Article about Chad New Movie “Black Velvet”

Back in September of 2010, Tim Pape planted the seeds in my brain of a film he was working on called “Black Velvet” .  Today, a strange and discordant shrubbery burst from my skull and all over my television screen.  “Black Velvet”  (or at least the festival cut that I watched) is 85 minutes of oddity, confusion, and poetry.  Have you ever met someone that was so disconnected that attempting to follow a conversation with them made you feel as if they were pulling you into madness?  ”Black Velvet” is the film equivalent of that.

Since the film is still technically unreleased, I can’t give away too much, but I can say that it follows two unnamed antagonists with whom any sane viewer could neither sympathize nor relate – they are evil because, it seems, they simply know no other way to be.  There is never a justification for their crimes other than the joy they seem to find in chaos.  They steal, only to leave behind their spoils and find themselves starving again on many occasions.  They spare victims, only to kill them later on a whim.  They befriend only those that show no fear of them – and even then, their short attention spans and fleeting interest lead them to abandon allies almost as soon as they’ve gained them.

Though they spend much of the film wandering a dystopian southwestern desert where they have episodic encounters with a broad range of unusual characters (none of whom are even remotely sane), they also occasionally venture into a modern-era town with stores, electricity, and streets full of operational vehicles, leaving the viewer confused as to when and where this is taking place, and just what the circumstances really are.  At one point, an older man in a pickup truck appears, and seems so average – so normal – that he feels completely out of place in the film.  Sure enough, within minutes, he too descends into madness.  Characters speak in riddles, proverbs, and poetry.  No sequence of actions seems to follow a narrative thread, other than the overarching theme of the two main characters wronging the people they come across and leaving a trail of enemies in their wake.

Wait… does that sound familiar?  This film is truly reflective of its auteur.

Sure enough, karma eventually catches up with them… but I’ll leave it at that for now.  There are clear and intentional flavors of Bonnie and Clyde and “Natural Born Killers”, though the unnamed villains here are far more subtle in their relationship.  There is a more childlike love between them – never sex, never a kiss.  They seek comfort in one another’s presence.  At one point, this film’s Bonnie gets jealous of another pretty girl, and asks Clydeif he likes her.  They play games like children and dip in and out of imaginary roles as if their murderous rampage is all just a pretend adventure.  Unfortunately for those around them, it’s very, very real, and they don’t seem to recognize the gravity of the irrational, violent actions they take… nor do they seem to expect consequences.

“Black Velvet” is touring the festival circuit right now, but should be released either this year or next.  Check out the official website  for more details, for a release date when it becomes available, and to contact Last Escape Productions directly and give them a piece of your mind.  Seriously.  Any piece that you don’t use regularly will do.  Do you think Tim Pape’s dark, twisted imagination runs on gatorade or guzzleine?  This man needs to ingest fresh gray matter!  Give it up, wastelanders… before he takes it!

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Interview Black Velvet’s Director : Tim Pape

Tim was also good enough to spend a bit of time answering a few questions about himself and the film.

What is your background in film?

I went to USC Film School and also have a degree in philosophy from there.

Black Velvet is full of faces we have seen in many other things – Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Chad Lindberg, Lee Arenberg to name but a few. How did they get involved in the project?

We got very lucky. A lot of them were friends of friends. Since we were making an art film (which is different than an independent film), most of them worked for less than normal and helped us get other cool people involved. I think a lot of actors/artists look for funky projects where they can take risks and get weird.

Being a big fan of Ray Wise I have to ask what was it like working with him?

It was amazing. He showed up a few hours early, drank some Miller Lites from a leftover keg at the pool house of the ranch we were shooting at while he hung out by the pool, watched Lee Arenberg (from the Pirates movies) do a scene and then proceeded to eat almost 20 tangerines for a scene. And he nailed his part perfectly.

What is your favourite scene in Black Velvet?

About 10 minutes in there’s a scene with a drug dealer (played by Chad Lindberg with some Hunter S Thompson flair) who’s selling psychedelic worms and carrots on the side of the road. He’s got a strung out half naked chick with him and our main characters try to decide if they’re going to buy anything from him. If that sounds interesting to you, you might like our movie.

What is the first film you remember watching?

I remember vividly seeing the original Batman in the theater with my mom. And I remember my dad renting my first batch of R rated movies: Alien, Terminator, Total Recall and Die Hard.

Favourite sci-fi film?

Return of the Jedi.

You are also behind the excellent Fallout series Nuclear Coleslaw. How did that get started?

The first episode was supposed to be a camera test for Black Velvet but it was so well received that Machinima asked us to make a series out of it. Shooting episode 6 tomorrow (featuring a cameo with our leads from Black Velvet and a weed smoking ghoul).

Top 5 favourite video games?

Fallout, Madden, Civilization, Oregon Trail and the Mario Brothers (1 & 2).

Why do you think we have yet to see a really good film based on a video game?

Bethesda hasn’t asked us to make their official Fallout film yet…

If you had the opportunity to remake any movie which one would it be and why?

Mr. Arkadin by Orson Welles. Its an amazing story but due to budget restraints I think its the only Welles film that wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

If you were being killed by a movie monster / maniac which one would it be and what are your final words?

Always thought an alien bursting through my chest like in Alien would be cool. “That sucks,” would probably be my final words. I remember saying that as I was bleeding from the head after a near death car accident.

How can John Carpenter get his mojo back?

My buddy Jeff Kongs (whose website is pretty funny) turned me on to Carpenter’s Masters of Horror episode Cigarette Burns and it was amazing. Got a feeling Carpenter’s got 1 more burst of films in him.

What are you working on next?

More episodes of Nuclear Coleslaw, a movie version of a play I wrote called DOLL (where the main character gets a voodoo doll that lets him have sex with any girl in the world for 1 night but every time he uses it, he loses a year of his life) and a post-apocalpytic stoner adventure comedy I’m writing with my brother and sister.

When will we be able to see Black Velvet?

We’re playing the festival circuit later this year and then releasing Black Velvet online and On-Demand at the beginning of 2012.

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