Read the Film Threat Review of Skunk Ape!? by Eric Campos.
Read Introducing the Super Brookens Brothers also by Eric Campos.
Before you get to enjoy the full 30 minute film, I want to hype you up for the Brookens Brothers punk rock classic. Check out the two trailers and get really REALLY excited! OK. Now calm down.
Co-written by my brother and I back in 2001-2002, Skunk Ape!? was going to be our break-out indie hit. We wrote the script by alternating scenes. Greg would write one and I would write the other. Eventually, we had a 30 page punk rock inspired horror comedy that was perfectly unique and entertaining enough for Sundance or at least Slam Dance (we imagined). But film making is a bumpy road– one that teaches you life lessons... like Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment is more likely to enjoy your killer man-ape comedy than Robert Redford.
We held a fund raiser at Heaven Gallery in Chicago. We screened our old movies like the Rubber Pool Movie and Of Bass and Men in one room while a DJ was spinning in the main gallery. I'd like to thank our gallery host, Dave Dobie for the space. Sadly, even at the discounted rate, we were only able to break even on this fundraising attempt. Probably because we just charged $20 to get in and then let people eat tons of food and have drinks without a chance to donate more. There was no Kick Starter back then and no system to accept larger donations from our few rich friends. At least we managed to do some pre-production film promotion and throw a party.
The whole thing was shot on Hi8 with an on board mic and a couple beat up lights rented from a Chicago area film collective. We also utilized a cheap spot light bought from Walmart and a couple walkie talkies (also from Walmart). The ape suit was the most expensive item outside the camera for the shoot. With a lot of love and help from our friends, especially Steve Albertson, we got this thing done by the skin of our teeth.
The film premiered at a Movie Side film festival at the Biograph theater in 2004. Ironically, Skunk Ape!? has won more awards than any other film my brother and I have made. Tromadance included it as part of their DVD for the Best of Tromadance 2004, thus making Skunk Ape!? our first film to get distribution. Skunk Ape embodied genuine disrespect for authority coupled with the pure hilarity that can only a shoestring budget can provide. I still love this film!
Five Festival Wins
- Winner - Best of Tromadance 2004
(We actually went out to Park City for this. What a blast!)
- Winner - Best Short Comedy - Route 66 Film Fest 2004
- Winner - Best Horror Comedy - Fright Fest 2004
Though defunct, this fest was where I met Eric Campos of Film Threat
- Winner - Best Actor (Jon Maiulo) Chicago Blood Flood Film Fest 2005
- Winner - Best Creature - Chicago Blood Flood Film Fest 2005
- Official Selection - MicroCinefest 2004
Interestingly, the judges from this fest went on to make Stomp Scream Shout, a horror comedy about a band killed by a skunk ape.
- Official Selection - Movieside Film Festival 2004
Rusty Nails- The guardian angel of Chicago indie film.
- Official Selection - Undershorts Film Festival 2005
Stay Tuned Next Wednesday at 11AM Pacific for the full 30 minutes of Skunk Ape!? Some of the cast will be sharing stories from the set. Oh god. The things they'll say....
Until then, learn to love again.
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DISCLAIMER: The films in this Flog do not reflect my current filmmaking style. Really they are for archival and "historical" documentation. So please don't look at a grainy low res film I made with my brother in college and think that's still how I do things. I'm much worse now.