take. In the end, the experience making Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll became in many ways a personal flashback to when I first started out making independent movies in such a stripped-down fashion.

 

You also play the lead/yourself in Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll - so do talk about your performance for a bit, and how close did you remain to the actual Angel Connell?

 

The performance relied a lot on my own personality since I was juggling other hats (casting, director, producer, et al). I had no time to memorize all my lines so I had to rely on cue cards. I was exhausted by the end of the shoot.

 

What can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?

 

I put out an open casting call through social media outlets for non-union acting talent in the New England area. I had a lot of responses but scheduling conflicts prevented many actors from being a part of the project. I had worked with some of the actors (Paul Taft, Kermens Atwood, and Sissy O'Hara) in previous projects so I was confident they were going to be a good fit for their respective roles. The remainder of actors were assigned roles based on how their physicality matched up that of their respective characters. Some actors, such as Corey Wells, played multiple parts. None of the actors had to audition for their roles.

 

A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?

 

The movie was shot in a small basement. The on-set atmosphere was very laid-back with plenty of food and drink to keep everybody in attendance satisfied. The professionalism of the actors kept our shooting ratios very low.

 

The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?

 

The movie will have a limited amount of screenings in the North American film festival circuit. Although it won't be submitted to major the festivals (Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, et al), I hope to see it screened at the smaller festivals spread throughout America. Anyone interested in checking out the movie should follow me on Twitter via #angelconnellea1 in order to get the latest update on when & where the movie will be shown.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll?

 

Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll was recently screened in Providence (RI) and it was extremely well-received by its audience members (who, like the people who viewed the movie during its world premiere, laughed at all the right places). At the Q&A portion of the Providence screening, one viewer expressed his satisfaction that, despite the politics in the movie, the humor was universalistic and non-partisan. I'm currently in the process of obtaining reviews from online critics but so far both you & Michael Den Boer of 10K Bullets have given Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll great reviews. I hope the movie can attract even more acclaim. Even the limited film festival run Raiders of the Hidden Donald Trump Fetish Doll has had so far has produced fantastic results. The movie has been accepted in almost a dozen film festivals and its poster alone has (to date) been nominated seven times and won five awards for "Best Poster".

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

The main project continues to be Evening of the Evil Eye. The script continues to do extremely well in the festival circuit. I'm currently looking for venture capitalists or film-friendly investors to help me finance Evening of the Evil Eye with an eye towards exploiting the merchandising opportunities the script & the movie would present to them. Aside from Evening of the Evil Eye, I continue to write other screenplays and do acting work when I get cast in the occasional indie movie or TV series.

 

Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

Feeling lucky ?
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My movie doesn't have a dedicated website yet but your readers can keep track of its exploits by following me on Twitter via #angelconnellea1

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I'm dying to discuss a few other projects that are in development as we speak but it's too premature for me to do that right now.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank YOU for interviewing me, Michael!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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written by
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