Beach filmmakers hope to move into big time
By Mike Holtzclaw
“Moving” premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 2, at the Roper Performing Arts
Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can
be reserved by phone toll-free at 1-877-841-5582 or online at www.whatismoving.com.
Key actors quit before big
scenes. An actress playing a prostitute was dropped at the
last moment when it turned out she was only 14 years old. An
angry neighbor kept running a lawn mower over the same patch
of grass in order to disrupt filming.
you," says Matthew Friedman of Virginia Beach, "If we could
make a movie about the making of this movie, that one would
make a million bucks."
Instead, Friedman and his
brother Jonathan must be content with the film itself,
"Moving," which premieres on Saturday at the Roper Performing
Arts Center in Norfolk. The film, made with about $15,000 of
their own money and several years of their time, is their
first feature-length production.
It began when Jonathan
Friedman was in a script writing class at James Madison
University and had a burst of inspiration -- a man comes home
from work and finds that his entire house has been stolen --
while working on a class assignment.
"He wrote the
first 10 pages of the script for that class," Matthew Friedman
says. "The class loved it. The professor loved it. They told
him he should make a movie out of it. So he did."
brothers worked together on the screenplay, which expanded
into a road picture about the man's attempts to recover the
stolen home and everything in it. They shot it, with Jonathan
directing and Matthew assisting, on locations in Virginia
Beach, Norfolk and Portsmouth. The actors and crew members
largely worked for free, hoping for exposure.
aspiring filmmakers in recent years, the Friedmans used
affordable equipment -- videotape, digital cameras, simple
computer software -- to make the film on a tight budget.
Jonathan financed it by purchasing video equipment at auctions
and then re-selling it online.
"This is a movie that
should have cost 20 or 30 million dollars," Matthew
The entire filmmaking process is detailed on
a Web site -- www.whatismoving.com -- that is almost as
entertaining as the movie itself, complete with photos of the
After its premiere Saturday,
"Moving" will be shown at international independent film
festivals in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. For now,
they are focusing on the local event this weekend. But it's
When asked how old he is, Matthew turns to
his brother and asks, "I'm 28, right?" Confirmed. And Jonathan
"You'll have to forgive me," Matthew says. "I've
lost all track of time since filming began. I don't know what
time it is or even what month it is. I have to set an alarm to
remind me to set an alarm."
In recent years, videotape
and more affordable equipment have opened a whole new world
for young filmmakers. In 1992, Robert Rodriguez' "El
Mariachi," filmed on a budget of $7,000, became a critical hit
and made $2 million on the art house circuit. In 1999, "The
Blair Witch Project" went from an indie film with good buzz to
a $140 million blockbuster.
While the Friedmans are
keeping their expectations in check, Matthew admits that he
occasionally fantasizes about "Moving" hitting the fast track
on the film festival circuit.
"In fact, I think about
it all the time," he says. "Jonathan's the more pragmatic one.
But right now we're just focusing on this weekend and getting
it all to come off well. After that, we'll see where it
Mike Holtzclaw can be reached at 928-6479 or by
e-mail at email@example.com
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