This week FDTC writer Adam Holtzapfel had a chance to chat with filmmaker Victor Bonacore about Diary of a Deadbeat, his future projects, and more.
Adam Holtzapfel – What was the process like for making Diary of a Deadbeat?
Victor Bonacore - Well, it was long and was the driving force of anything creative I did for about 6, 7 years. It started when I acquired the rights to Jim's early, unseen 8mm films. While I was working for a distribution company called Media Blasters in 2009, I was heading their theatrical department and through booking a film I got wind that the earliest Jim Vanbebber films had become available for the first time. Being a fan, I wanted to acquire and them and give it a proper release. I had gotten in contact with Jim, then took out a loan and purchased the rights to his films. Once I had the films in my possession and got to sit down and watch them I saw how amazing they were and how many films there were! I thought all these epic short films Jim made from his pre-teens through his college years should really be the introduction of Jim in a feature documentary. Jim and I talked about it and then I booked a flight to LA to meet and interview Jim for the first time. From that point on, this documentary became my obsession, trying to track down anyone and everyone that had worked with Jim, fans, other filmmakers, lost footage, stories, etc, and that was my life for 6 years, while I was simultaneously editing it.
AH – When we had chatted at Days of the Dead in 2015 and Nightmares Film Festival, we had chatted briefly about The Woodsman, how is that going?
VB - "Woodsman: Forest of Pain" is near completion. What started out as me and Louis Justin making a weekend movie together as if we were kids doing backyard movies again. Rounding up all our friends, girlfriends, neighbors, co-workers, family members. Lots of blood splatter, no money, and writing scenes as we went, we ended up turning "Woodsman" into a multi-weekend shoot over the course of a year. We shot on glorious High 8 and super 8mm. It was really fun to make. There is even a death by stunner. There is literally one shot left to shoot and then we are going to finish editing it. Haley Madison stars in this one, and came on board as a producer embracing the insanity and Z-budget we were working with Erin Brown, Tina Krause, Linnea Quigley, Erin Ryan, Jadie Marie, Andie Noir & Matt Desiderio get featured in here. It Should be out later this year.
AH – Other than The Woodsman, do you have any other projects planned?
VB - Totally. Well "Savage Nature" will be out shortly, a movie I helped produce and act in. Really fun cast and crew and really wild shoot! Directed by Chris Noir, who shot and edited "Hunters" A movie called "Devotion" I produced, act and edited is coming out this summer. In fact the pre-orders just went up for that one. It’s an experimental feature film with a lot of fucking heart directed by Jessie Seitz. The pre-order link for that can be found here:
There are a few films I have been wanting to make for while now.-"Blood Wings: A Satanic Fantasy" That's my real baby I am dying to finish. A feature film I started directing in 2009, shot on 16mm. I was living in Jersey with a bunch of artists and we started making this movie about a little girl who lives in a world of shit but is befriended by a local satanic cult that help her with her insecurities, and protect her while also breaking up dog fighting rings, exposing the police, and waging war on child molesters, super Christians and more. Of course money ran out because film is fucking expensive. After developing, transferring, etc, I just couldn't keep up anymore. It’s about 60% shot though and I have a few producers interested in helping me finish it, which is all I want to do. Making money at this point on the film is not a focus, I just want to finish it.
Then there is "Shitfucked!" a film I want to make so bad. Based on the short story from writer Hannah Neurotica "Shitfucked: A Vile Love Story." It's a truly nasty but beautiful story about two girls who are best friends who are also madly in love with each other, living in a trashy, drug fueled, hyper, post apocalyptic world, with an emphasis on bodily functions. All men are scum and girl gangs are the way of the future. Are Aloe & Vera and their trusty sidekick Punk Kid a match for Dirtbag Mike? Well. We will see when I make this movie! Me and Hannah became friends around the same time I started making "Blood Wings" and she asked me If wanted to make the movie based on her story since loved it so much. And I promise I will. The hardest part about trying to make this movie is securing the cast because the story goes for it and I want to do Hannah's story justice and make it as slimy, gooey and filled with as much pus as possible. I have a good portion of the cast now with some talented risk takers, and I got my director of photography set, and am just really looking forward to getting this one going this year.
AH – You’re from New York, but currently based out of Dayton, OH. What drew you there? How has it impacted your filmmaking?
VB - I grew up in Long Island, NY, made movies as a kid there, then went to a film program at a school in Nassau County, made some student films, and worked on tons of bigger productions when I worked at Media Blasters. Jersey was a cool place to start really pushing and making my own shorts and features, a lot of cool places to shoot, weird atmosphere, weird people and it was still close to NY. But moving to Dayton has been great. My girlfriend is what initially drew me out here, and I have really fell in love with the city of Dayton. Living here is way different that NY, but that's not a bad thing. There is a very big community feeling here, people's willingness to lend a hand, provide locations, music, efx work is awesome. Dayton is also a place where Public Access still exists and has a strong presence. I NY, public access went by the wayside a while ago, and that was sad, because Public Access television provided tons of entertainment for me and had a huge impact on my youth. That's where I first discovered filmmaker Nick Zedd, saw shows like "Slacker TV" and then only place when you’re stoned, can't sleep; an old man playing music hits from Italy on a Casio keyboard in a hall full of 80 year old woman playing bingo does the trick. Dayton is just a cool city where punk, roller derby, pro wrestling and art thrive, and I dig that.
AH – Last but not least, what are your top five films of all time?
VB - I haven't thought about this in a while, so this was really tough actually. I tried doing a top 5, which turned into a top 10, which then turned into a top 15. So I hope that's OK. Nostalgia is the reason for most of them and I guess movies I can watch over and over.
1. The Shining. 2. Female Trouble 3.Pee Wee's Big Adventure 4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 5.Taxi Driver 6.Paris is Burning 7.The Warriors 8. Basket Case 9.Return to Oz 10.Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness 11.Midnight Cowboy 12. Out of the Blue 13.Major League 14.Deadbeat at Dawn 15.The Garbage Pail Kids Movie