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An Interview with Joe Fishel, Writer, Producer and Star of Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII

by Mike Haberfelner

September 2023

Joe Fishel on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII - in a few words, what's it about?

 

A parody of never-ending movie franchises and Bigfoot movies.

 

With Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII being a monster movie, is that a genre especially dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?

 

When I think of monster movies, my first thought turns to Godzilla. I would like to think the "Bigfoot Unleashed" franchise is the natural heir to the Godzilla legacy, but Iím probably the only person who thinks it.

 

(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII?

 

The main source of inspiration for Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII is the seemingly endless supply of B (and lower grade) Bigfoot movies.

 

A few words about Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII's approach to horror?

 

Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII follows the traditional arc of horror movies in the sense that the question eventually needs to be asked, ďIs the monster the true monster in the film?Ē

 

At least to me, Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII is in parts also wickedly funny - so would you at all agree, and if so, what can you tell us about your movie's brand of comedy?

 

Parody is a fairly easy type of comedy to produce. The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro will be partly a comedy but in a different style than Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII.

 

What were the challenges of bringing Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII to the screen from a producer's point of view?

 

The biggest challenge was trying to find a date to film that met everyoneís schedule. Unlike major Hollywood productions in which everyone is under contract and can be told when filming is taking place, low budget productions need to ask and politely tell.

 

Do talk about Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII's director Don Swanson, and what was your collaboration like?

 

Yeah, I talk about him a lot but most of it is not good ... Iím joking. Maybe.

 

Collaboration the primary day of filming was mostly Don Swanson telling myself and the rest of the cast and crew to walk through the woods and me telling the cast and crew in an apologetic manner that I didnít think we would be walking so much through the woods.

 

You also play Bigfoot in Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII - so what was that experience like?

 

In many ways, itís easier and more enjoyable to act when wearing a costume. The Bigfootcostume was surprisingly very comfortable but the mask was terrible. It was hard to breathe in the mask, I could barely see out of it, and it made me sweat profusely. That being said, it was really fun being Bigfoot. I might write another seven "Bigfoot Unleashed" sequels just to be Sasquatch again and again and againÖ

 

What can you tell us about the rest of Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII's cast, and as producer, how much of a say did you have or demand when it came to the casting process?

 

I was the casting director, so I had the entire say in the process. Bobby nailed his performance as a dog since, well, he is a dog. Gary Miller is a very authentic individual and his authenticity came out as someone who claimed to have seen Bigfoot seven times. John Iwanonkiw and Gregory Begg played incompetent small town B movie police officers to a T. Valena Zitello put in a fantastic performance as an (purposely) overacting neo-1950s B movie actress. A lot of what she did in the movie might seem simple but it wasnít easy. The final product is really her film. Paul Anderson did a great job as a voice actor with three different voices in the short.

 

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

 

We were out in the woods. A lot. I would say it was a fun but professional atmosphere.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII be seen?

 

For the near future, Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII will only be seen at select film festivals. By select, I mean film festivals that select it. It will probably be released online for free in time for Halloween next year (2024).

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII?

 

Overall, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. There was one British film critic who really didnít like it, but Iím not losing any sleep over that one.

 

From what I know, Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII was originally conceived as a segment for your upcoming feature film The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro - so what can you tell us about that movie, and how does the short fit into it? And any idea yet when we get to see the feature?

 

A modern-day fairy tale, The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro is a story of how a group of high school Latin American History class students learn to regret their decision to not fully appreciate the Liberator of Brazil.

 

The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro will have a different look and feel than Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII. The "Bigfoot Unleashed" franchise will be mentioned in two scenes and clips of Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII shown in one scene in the feature film while other clips will be shown on televisions in the background in others. Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII really wonít be a significant part of the feature in terms of the story.

 

The feature should be finished in 2025.

 

Other future projects of yours you'd like to share?

 

I canít predict the future beyond The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro, but I do have ideas for two other films with a similar budget level.

 

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

 

I did take a few classes dealing with the visual arts in junior high and high school in addition to some film acting classes as an adult. A lot of what I gained in terms of knowledge of filmmaking has been informal self-learning and on-the-set experience. I live around Pittsburgh and the film industry has expanded in this region since around 2011. As more film opportunities opened up, I got more interested in the film industry though I had been involved with film productions before 2011. The physical and human film industry infrastructure has really grown in the last decade around Pittsburgh so that makes producing a film in this area much easier.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII?

 

Itís easier for everyone involved just to look at my IMDb page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5203487 

 

Going through your filmography, you seem to be as comfortable in front of the camera as behind it - so what are some of the jobs when it comes to filmmaking that you enjoy the most, what could you do without?

 

Thereís nothing I can say I donít enjoy about the entire filmmaking process, though recently I found trying to secure a location to film can sometimes be a frustrating process.

 

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

 

This is an interesting question because I can be inspired by almost anyone, living or deceased, in terms of what I want or donít want.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

I really enjoy any type of movie that engages and pulls me in to its world.

 

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

 

I really donít like movies that are primarily made to set up the next movie in a franchise, which is part of the inside joke in Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII.

 

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

 

http://www.thehauntingofprincedompedro.com

 

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

 

I would like to thank Noah Crissman who was literally the crew for the Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII primary day of filming as well as designing the movie posters, Cathy Abbinanti for her fabulous makeup job, and, finally, Don Swanson for being the man behind the curtain for this production. Heís also out in front of the curtain. Don was the first person I approached when I had the idea for the feature film. Without him, neither Bigfoot Unleashed, Part VII nor the feature could be made. In addition, I would like to thank everyone who put their faith in me by agreeing to be part of the wider The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro feature film production.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Youíre welcome and I hope we can chat again after The Haunting of Prince Dom Pedro is completed!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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