Interview: Branden Yates

Filmmaker and FDTC writer Stephanie Hensley got the chance to interview Branden Yates, the mastermind behind Indie Sinsastions, the best weekly Drive-In event in the Midwest.
Sitting Down with an Indie SINsation
The Branden Yates Interview
By Stephanie Hensley
I am an avid fan of indie cinema… As a part-time film-maker I know what goes into each project. The blood, the sweat, the tears… the loans and over-drawn bank accounts… Everything that is possible for the dreamers to bring their hopes to reality. It is a rough hobby. It is a rougher lifestyle. Making art and praying that someone out there likes it enough to watch it, rent it, buy it, or even distribute it. It makes film a vulnerable art… An art where you strip naked and stand before the world and wait for judgment or praise. 
Fund raising sucks.
Self-promotion sucks.
Asking friends and family for money to help cover costs sucks.
Film-making can be rough… But it can also be fulfilling.
There is a little event that takes place in Shelbyville, Indiana on the last Wednesday of every month at The Skyline Drive-In, April through October. The event is Indie SINsations and I had the chance to chat with the stellar dude behind the event! 
Each screening is a one-time only occasion. Every Indie SINsations has two different features and surprise short films and trailers. 
So… shall we get to know the man behind this genius event?!?
FDTC: Alright man... You ready for a few professional and a few off the world questions?
Branden Yates: As Tom Atkins would say...thrill me!
FDTC: Rad... We shall start with the basics... What prompted Indie SINsations?
BY: I began putting together screenings at an event at the Strand Theatre entitled Friday Night Frights. I loved it there and had surpassed many milestones as program manager. My last two events were completely off-the-wall from what I had been doing with the event, both were the two best attended events I had ever done, and symbolized a nice exit point to move on and do something else...the drive-in opportunity opened up and it seemed like a similar idea that I would be able to take to new territory, liven up with a new venue/type of environment.
FDTC: What is the best part of what you do?
BY: (the last two events at Friday Night Frights: One of which was a concert, which through fate of circumstance, turned out to be Harley Poe's farewell show, the other was a kid-friendly screening of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial). The best part is when something I program gets a reaction out of people. By far. I could ramble on about the emotions that come with that forever really.
FDTC: That is rad... as a fan and supporter of indie arts and film I can relate... 3. If a film wishes to screen at an event, what avenue do they need to follow?
BY: I handle screening inquiries as best as I can but I generally see the film some other avenue myself first. I'm still new enough that I would love to have more filmmakers submitting to me personally. I watch a lot of things through places like Film Freeway or private links through vimeo/youtube.
Screening inquiries can be sent to me by email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - or via Facebook at Indie SINsations page -
FDTC: Okay... Business to the side... 4. It is Man Crush Monday.... Who is your man crush and why?
BY: I had to think about that one for a while...haha
FDTC: Really... Because mine is hands down Harrison Ford lol
BY: I have several male influences in my life for sure but I usually find females more inspirational...and throwing the word crush in the mix, makes it hard for any of the male inspirational figures to seem appealing. Crush is a word I associate with love but not particularly in a positive usually when I crush over anyone it is crippling lol
FDTC: Okay fair enough... Who is your female film crush then? Who cripples you?
BY: But Harrison Ford is a good one! And I'm being difficult I know but I do have an answer now that I have explained myself a little better...
filmmaker Gaspar Noe - he would be a man-crush because I truly believe him to be the most daredevil filmmaker alive currently. His ideas are the most ambitious, dangerous, stuff out there to me. He always blows my mind, even if it takes a few watches.
FDTC: Great answer!
BY: female crush: Jena Malone - my favorite actress and someone I would for sure act like a Beatles fan over if I were ever in their presence.
FDTC: She is awesome also! Dude I am impressed!
BY: She's in several films I adore and she also has a great backstory of living the gypsy life and traveling before getting into acting. So… she just seems like a natural. She's also very charming, and dreamy, and beautiful, and *gushes* I love Jena Malone!
FDTC: Marvel vs Dc.... which one and why? ...
BY: I'd go with DC but that would be judging more by the literature than the films.
FDTC: Nice! I am DC comic fan but I do love me some Marvel... what they have done in the movies is amazing.
BY: It's hard to say no to Batman but I honestly miss when films based on comics weren't such a thing. Sure, it's exciting for fans but when every month a #1 slot at the box office has to go to Marvel or just seems to saturate the quality of all the films as a whole.
I think Marvel pays better attention to their foreign markets and understands them better. The action in Marvel flicks lately really has been stylized in a way that makes me think of Japanese action films.
FDTC: I can dig that opinion for sure...
BY: I think the best films in general are the ones with a good writer behind them. I think good writing is always noticeable in a good film. Deadpool wouldn't have been great if it weren't so well-written.
FDTC: Starting tomorrow you are forced into a different lifestyle... so A.) Amish B.) Quaker or C.) Shaker....?
And agreed on Deadpool and writing!
BY: I would go with Amish because I grew up in Shelbyville and there are a lot of Amish who live across the outskirts of the city. My interactions with them have always been positive and I have an appreciation for the old-world ways to some extent. I think the hardest thing would be adjusting to their style. I am hot-blooded so I would burn up if I had to wear their form of attire.
FDTC: Right on... I'm always interested in different lifestyles and beliefs .... So….Horror sub- genre of choice? ie zombie, slasher, vampire....
BY: I think one of the new subgenre names getting thrown around - "modern horror" is perhaps my favorite but it's also a pretty board category to me. I think as long as it follows the idea of horrible things happening, instead of thinking it needs to be a zombie flick, slasher, creature feature, etc is better because it comes from filmmakers who love all the subgenres but want to do something different with those ideas entirely.
It's the subgenre that strives to be different and as much as I'd love to say I'm a slasher movie fan, I also think a lot of old slashers are only worth revisiting for nostalgia. That many aren't even good movies other than we remember them as kids.
FDTC: Nice! I like that! So what is your favorite film (any genre) of all time?
BY: Donnie Darko is my favorite film of all-time. I think there's no better story than a first time director creating something of that magnitude. The budget on the soundtrack alone had to be extraordinary but when you throw in names like Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Jake Gyllenhaul, Maggie Gyllenhaul, JENA MALONE, and then you throw in a cryptic just blows my mind.
I adore that Richard Kelly wrote and directed Donnie Darko and did not compromise the art. He kept actors in the dark on certain questions they had during the filming process because he truly believed the story needed that. For a new director ripped out of film school, it just blows my mind what he accomplished. That movie is timeless to me.
FDTC: Fantastic choice! Last request... Send us a selfie holding a special shout out to FDTc and Days of the Dead! Let your readers and fans see your face!!!
So… if you are in Shelbyville, Indiana area on the last Wednesday of the month looking for something to do be sure to check out Branden and some Indie SINsations!!! 
May 31st ~ Night of Something Strange & She Kills
June 28th ~ Live Evil & Dolly Deadly
Stay tuned for these upcoming screening announcements
July 26th ~ ??? & ???
August 30th ~ ??? & ???
September 27th ~ ??? & ???
And we have something really special planned for October!
October 25th ~ ??? & ???
For more information on Indie SINsations...
For more information on the Skyline Drive-In and their other horrorific events...