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An Interview with David R. Higgins, Writer/Director, and Bobby Deline, Producer of The Aviation Cocktail

by Mike Haberfelner

March 2015

David R. Higgins on (re)Search my Trash

Bobby Deline on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie The Aviation Cocktail - in a few words, what is it about?


Both: We liked how you summed it up in your review Mike, “The Aviation Cocktail is pretty much rural drama, tight thriller and PTSD, all rolled into one, and it works rather splendidly thanks to a good narrative buildup that reveals more and more facts only gradually, doesn’t try to explain too much away, and ultimately creates a puzzle that looks almost certainly a whole lot different from what you might have expected. And add to that a very solid directorial effort, a very competent ensemble cast, and of course some wonderfully authentic sets and props, and you’ve got yourself a pretty good movie!”


What were your inspirations for writing The Aviation Cocktail?


David: I had heard some stories about my grandfather and his aviation history, then embellished on them, adding a little Coen brothers flair, and there you have it. I was really motivated to write because of some personal stuff.


How did the project get off the ground then?


Bobby: Nice aviation pun! Well, the project first ‘took off’ when we came upon Valentine, Nebraska while location scouting. The city was extremely excited to work with the production and offered localized incentives to offset some production costs through their economic development board (gas, lodging, food, etc.).


With The Aviation Cocktail being a period piece, what were the main challenges regarding finding the right locations, right props and costumes ... and where did you get all those wonderful vintage cars and that airplane from?


David: There were great locations around Valentine and our production designer Eileen Dennehy made them look even better! We had a wonderful location scout in named Janette Duffield who was extremely helpful and generous with her time and knowledge. We were also lucky enough to hire Carole Zacek as our costume designer. Aside from the police car that was provided by the Denver Police, the cars belonged to locals in Valentine. I can’t stress this enough, the film wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else. It’s an extremely film friendly city! The 1949 Stinson Voyager belonged to our good friend Dennis Lacy who aside from being a great pilot is a fantastic guy.


As far as I could tell, quite some scenes of The Aviation Cocktail were shot in the snow - now what challenges did that post?


Bobby: It was quite challenging to get the permit to dump that much snow on one location. Seriously though the hardest part was waiting for a snow storm that big. It didn’t happen during principal photography, or even in state (Nebraska), but Colorado was scheduled to have a blizzard. So what we did was trailer the hero car from Nebraska to Colorado, park it and waited for the blizzard! Luckily the weather gods smiled upon us.


David, what can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


David: Everyone has a first film, right? I went for a naturalistic approach and tried not to have any shots draw attention to themselves. Honestly I was faced with the problem of coverage on a daily basis, we were on an extremely tight schedule. I’ll do some ‘I’m a director’ shots on the next one...


What was your collaboration like during the shoot? And what can you tell us about your past collaborations ... and how did the two of you first meet, actually?


Bobby: Fighting, shouting and then telling each other good night.


David: Plus we have a similar sense of humor and believe that if you’re not having fun on set, you’re doing something wrong. Did we have fun?


Bobby: Of course. And we met online. True story, nothing weird just through a Colorado Production Resource Guide. It was in regards to another film, but it’s still funny to tell people you met online.


David: Especially in cowboy country.


Bobby: In all seriousness, we both had the same goals in mind and were able to work together and individually to achieve them while on set.


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


David: Keeping with our Colorado roots, we wanted to hire locals and showcase their skills. There are lots of talented people outside LA and we auditioned hundreds. Similar thing with casting locally in Valentine. Basically if someone is the character, they’re the character.


Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit, and the on-set atmosphere?


Bobby: Just like-minded people working together for a common goal. I mean, making a movie is hard work and requires everyone to pull together as a community. And as with any shoot there are a few bad apples, but being in the middle of nowhere makes it easy to kill them off quickly and bury them in a ditch. Really though, everyone is giving 100% for long hours and at times stress levels can boil over. Everyone was extremely professional and it’s good to know when to take a break.


A few words about audience and critical reception of your movie so far?


David: As far as theatrical, we’ve had some great reviews. People genuinely seem to like it and we’ve been approached with questions at many film festivals. It won Best Narrative Feature at the Trail Dance Film Festival (2013).


Bobby: Positivity abounds on VOD as well. User reviews rate it as a 7.1/10 on IMDb and a 4.4/5 on Amazon.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Bobby Deline

David R. Higgins

Bobby: We’ve been working on a Fury 2 script.


David: Actually we have been developing a feature Western and hope to shoot it in the Nebraska sandhills. It’s the untold true story about an American outlaw and if we don’t get it going soon I may lose my mind.


What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?


David: Early on in school I found it much more fun to do video projects over traditional homework and the ‘short films’ went over pretty well with fellow classmates. Later on I got a BFA in film production from the University of Colorado (Denver), but I learned the most from real life, on set experiences.


Bobby: Same. It just seemed like the only job that was really worth it. If MI6 calls, I might take a hiatus but for the most part there’s nothing more rewarding than taking something you picture in your brain and sharing it with others.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to The Aviation Cocktail, in whatever position?


David: I tried to work in every department, especially camera, before tackling a feature as writer/director. In many ways it allows insight into what different people need to make the machine run smoothly. I’ve worked in various crew positions (professionally )for about a decade before this film. Now that I have the directing bug, it’s all I want to do.


Bobby: I have worked primarily in television and this was my first go’round on a film this size.


Filmmakers, writers, producers, whoever else who inspire you?


David: Kubrick, Peckinpah, John Huston, Kurosawa, Robert Altman, Hemingway, Vonnegut, Heinlein, McMurtry, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Nick Cave, mom and dad...


Bobby: I would say family as well but in the industry I think Bob Evans, Eastwood and Wayne. Really anyone who has the balls to make an indie.


Your favourite movies?


David: That’s a tough one. It’s kind of like asking which child is your favorite in front of your children. What I do have is a rotating Top 5. It can change with my mood, or the weather, or the wind. So as of this year, on this day, at this time and in no particular order: McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Shining (Kubrick version), Ikiru,The Last Picture Show, The African Queen.


Bobby: Both of us grew up in the West and love Westerns. Also, anything with Will Ferrell.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


David: It’s difficult to hate too much, knowing the vast amount of work that goes into any film. Of course I can’t say I’m a big fan of Adam Sandler movies made in the last 10 years or so...


Bobby: The Aviation Cocktail.


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


Feeling lucky ?
Want to
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find The Aviation Cocktail
at the amazons ...


Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)

Germany (East AND West)

Looking for imports ?
Find The Aviation Cocktail here ...

Your shop for all things Thai

Something naughty ?
(Must be over 18 to go there !)

x-rated  find The Aviation Cocktail at

Bobby: We are really supportive of other indie films so like us and we will like you! (official) (FB)

@AviationCocktal (Twitter)
(Amazon) (iTunes) (Vimeo)


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


Bobby: The more reviews, tweets and follows online we can get will really help us to boost the film’s exposure. If you like the film, we urge you to spread the word about it so that we can continue to bring you more stories like this.


David: Again, a big thanks to Valentine, Nebraska and all our family, friends and fans for their continued support!


Thanks for the interview!


Both: Thanks Mike!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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