ANN TIEMANN LOGGINS: It's hard to do anything new in any genre but the approach I took with BRAAMEN was to combine paranormal with folklore by having a haunting in tandem with a vampire tale. The two characters are linked, causing a conflict between the real world and the afterlife. I prefer scary, creepy films to slashers. I'd rather make someone jump out of their seat than turn their head away. I also didn't want it perceived as a "fanfilm," because it's not.
JH: And just what is a BRAAMEN?
ATL: Well, I don't want to give too much away, but let's say they prefer one gender over another. Also, they are not the traditional suave vampire but more of a demonic killer. The whole concept was fabricated so don't read too many ancient texts to find any credible basis in any folklore or fable. With the popularity of films like "Underworld", we wanted some kind of hybri
JH: Not too many filmmakers /directors are also the lead actor. Do you have any trouble turning one off to do the other?
ATL: Not really. I think being both is pretty natural. I mean, how do you direct actors if you're not feeling it yourself? I really enjoy acting and working with other actors. I'm not interested in sitting in a chair like a dead carcass telling others what to do. It's just a matter of how your brain in wired. I remember watching an interview with George Lucas, who made the observation that he and Stephen Spielberg had totally different approaches to directing because Spielberg could keep more things going in his head at one time, and Lucas could not. Lucas claimed he needed to be more focused because his brain wasn't wired to multi-task the way Spielberg could. I multi-task fairly well, but I think being a Mom has a lot to do with that.
JH: Speaking of Mom, we hear your daughter is a lead character in BRAAMEN.
ATL: The whole project ended up being a family thing. My daughter, Aislynn, has both the talent and the interest in acting. She has found out what a work ethic it takes to do the job. The patience and repetitive nature of doing a take over and over requires patience...something not so normal for a 14 year old. I'm pretty proud of what she's done and how well she takes direction without a diva factor. My fiancé is also in it as the BRAAMEN, as well as some close friends who have been in past films with me. The whole thing was just plain fun. There were no conflicts because all the actors were close friends and that keeps the ego factor at bay.
JH: I understand you're from Chicago, but now live in Lafayette, IN. Do you feel your Chicago roots help define who your are?
ATL : I'd say "yes". The two cities require different mindsets, but that's good because it keeps you on your toes. It's easier to ease into the more laid-back style of the smaller urban city by having the experience of coping with the bigger one. I do have some Chicago
JH: Anything else about the Hoosier state you'd like to share?
ATL: Although Lafayette is a hub for manufacturing, it is still surrounded by corn. You cannot live in west-central Indiana without eventually driving past miles and miles of crops. As a result, BRAAMEN takes place in a rural centered community. One more thing...I was used to cemeteries that are fenced and secure, for the most part. Rural cemeteries in Indiana are in the open, no fences or boundaries and well maintained. I'm still amazed by that.
JH: What were your influences as a child that piqued your interest in cinema and filmmaking?
ATL: There are many films that influenced my interest in cinema. The first film I remember seeing was THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which came out on my fifth birthday. I was amazed with all the awesome creatures and special effects and how real it all seemed. Through the years I was influenced by other genres and each was a new experience that fueled my interest in wanting to be a part of how it all was done.
JH: Are there any particular directors that have been the most influential?
ATL: Well, Lucas, of course, since he was the first big hitter. However, Taylor Hackford, David Fincher, Tarantino, Jonathan Lynn, Rob Reiner, James Cameron and Coppola are a
JH: What actors are your favorites?
ATL: Hands down favorite is Robert Downey Jr. I’ve yet to see him in a role and not be impressed with the performance. In also really like Kevin Spacey, Tom Hanks and Edward Norton - they are all adapt to character. Another favorite is Johnny Depp because he purposely chooses odd and challenging roles instead of just playing off his looks.
JH: We know you were the AD on PURGE CLAUSE featuring Lloyd Kaufman (additional links listed below). Can you give us any highlights of that experience?
ATL: He’s just a funny guy. He’s able to laugh at himself, which is endearing. Watching him and my daughter, Aislynn, play off each other behind the scenes was great. As soon as we got down to
JH: We know you were part of the team working on the new Kaufman documentary and you personally interviewed film legend Roger Corman and Marvel creator Stan Lee in their LA offices. Can you share what that was like?
ATL: It was surreal for me. Never in my life did I imagine I would meet either of them. Both were welcoming to us, in spite of their busy schedules. Mr. Corman has such a professional demeanor, polite and articulate. Stan Lee was completely hilarious! He had us laughing the whole time. Truly a memorable day.
JH: Are there any genres or styles you'd like to explore as a director?
JH: What are your initial plans for marketing BRAAMEN?
ATL: As a short film, the only real market are festivals. These days there are a lot of festivals that are "horror" themed, as well as ones that specialize in shorts. I think I'll avoid any internet display for now and just see what kind of reception it gets in festivals. Nobody wants their baby to be called ugly, but that's all part of the landscape. Acceptance in festivals is the first step to some real world feedback to the viability of your work. Too often I see locally produced films stay in the region and never seek a wider audience. For up front exposure, it's the best place to start. But as time goes, you have to get some input from as many people as possible outside your comfort zone. The typical habit of repeated exposure in the same city with repeated fawning by your constituency is not growth. I think I pulled up my big girl pants a long time ago and can take it on the chin. You have to take the work seriously and not yourself.
JH: One last question: Funding is always a issue with filmmakers. Where did you get the funding for your film?
ATL: This is not trendy...but I actually have a job. Low budget filmmakers today truly believe it's fine to beg for free money when there is no Return on Investment. If people want to give money to people for low budget films, more power to them. My feeling is that keeping the financing in-house keeps the control within the production company and not to Uncle Sid or Marco's Pizza joint. Asking for money is fine if you have a proven product and a fan base that supports you, such as a Lloyd Kaufman. Anything else is just a form of pandering, which isn't me at the core or part of the Midwest work ethic I grew up with. For this project we just pooled money from all our internal sources.