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NEWSARTICLE

Faces of the Festival: Keith Bearden

Director Keith Bearden dishes on the inspiration for Meet Monica Velour, misadventures with a shopping cart and Kim Cattrall, and much more.


 

TribecaFilm.com: Tell us a little about Meet Monica Velour.

 

Keith Bearden:
It's a sweet little comedy/drama about a forgotten '70s porn star and the naïve teen boy who drives across country to meet her.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What inspired you to tell this story?

 

KB:
I used to write about film for magazines. Once I contacted a retired '80s adult star to see if she was in B action movies under a different name. She said she was not, but she loved to meet her fans, and for 200 bucks I could spend the night with her. My jaw dropped. I thought, is this what happens to these women who make millions for the male producers in the porn industry? That was the seed.

 

I also like funny women and wanted to write a comedy with a female lead, especially one over 40. (I pretty much write parts for people under 20 or over 40—the twenties are so boring to me.)

Meet Monica Velour
is a way to talk about ageism and women, the disposable nature of our pop culture, the sexual double standard, and the fantasy element that plays too big a part in our visions of love and sex, without making some egghead documentary that would put people to sleep.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What's the craziest thing (or "lightning strikes" moment) that happened while making the film?

 

KB:
The whole shoot was crazy—80 degrees one week, 40 degrees the next (still pretending it's summer), local actors who sometimes could not act (and I would have to give lines to other characters or have my producer play a part), but the nuttiest thing is when Monica gets drunk and Tobe has to cart her home in a shopping cart. In the script, he's supposed to lift her out. Well, nobody except a power lifter can pull an adult human being out of a shopping cart. We had to push her out. We did 12 takes. Kim hurt herself every time but insisted we keep shooting until I was happy. She had a HUGE bruise up her left arm for the rest of the shoot that we had to cover with makeup. Kim is a trooper!

 

TribecaFilm.com: What's the biggest thing you learned while making Meet Monica Velour?

 

KB:
Write shorter scenes (you'll cut them down in editing anyway, like we did), and trust your instincts and fight for what you really want in your heart always. But also, know what matters in the long run and choose your battles. Stanley Kubrick shot 100 takes, and Clint Eastwood basically is happy as long as the actors say their lines correctly. Both have made great movies. Being a good director is tuning into your inner voice and trusting that what's important to you is important to the movie. That's an evolving challenge.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What are your hopes/expectations for this year's Festival?

 

KB:
Audiences full of picky NY filmgoers laughing and liking the movie. That's all I am thinking about. Whatever happens after that is gravy.

 



TribecaFilm.com: What's your advice for aspiring filmmakers in today's landscape?

 

KB:
My general advice for filmmakers is to do something else! But if you still want to, God bless and my deepest condolences.

 

The atmosphere now for docs is very good, but you still have to deliver in a very competitive and narrow field. For directors who are women and people of color, realize that you will have to work twice as hard for the same results as a white boy.

 

TribecaFilm.com: If you could have dinner with any filmmaker (alive or dead), who would it be?

 

KB:
George Romero. He's THE American independent regional filmmaking pioneer, an advocate against censorship, and makes social criticism that masquerades as entertaining horror films.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What piece of art (book/film/music/TV show/what-have-you) are you currently recommending to your friends most often?

 

KB:
I really love a Japanese movie called The Taste of Tea. It's beautiful, funny, totally insane and made me cry. I buy people DVDs of it. I want my next movie to have that spirit.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What would your biopic be called?

 

KB: This is So Fun I Can't Wait For It To Be Over

 

TribecaFilm.com: What makes Meet Monica Velour a Tribeca must-see?

 

KB: It's an old-fashioned indie movie crowd pleaser. Unusual, funny, sad, and it has a lot of heart.

 



Find out where and when you can see Meet Monica Velour at the Festival!

 

Find out where and when all films are playing in the 2010 Film Guide.

 

Meet more Faces of the Festival!

 

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