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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Alum documentary screens at Loft


    Courtesy of Blump International Films

    A UA alumnus is hosting the Tucson premiere of his eclectic, crazy and all-around fun film, “Giuseppe Makes a Movie,” this Saturday at 9 p.m. at The Loft Cinema. 

    Mike Plante, the senior programmer at Sundance Film Festival and one of the producers of “Giuseppe Makes a Movie,” graduated from the UA in 1994 with a degree in what was then known as media arts. From there, he worked at several independent film theaters and shops around Tucson, including The Loft, the Screening Room and Casa Video. While working at these places, Plante was publishing a film magazine that he put together and distributed himself.

    In order to watch films and find things to discuss in his magazine, Plante said he traveled to a number of film festivals, including BeFilm, a New York underground film festival that had a history of playing films that go against traditional cinema in every sense of the word. While in attendance, Plante said he saw one of Giuseppe Andrews’ films and found his work to be intriguing, so Plante began interviewing him for his magazine every once in a while.

    Later, while working at the CineVegas International Film Festival, Plante said he and screenwriter, director and producer Adam Rifkin met when one of Rifkin’s films was shown in the fest. Rifkin directed “Detroit Rock City,” a feature film that Andrews had starred in back in the 1990s, and he and Plante began discussing their mutual appreciation for Andrews’ films.

    “He was always a very fascinating character,” Rifkin said. “The other kids in ‘Detroit Rock City’ would be off smoking pot or playing video games, but Giuseppe would want to sit on set all day and talk about moviemaking.” 

    After Andrews began making his own films, Rifkin said he noticed how strange and bizarre they were. Finding his films and his process wildly intriguing, Rifkin said he asked Andrews if he could document a weekend of shooting. Andrews agreed, and Rifkin collected over 26 hours of footage over the course of the weekend shoot. 

    At the time he shot it, Rifkin hadn’t been able to find time to edit any of the footage together, but when he told Plante about the tapes, a new project was born. After the two hired David Nordstrom as the editor and Plante took up the position of producer, it wasn’t long before the pile of raw footage was transformed into a feature-length documentary.

    The documentary film chronicles Andrews and the creation of one of his films around the trailer park that he calls home. Featuring his neighbors from the trailer park complex and homeless people that reside nearby, Andrews’ films are not the typical Hollywood production.

    Both Rifkin and Plante said they found it incredible that Andrews would make a film with people considered to be on the fringe of society. The cast and crew would develop a tight family atmosphere while working on the movie.

    “Here are people who, if they were walking down the street, most people would cross to avoid them, and Andrews is embracing them and working with them as equals,” Rifkin said. 

    Andrews’ films are outrageous and crazy, as is the documentary that chronicles the making of one of them.

    “Giuseppe Makes a Movie” had its worldwide premiere at Hot Docs, a documentary film festival in Toronto, last year and has since gone on to screen at various festivals and at theaters all around the world. The film has gained incredibly high reviews from critics and has been received exceptionally well by the public. Rifkin and Plante said they believed their documentary would never see the light of day, so they are beyond thrilled with the amount of success the film has seen so far.

    Beyond all else, Plante said he hopes that Andrews’ creativity and determination shown in the film inspires the audience to embrace their passions.

    “I hope that people see it and are like, ‘I’m going to make something because I want to make it,’” Plante said. “You can’t stop creativity because you’re afraid how the world might react.”


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