Tuesday, July 29, 2014
ACTION WITH A MESSAGE: A Word With Dorian Kingi And Linda Jewell For The New Shortfilm, VIOLENCE
It was back in 2012 that stuntman and award-winning independent filmmaker Dorian Kingi took to his third stint behind the camera for dramatic action short that coupling dramatic action and themes with the assembly of raw stunt talent. The project in question is titled Violence, existing under the PMV Entertainment indie film banner founded by fellow actor and stuntman Jason Sweat, and hosts principal performances by Solomon Brende and Xingu Rodil starring as two guys who rush to a graffiti wall owned by a group of thugs to settle the score for brutally attacking their friends.
I got a chance to talk to a few of the people involved in the making of Violence, including Kingi, who explained some of his motives behind the project, among a few other things. He was quite forward and very insightful in many of his answers.
"Since I come from a stunt background, I have first hand experience of making the action movies we know and love," he said. "So, coming from that experience pool and having friends I know could pull it off, I wanted the action to feel real-ish. Plus, most of the cast are mainly stunt performers, and I wanted to show case their acting abilities as well, because most stunt people have so much more to offer."
While on the subject, Kingi also expanded on thoughts he shared on the element of violence in the action genre in accordance with a much larger goal for the project's deeper theme reflected by a quote from Mahatma Ghandi, a surprising last minute coincidence that just so happened to fit the narrative. "My motivation for making this film was to show how 'Violence' at its core is not cool or fun as mainstream Hollywood makes it out to be. I think people have forgetten that." he says. "I want my films to have meaning and morals to them, even if they are action based, and not just action for action sake. Film is such a powerful tool and can reach so many people. I know how film has influenced my life and the person I have become and want to pay that forward.".
He continued, adding, "I hadn't known that I was going to use the 'Eye for an eye...' Gandhi quote from the start, but I did know that I was going to use some kind of quote for the closer. After cutting the film I did a massive search for something that encapsulated the meaning of the film. I eventually came across Ghandi's historic quote and found it suited the story."
As with many independent projects, the production of Violence was not without its fair share of challenges, between location scouting and preparation, pre-visualization, filming and subsequent began. Early on, Kingi and his assistant were forced into a last-minute switch to another after having already begun cleaning up and preparing one location in downtown Los Angeles for the graffiti wall backdrop to be used for the main fight sequences. "Knowing that I had to change our location, I couldn't chance getting shut down." said Kingi. "So my father was nice enough to let us use a section of his house. We picked up some wooden flats I used for a shortfilm I did in 2008 and screwed them in for our graffiti wall. Everything was done at the very last minute but we made it happen.".
Kingi also prepped the action scenes with co-star, actress, project producer, stuntwoman and stunt coordinator Linda Jewell for two weeks prior to principal photography, which lasted a total of five days with one day attributed to pick-up shots, all spanning a period of two-and-a-half months. The action also brought another set of challenges for Kingi who wanted to take a newer approach to the method that he had not tried before, combining inserted, continuous shots of the intial chaotic fight scenes from several angles. The scenes were also shot out-of-sequence prior to going into post-production.
Jewell, and actress and professional stuntwoman for close to a decade, also took a few moments this week to share some of her perspectives on how she, Kingi and the crew overcame these obstacles, including, but not limited to, the two years it took to put it all together.
"Dorian is a total perfectionist and everything has got to meet his standards." she says. "Plus, Dorian and myself are working stunt professionals so work took him in and out of town. Our biggest obstacle was when he was on the set of Robocop when he was out of the country for over half the year."
Jewell herself has worked with Kingi on several projects prior to Violence, which also invited me to one other realization about the stunt industry and the rarity that is the presence of a female stunt coordinator on any set. It is something I have personally witnessed as a moviegoer with the title of stunt coordinator mostly dominated by men in the male to female ratio, so it was interesting taking things in from Jewell's perspective on the set with Kingi, particularly in light of her own career as she works up the ladder.
"Dorian knew exactly what he wanted to see. He shot the pre-viz himself and when working with the level of talent we had on the project, we were all able to help fill in some small nuances to help build on his ideas before he made the final decisions." she said. "He really is a very well rounded director. He knows how to tell a story as well as shoot action - qualities not seen very much combined in today's filmmakers, because most of the time you get one or the other. And, he is also a listener, which makes people that he works with feel like they matter and are respected.".
She also added, "As a female producer, I find many directors listen to a point, or don't listen at all to my input because I'm a woman in a man's industry. That's why only 'ball buster' female personalities succeed which is disappointing for those of us that prefer the softer side of producing. But for stunt coordinating, I always have to be a hard ass otherwise, no one will take me seriously, and as difficult as it can be to work up to that position, I admire any female coordinator out there working.".
The trailer for Violence has been online for some time now while only a select few have been able to screen it before it makes its run through the film festival circuit. To my good fortune this week, Sweat allowed me a screener of my own for this amazing project under a non-disclosure agreement, which means I cannot share the shortfilm with you just yet. However, I can say for certain that it truly is worth the wait!
Violence is an impressive action crime pic from Kingi and his team. While exemplifying good writing and teamwork, and a healthy creative process that grows overtime for a professional like Kingi, Violence, during its short runtime, perfectly balances between the tasks of delivering intense drama with hard-hitting action, and carrying the emotional weight of a resounding message that goes to the very root of what it means to be human.
If anything, this shortfilm is a prime example of the awesome habits Kingi and Jewell have picked up throughout their respective careers, and I personally hope to see more of their work during this lifetime in the not too distant future.
That said, PMV currently houses a growing number of shortfilms and other projects, including our most recent coverage for the upcoming release of Throne, which Jewell also produced. To learn more about PMV Entertainment, CLICK HERE to visit his official website.