vasily shumov
ED WOOD "MEETS" RAYMOND CHANDLER

An Interview with

Vasily Shumov

Director of Paul Marco's last film

KELTON'S DARK CORNER

Q: Recently you have been directing short, independent films in the Los Angeles area. What were you working on prior to this?
A: I was working on various short films, experimental and music videos for my upcoming DVD called "Region 8". I have a musical background and am still recording and performing under the name of Center, a band I formed in my native Moscow in the early 1980's. Below is a link where you can see a few samples from this upcoming DVD, which we are using as a promo for my upcoming Russian concert tour in June: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn0pT2_XHjc

Q: Tell us about KELTON'S DARK CORNER:
A: This is a visual journey into the world of film noir as I imagined it, combined with electronic music, femme fatales, gangsters, hard boiled PI's, analog and soft synth, and of course, Kelton the Cop.

Q: What was your inspiration for the film?
A: This film went through a strange process. It started as an experimental music video driven by film noir-style visuals. I have a tune called "Dark Corner". The lyrics were some kind of story about my film noir collection and characters in film noir. I cast actors as femme fatales, gangsters, thieves, and PI's.

Q: What kind of reaction have you received from it?
A: The first episode was finished not long ago and we are in the process of completing the second episode. All of the feedback I've received to this point has been from friends or people that we know. The film has not been officially released yet, but so far the feedback has been very positive and encouraging.

Q: When did you first learn about the Ed Wood films?
A: When I was at my art school I attended a few film classes about art films, cult films, and low budget films. Ed Wood was mentioned as being a pioneer of self-produced films in the 1950's and then Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" feature film was released which lead me to another cycle of interest for (Ed Wood's) works.

Q: The "Kelton the Cop" character in KDC is different than the one in the Ed Wood films. How were you able to "adapt" him into Film Noir?
A: When I first met and chatted with Paul Marco in his apartment in Hollywood I proposed an idea to him, that after almost forty years since the last Ed Wood film with Kelton the Cop, Kelton is back but more mature and tougher. People usually develop stronger personalities with age and also it means that Kelton the Cop's character went through forty years of real life and now he is appearing as Kelton from the year 2006. I put a mature Kelton in the world of Film Noir which I thought would be a perfect environment for Paul's creative abilities.

Q: What was it like working with Paul Marco?
A: Paul was a great person to have fun with and liked to make jokes during our production meetings and shooting. I felt that we had a good chemistry and I saw how Paul enjoyed the "new" Kelton's character, I used a technique of animated stills for this film and a green screen. I don't think Paul had ever been in a green screen session before and had never recorded his voice into a computer. Surprisingly Paul took all these new film making technologies very well and was very comfortable during production. He was calling me often to talk about ideas and suggestions about characters and actors for future consideration. Actually it was Paul's idea to make five or six KELTON'S DARK CORNER episodes so it could be presented as a feature film. We were in the middle of shooting the second episode when Paul passed away, just a few hours before our crew was going to pick him up for the scheduled shooting session. I was on my way to the location when I got the news about his death...

Q: You began shooting a sequel which was kind of a remake of one of your earlier films. Can you tell us about that?
A: I was always fascinated with people's obsession with cars. Living in Los Angeles, we are involved in daily traffic gridlock and
people spend a large portion of their lives driving on the freeways. I made a short film a few years ago called "101 at 8AM" about how co-workers must commute in the same car to and from work on the 101 Freeway. The whole film was shot inside a Ford Expedition. In the second episode of "Kelton" we have the opportunity to use a great white 1960's vintage Cadillac, and also Kelton got an assignment to look in his neighborhood for certain stolen cars and crooks. We are still in the production process for the second episode but I can tell there will be some cars...

Q: You mentioned that you were planning to do a series of "DARK CORNER" films, until Paul's death, which was a sad, almost too ironic turn of events, similar to the death of Bela Lugosi in relation to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. How were you able to handle that situation?
A: When Paul died lot of people who are close to our production were telling me that I became the "new Ed Wood" because Bela Lugosi died in the middle of production for PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and Paul Marco died in the middle of my production of KELTON'S DARK CORNER. Since we had planned from the beginning to make five or six episodes of the new Kelton series, I have enough content to complete the second episode. Some times we are using a body double for Kelton, but who isn't using body doubles nowadays, even for actors who are alive and very well...?

Q: KDC Episode 2 also includes the film debut of Edith Shain, who is best known for the Life Magazine photo as the nurse being kissed in Times Square at the end of WW II. What was she like to work with and how do you think audiences will respond to her?
A: It was a great experience to work with Edith. She is a great spirit and fun to be around. I think the audience will be pleasantly surprised to see Edith in this type of role. I think she was the perfect casting choice for this character.

Q: What would be the ideal marketing strategy for the films?
A: We have a few ideas about how to market our films. I think sometime in the fall we will select the best approach for marketing.


vasily_and_paul
Vasily Shumov and Paul Marco "KELTON THE COP".
Photo by Center Productions (c) 2006.