Odd Brodsky (USA, 93mins)
Directed by: Cindy Baer
Written by: Matthew Irving & Cindy Baer
Cast: Tegan Ashton Cohan, Matthew Kevin Anderson & Scotty Dickert.
ODD BRODSKY is a quirky comedy following the adventures of 30-something Audrey Brodsky, (Tegan Ashton Cohan) who'll do just about anything to find her big break in Hollywood. Encouraged by her mother from a young age, little Audrey makes a grave-side promise to become an actress. Audrey grows up, moves to Hollywood, and finds great success... working 40 hours a week at an office job she hates. Ten years pass in the blink of an eye when Audrey finally decides to reclaim her childhood dream.
Although her befuddled father Joe (John Alton) doesn't understand, Audrey finds support with "the Angels", a group of five “tell-it-like-it-is” girlfriends who encourage one another through tough love. Here we meet fellow Angel Sammy (played by director/actress Cindy Baer) whoʼs obsessed with a movie she directed ten years ago (a parody of Baerʼs real-life first feature PURGORY HOUSE), and we learn sheʼs stuck too. This plot point comes around later in a way that's instrumental to Audrey's plight, albeit not in a way you may expect.
Antics ensue as Audrey fumbles to create her new life. She hires a camera “crew” which is really just one man who goes only by the name of Camera One (Matthew Kevin Anderson) and moves in with a sexy new roommate Spuds (actor/musician Scotty Dickert). Insider jokes about living in Los Angeles bring forth some amusing social commentary about the importance we place on celebrity. But don't be fooled. Below the jokes lies a bittersweet story that proves both inspiring yet realistic.
Although this tale is industry and female centric, anyone who's ever felt stuck, disconnected or invisible will relate to this film. In the end, we are reminded that validation and happiness have little to do with fame. What most people want is to feel connected; connected to themselves, each other and the world.
Inspired by Wes Anderson's "Rushmore", the Coen Brothers "Raising Arizona" and Jean- Peirre Jeunet's "Amelie'', "Odd Brodsky" is a quirky comedy about following your dreams and finding your bliss.
Interview:CSB: Cindy, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. Your film ODD BRODSKY will be shown at the 2015 NYC Independent Film Festival next month. Tell us a little about your background. Where are you from and how did you get into making films?
CB: As a kid I always loved performing and making people laugh. Acting was a great escape. I ended up doing a lot of theater in my hometown of Boston before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 22 to pursue a career in the biz. When I got to LA, to support myself I performed at kids’ birthday parties and events on the weekends, like a lot of young actresses do. I soon created my own company and it become successful fairly quickly. But I wasn't happy. It wasn't what I wanted to be focused on with my life. I ended up selling that business with the intent on finally focusing full time on my acting career, but fate had other plans: I had been a mentor in the Big Sisters of Los Angeles Program for a few years, and right about the time I sold my business, my “little sister” Celeste ran away from home. I proposed to Celeste that if she came back we would make the script she'd been writing into a short film that she could star in. Little did I know it would become a feature-length film called PURGATORY HOUSE that I would direct and produce! The story touched my heart and felt creative on so many different levels. It was a fantasy that took place in the after-life, but dealt with real life teen issues in a very creative way—and it felt important. I learned pretty quickly how much time, effort and passion goes into creating a feature, and fell in love with the whole filmmaking process! PURGATORY HOUSE won my heart and also did really well in the world. It became a critical darling, winning awards and landing distribution with a well-known company. But the best part was feeling connected with the world in a larger way, like we had made a difference in other people's lives. From there I was hooked, and this is why I believe that when you follow your inner callings, life leads you to where you are supposed to be, which is the theme message of my second feature ODD BRODSKY that is playing at the NYC Independent Film Festival.
CSB: What has been your experience as an independent filmmaker? What advice would you give young filmmakers?
CB: After PURGATORY HOUSE I made a few short films and then a second feature. I also continue to act, but don't pursue it like I used to, as I love being behind the camera. My advice to young filmmakers would be to go to film school and surround yourself with like-minded people who know more than you. Study film history and develop an appreciation for where today's movies evolved. Be proactive, takes steps towards achieving your goals each day. And most of all, take risks. Live outside of your comfort zone.
CSB: Your film tells the story of a young woman who risks everything to follow her dreams. What or who inspired your main character, Audrey?
CB: The idea for Audrey, played by the talented Tegan Ashton Cohan, was initially inspired by a dear girlfriend who was in a women's group that I belonged to. She worked in a corporate job she excelled at, but really wanted to be an actress instead. One day I suggested to her that maybe she could quit. She said the idea was ludicrous, and quit the next day. Living in Los Angeles, we are constantly surrounded by people who are in one job and dreaming of another. This movie is dedicated to them. Sometimes you just need to "go for it" and let life steer you into a new path, whatever that path may be!
CSB: How long did it take to complete the film?
CB: Matthew Irving and I wrote the screenplay together and it evolved through several drafts. That process took a few months in total but was spread out over time. Pre-production was 2 months, with soft prep a month before that. Principal photography was 20 days, which consisted of four 5-day-weeks, with some additional pick-up photography in post. Post production took the longest amount of time. Besides editing, the most time-consuming areas were sound design, musical score, which included live mandolin recordings thanks to composer David Gonzalez, song licensing and extensive visual effects. Although the typical audience member won't notice, there are actually over two dozen seamless real-life visual effects in the movie! Everything from a turtle's mouth coughing to a banner-pulling plane, to computer-generated hills that transform Hollywood into Burbank.
CSB: Will you be attending the festival, or maybe just the screening of your film?
CB: I wouldn't miss it! ODD BRODSKY screens Saturday night October 17th at 7:15pm. I hope you can join us.
CSB: What can we expect from you in the future?
CB: I'm currently developing the third feature film in what will be a trilogy about women in different stages of life. While PURGATORY HOUSE centered around an angsty teenage girl and ODD BRODSKY around a 30-something woman, THE APOLOGIST will follow an anonymous do-gooder who's in her 50's. Feel free to follow me on twitter @cindybaer or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/freedreampictures
***Interview with Carolina Solms-Baruth, press representative for the 2015 NYC Independent Film Festival, and Cindy Baer, director of Odd Brodsky.