Words by Naomi Jeffreys
Brian Neufang is a young and up and coming producer of the wonderful new Independent Film, ‘Inegenious’, which stars Jeremy Renner (‘Marvel’s The Avengers’).
The Rabbit Film Section has been fortunate enough to interview the driving force behind this Independent Film, which is operating outside the Hollywood system.
Naomi Jeffreys: What is it that draws you to Independent film?
Brian Neufang: I think what draws me most to independent film is the somewhat rebellious nature of how it gets made. It takes a very passionate individual, or group of individuals, to make a movie from conception to a finished product.
BN: Often times in order to do that without the help of the big movie studios and their financial resources, you have to go outside the box and do things in ways they have never been done before! It’s amazing to see an independent movie made with thousands of dollars look like it was made with millions.
NJ: What would you say to students who shy away from Independent film, and why they should watch them?
BN: I think students especially, should give independent film a chance. Don’t shy away from it. Everyone loves a blockbuster, they can be highly entertaining and with huge special effects, what’s not to like? I love to see things in IMAX 3D and have my senses overloaded just as much as the next guy.
BN: But, Independent movies are subtler and tend to push creative and artistic boundaries, test the limits of convention, which is what students should be doing with their lives in education anyway. That’s just my opinion. Getting into indie films is the perfect accompaniment to that kind of exploration.
NJ: Where did you study?
BN: I got a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts at the University of Arizona
NJ: When did you know you wanted to become a Movie Producer?
BN: That’s a good question. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the entertainment industry. I didn’t really know producing is what I wanted to do, until I started doing it. I set out to be an actor but I have always had a knack for pulling resources and people together.
BN: So, when not working as an actor, I have taken lots of jobs in various aspects of production to gain experience and a well-rounded knowledge of the movie making process. With a good combination of luck, skill, and strong relationships, I’ve managed to work my way into a producing position
NJ: Do you have any advice for any students who want to become Producers?
BN: Study your influences. Find out where they’ve been and what they did before they became your idol, that way you have an idea of the dues they paid before they reached the position they are in. Involve yourself in productions in any way you can.
BN: Student film and theatre productions are a great place to start. Work for free if you have to, be an extra. Just get on set so you can see how it all works. Look at the big picture and see what different people do in the different roles. Movies are huge undertaking with many moving parts.
BN: There is a reason there are so many names in the credits at the end. It takes a lot of people to bring it all together.
NJ: Can you tell us about your new film, ‘Ingenious’?
BN: Ingenious is our first film. We funded the production ourselves. We turned to Kickstarter to raise the last bit of funding needed to do a full theatrical release independent of any major Hollywood studio, just the way our movie was made.
NJ: Jeremy Renner, star of upcoming film, Ingenious is a Hollywood star, is he an important factor in providing funds for a theatrical release outside the Hollywood system?
BN: Yes, Jeremy Renner’s current popularity will certainly help us gain attention for ‘Ingenious’ that we will need to raise the funds. He has a very large and growing fanbase that will want to see him in a different role. He usually plays a badass and this is a departure from that. He hasn’t been seen in a comedy since the movie ‘Senior Trip’ which came out about 15 years ago.
NJ: “America is the place where a little guy can have a big idea, all it takes is a little faith” one of the lines from the trailer of ‘Ingenious’. How far do you believe in that philosophy?
BN: I think faith in ones self is paramount to achieving your goals and dreams. I’ve seen it happen in many lives of the people I know. The Writer and Producer of Ingenious, Mike Cram is proof of that notion as well.
BN: The script is based on his own life as a dreamer and inventor that stuck to his belief, through thick and thin, to invent a product that has sold over 10 million units and continues to sell to this day. I’d tell you what that is but you’ll have to see the movie. I don’t want to spoil it, it’s the same invention in real life as it is in the movie.
NJ: ‘Ingenious’ looks like a true Indie Film, following two down on their luck inventors, trying to make a go of it in America. Is there anything else which students at the University of Essex should know about this film?
BN: Only that it speaks to the heart and ingenuity of the human being. We are capable of so many great things but we either get scared or lose sight of what we truly want to get out of life.This movie is about facing those obstacles with your heart and a sense of humour.
BN: The movie was shot entirely on 35mm film, which gives it a real picturesque quality. It takes place mostly in Tucson, Arizona, which has a very unique and scenic landscape. And of course, the actors, all of whom have gone on to major motion picture success, give great performances. And if you’re a Jeremy Renner fan, seeing him in this gives you an idea of the range he has and what adds to his credibility as a Hollywood star.