I would like to introduce again my second interview with Director Steve Balderson.I was looking over his resume as I pieced together this interview and I have to say I feel like I have gone on an extraordinary journey. I feel like I walked through different lives as I watched the trailers for his movies. All truly a work of art and extraordinary film making. Please welcome Steve Balderson to Bang Noir…Please check out his movies and if you haven’t seen a Balderson film yet, then what are you waiting for…
STEVE BALDERSON – BIO 2011
In a review of Steve’s fifth feature film THE CASSEROLE CLUB, critic MJ Simpson in England writes the film is: “Magnificent, another tour-de-force by the best kept secret in American cinema.”
THE CASSEROLE CLUB stars Susan Traylor, Daniela Sea, and former Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson in his film debut. The film premiered in New York City at Visionfest`11 in June collecting 9 Independent Vision Award nominations and winning 5: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Kevin Richardson, Best Actress for Susan Traylor, and Best Production Design.
Steve’s fourth feature was STUCK! (which starred Karen Black, Susan Traylor, Jane Wiedlin, and Mink Stole). The film premiered in October, 2009, at the Raindance Film Festival in London. It then screened as an official selection at Skeive Filmer in Norway, the Seattle LGBT Film Festival, the Southwest LGBT Film Festival, Reeling – Chicago’s LGBT Film Festival, and others. In March, STUCK! screened at the Boston Underground Film Festival where Mink Stole was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Balderson’s third feature film, WATCH OUT, was highly praised by critics as “One of the great cult films of all time.” WATCH OUT also premiered at Raindance to sold-out crowds, where it was nominated for Best International Feature.
Film Threat writes, Balderson “makes movies that are so gorgeous that it’s not unreasonable to say that, cinematographically at least; he’s the equal of an Argento or Kubrick in their prime. Some people have perfect vocal pitch, Steve has perfect visual composition.”
WATCH OUT was released theatrically in 2008 to sold-out audiences in the roadshow “Stop Turning Me On” world tour. It was released on DVD in October 2008, where it debuted at #24 on Amazon.com’s Top 100.
Roger Ebert gave Balderson’s second film, the surrealist crime drama FIRECRACKER (starring Karen Black and Mike Patton) a special jury award on his list of 2005’s Best Films. The breathtaking imagery in FIRECRACKER pushed through the limits of cinema, establishing Balderson as one of today’s finest visual storytellers.
Balderson’s other work includes the critically-acclaimed PHONE SEX (featuring Margaret Cho, Ron Jeremy, Penn Jillette and Lloyd Kaufman), PEP SQUAD (the satire that predicted American school violence), UNDERBELLY (a year in the life of dancer Princess Farhana) and the award-winning WAMEGO documentary series about DIY Filmmaking. If you are unfamiliar with Balderson’s movies, you can rent or purchase them almost anywhere in the world.
Steve is also the subject of a book by author Joe Schaefer. In it, the author writes, “Having a dream and actually sitting down and hashing out how one will achieve it are two different things. Steve Balderson longed to be a filmmaker, so he made it happen. This writer/director/producer just may be the personification of the new American dream.” More information about Steve Balderson can be found on his website Dikenga.com
or by searching his name on the internet.
Awards for Steve Balderson
* 2011 Visionfest – Winner Best Director Independent Vision Awards (The Casserole Club)
* 2011 Visionfest – Winner Best Picture Independent Vision Awards (The Casserole Club)
* 2011 Visionfest – Winner Production Design Independent Vision Awards (The Casserole Club)
* 2011 Visionfest – Nominee The Abe Schrager Award for Cinematography (The Casserole Club)
* 2008 Raindance Film Festival – Nominee Best International Feature (Watch Out)
* 2005 Visionfest – Winner Domani Vision Award (Firecracker)
* 2005 Visionfest – Winner Best Film (Firecracker)
* 2005 Visionfest – Winner Best Cinematography (Firecracker)
* 2005 Fantasporto – Nomination Best Film (Firecracker)
* 2004 Raindance Film Festival – Jury Prize Nomination Best Film (Firecracker)
* 2004 Fox Film Festival – Winner Best Film (Wamego: Making Movies Anywhere)
* 2004 KAN Film Festival – Winner Independent Filmmaker Award (Wamego)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Winner Killer-B Award Best Screenplay (Pep Squad)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Nomination Killer-B Best Director (Pep Squad)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Nomination Killer-B Best Picture (Pep Squad)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Nomination Killer-B Best Cinematography (Pep Squad)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Nomination Killer-B Best Editing (Pep Squad)
* 2000 B-Movie Film Festival – Nomination Killer-B Best Set Design (Pep Squad)
* 1999 Great Plains Film Festival – Best Film Nomination (Pep Squad)
* 1999 Fantasporto – Nomination Best Film (Pep Squad)
* 1998 Cannes Film Festival – World Premiere Marché du Film (Pep Squad)
Congrats on your shoot for you new movie Culture Shock! I hope everything went well? Can you tell me about the movie?
SB: Culture Shock is about 4 American college grads going abroad for the first time, and getting caught up in an international crime ring.
WB: This is the second film Anthony Pedone has worked on with you. Can you tell me your experience with him? How did you meet?
SB: Anthony and I met after he directed his feature The Why. I gave him advice on marketing and getting it out there. I asked him to then document the making of Casserole Club, and we got along so well, I invited him to come to London to be an assistant cinematographer on Culture Shock. He’s an incredibly hard worker, and we get along really well.
WB: I also need to congratulate you on The Casserole Club! I know it showed at Raindance and that is great. Did you think The Casserole Club was going to be as big as it is?
SB: yes. Lol
WB: How did you cast for the film Culture Shock? From my understanding you filmed it in Europe. What was that like?
SB: I cast carefully, just like I do any movie. It’s important to me that people all fit the mold, so that at the end of the day we can come together over a meal and enjoy being around each other. There are over 50 actors in Culture Shock, most based in Europe. So Skype was essential throughout the casting an pre-production phase.
WB: Do you have any new projects in the works?
SB: yes, there are two films on the slate and I’m keeping them top secret.
WB: What influences you as a director?
SB: art, travel, and exploring different cultures influence me the most
WB: Do you generally write all your scripts or do you pick them out?
SB: I have written my own movies as well as teamed up with screenwriter Frankie Krainz.
WB: You have (to me and I’m sure with countless others) reinvented the way of making movies. I think it is catching on. How does that make you feel?
SB: hopeful. If more people made movies the way I do, there would be a lot more happiness and less stress out in the world.
WB: Would you call yourself a visionary? Why?
SB: sure. Anyone can be a visionary if they want to be. But it’s hard to think differently for a lot of people, so many never get there emotionally. It’s much easier to go with the flow and do what everyone else is expecting of you.
WB: If you could change something about the movie industry what would it be?
SB: taking some tips from what happened to the music industry.
WB: Where do you see movie making going? The way studios are making them with large budgets. This is the direction if this question. If you could elaborate a general idea about big budget films compared to smaller budget films that would be great.
SB: there’s always a place for gargantuan blockbusters. But when I hear that a film is postponed because they can’t figure out how to make it for less than 200million dollars, I laugh out loud.
Once again I would like to thank Mr. Balderson for the interview. I can’t wait for his new movie CULTURE SHOCK to come out. I will be posting a review of Casserole Club and Culture Shock so be looking for them as well. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions for Steve. I will make sure he gets them and answers them for you.