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An Interview with Mike Davis, Director of President Wolfman

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2014

Films directed Mike Davis on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie President Wolfman - in a few words, what is it about?

 

The President of the United States is bitten by a werewolf and runs wild on the streets of Washington on a murderous rampage.

 

What inspired you to piece together a new narrative movie exclusively from existing vintage material? And how much fun was it to play with all the rather eclectic footage?

 

Budget was my first consideration. I was trying to figure out ways of making a movie on very little money. I’d been working with stock and public domain footage for some time, collecting it as a hobby and making short films, but I always wondered if I could create a full feature out of it. It’s usually old, grainy and washed out, which makes it unusable for most filmmakers, but when I started thinking of it as “recycling”, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Explosions, riots, animals, spaceships, wars, dinosaurs… it’s all available in this crazy collection of footage that I could never afford to shoot myself. And it’s enormously fun to comb through the old reels looking for great and weird material, like treasure hunting.

 

Quite a portion of your movie was lifted from the 1973 flick The Werewolf of Washington - in a nutshell, why that movie, and in what ways did you change its plot around?

 

In order to make a full length movie I need consistent characters, so I had to find an existing public domain feature to use as a base to take footage from. I discovered The Werewolf of Washington, saw a guy in a suit who’s a werewolf, he’s in Washington… I got my story! Honestly, I’ve never watched the original film all the way through, I just mine it for footage. But I do know that the werewolf character is not the President and the story is completely different.

 

What were your inspirations for the story of President Wolfman?

 

Originally the idea was to make the President a hapless idiot who has this terrible affliction befall him. That was when George W. Bush was still in office. But when Obama came in, I started thinking about the frustration he must feel about being blocked at every turn by his opponents. What would happen if he reached a boiling point and started killing them? How would the public react? It made for a far more interesting character, so, thanks, Obama!

 

Do describe your movie's brand of humour for a bit, and how serious were you about the political satire involved?

 

I would call the humor absurd, and the jokes range from juvenile to cunning. I tried to throw everything in because everyone's sense of humor is different, it just had to be non stop. The satire makes some serious points, but I equally offend both ends of the political spectrum because they all deserve to be made fun of.

 

What can you tell us about President Wolfman's voice cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Marc Evan Jackson, who plays the title role, is a brilliant comedic actor who starred in several productions by my friend, director Matt Piedmont. He sounds like a high school teacher whose entire class is tripping on LSD but has no idea and is trying to maintain order. It's the combination of staid and ridiculous that was needed to bring the character of John Wolfman to life. Most everyone else are professional voice over artists who do a lot of animation and commercial work. Each one plays about ten roles in the movie, which you would never know because they are so talented.

 

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

 

Really good so far. People get excited about the ‘green’ movie technique, and in these days of $200 million Hollywood blockbusters and remakes, they appreciate someone attempting something different even if it’s not quite their sensibility.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

I am currently working on my next recycled feature. This time, it’s a World War Two epic.

 

What got you into the filmworld to begin with, and did you receive any formal education on the subject?

 

I went to school for screenwriting. Writing is my first love, but when I think about it, I’ve been making weird little films since I was a kid.

 

Your directorial debut was, I believe, Sex Galaxy - so a few words about that one?

 

It was my inaugural attempt at creating a ‘green’ feature, a 1950’s style sci-fi sex comedy about a group of astronauts who travel to an alien planet that’s like a red light district for their galaxy. I used about fifty different films as footage sources, for President Wolfman I used over one hundred. The new movie will be one hundred and fifty.

 


With President Wolfman and Sex Galaxy both made up from existing material, could you ever be persuaded to actually shoot a movie?

 

I could be convinced as long as drugs and prostitutes were part of the deal. But for now, I’m very satisfied working in this genre.

 

Other filmwork of yours you'd like to talk about?

 

I do a lot of freelance screenwriting and am always working on my own ideas for screenplays. I also provide stock footage for more mainstream productions and enjoy that as well. Call me, we’ll have lunch.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Russ Meyer, Roger Corman [Roger Corman bio - click here], Herschell Gordon Lewis [Herschell Gordon Lewis bio - click here], Frederico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, John Waters.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Planet of the Apes, Camille 2000, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, 2001: A Space Odyssey, This is Spinal Tap, Midnight Cowboy, Adaptation, The Good The Bad and The Ugly.

 

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

 

I didn’t understand The Avengers.

 

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

 

Feeling lucky ?
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www.votewolfman.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/President-Wolfman/150596518374729?ref=hl

www.stag-films.com

 

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

 

One of my goals with the whole ‘green movie’ thing is to inspire other filmmakers to make movies using the same technique. I kept a blog outlining step by step how I constructed President Wolfman as a resource for others to use: www.presidentwolfman.com

 

I’ve also started an organization called Hollywood PD - Public Domain that calls on Hollywood producers and studios to release their unused and unwanted stock footage into the public domain, also as a resource for independent filmmakers. Visit https://www.facebook.com/HollywoodPd?ref=stream

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

It was my pleasure. Thanks for checking out President Wolfman.

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

Jetzt kaufen bei
Lulu.com