For today’s edition of Tales From the Vault, we’re featuring another filmmaker that I had the pleasure of meeting at the Days of the Dead Festival in Indianapolis. Bandit Motion Pictures screened several films at the fest, including Brian K. Williams’ sci-fi/sex comedy Space Babes From Outer Space. I can’t say enough nice things about this picture and Bandit Motion Pictures in general, and I highly encourage our readers to pick themselves up a copy of Space Babes, as well as their other films – Plank Face, Harvest Lake, and Time to Kill. These are high quality features that were all produced locally in Indiana, and offer something to all movie goers whether you like horror, drama, or comedy. Director Brian K. Williams was gracious enough to humor my questions about Bandit Motion Pictures, film making and his new breakout hit Space Babes From Outer Space.
Indy Metal Vault: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about Bandit Motion Pictures and how you got started?
Brian Williams: Bandit Motion Pictures is made up of Scott Schirmer and myself. I was doing photography for years, and saw the film Found and loved it. I wasn’t aware that there was anyone in central Indiana making films, or that it was even a possibility to make films in the middle of Indiana. I very quickly started looking into cameras capable of filming in 24fps, and bought my first film camera, and got started immediately. I made a short comedic documentary, and a couple music videos, then quickly got started on my first feature film Time to Kill. I was able to meet Scott, who directed Found, at a screening of it, and spoke to him about the movie I was working on. A couple years later, I was asked to be a part of Headless, and that led to being asked to be the director of photography on The Legend of Wasco. During post production of Wasco, Scott and I worked closely, as he was editing the film and I was doing the color correction. We were both interested in pursuing filmmaking as a full time job, and that birthed the film Harvest Lake, which birthed Bandit Motion Pictures. Plank Face and Space Babes from Outer Space quickly followed.
IMV: Was there a point when you realized that film making wasn’t just a hobby and that you were going to making it your living?
BW: It’s barely a living still, even with working non stop, putting out three feature films in a year and a half. It’s honestly a day to day thing, on whether it’s something that’s going to work or not. I wanted to give it a shot, and just see what happened. So far it’s working just barely, but I don’t know anything else I’d rather be doing, so I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can.
IMV: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into making movies?
BW: Run away! Seriously though, if there’s anything else you can do and be happy, do that instead. It’s not easy, it’s lonely, it’s frustrating, and it’s like climbing a pudding mountain in banana peel shoes. Don’t get into it for money, or fame, or any of that shit, because it’s just not there. Only go it if you absolutely HAVE to, and there’s nothing else you see yourself doing.
IMV: I caught the screening of Space Babes from Outer Space at the Days of the Dead festival in Indianapolis and absolutely loved it. There were so many great laugh-out-loud moments and the rest of the audience seemed to really dig it too. How has the reception been so far?
BW: So far so good! It’s a very specific type of film, so the audience that grew up watching those late night sex comedies are going to relate to it, and love it, and there’s enough nudity and silliness to interest the casual viewer, and if it’s not for you, you know right away. It’s been our best pre-selling title yet, and is still really new, so I have high hopes for it to reach farther and wider than we have yet. It can be purchased on Blu-ray, as well as our other films, at www.banditmotionpictures.com/store.
IMV: I read a review that described Space Babes as the Princess Bride of Sex Comedies which I feel is hilariously accurate, but for me it’s also an homage to old school comedies like Porky’s, Meatballs, and Revenge of the Nerds; films that relished in gross out humor, vulgarity, and weren’t afraid to show a little nudity. Is that pretty on point? What are some films that influenced Space Babes?
BW: I grew up watching those late night sex comedies, and they are my favorite genre/era of film for all the reasons you mentioned. I asked the main cast to watch the films Screwballs, Splash, and Better Off Dead before we started shooting. Those films, along with Airplane! and The Three Amigos are among my favorites, so there are influences of them, as well as many other films in there.
IMV: The movie uses music from Indy’s own glam rock band Stackhouse. Their songs really complement the movie and help give it that 80s vibe. How did you get hooked up with them?
BW: I knew a lot of the film would be taking place in a strip club, and I knew I wanted it to have that 80’s vibe, so the music was very important to me. I spend a lot of time working on the music in films, and have scored the last two films Bandit has put out, as I’m also a musician, so very early on in the process I started seeking out music that I wanted in the film. I reached out to Stackhouse, and told them the premise of the film and why I thought their music would work, and they were excited about it as well. It’s a great fit, and I’m very grateful that they were so easy to work with, and hope that them being in the film will turn some new fans onto their music. It’s great!
IMV: A large chunk of the movie was filmed at the Bloomington strip club Night Moves. What was it like filming there, and was the club on-board with the movie from the start?
BW: As soon as I moved to Bloomington, I started going to Night Moves. I knew several people that worked there, and it became my go to bar to hang out at. I knew I wanted to shoot there, so I started letting people know that I was interested in it. They were really receptive to the idea, so that solidified that Space Babes would be the next film we would do. The locations are a big part of the decision on what we can shoot, since we are working with low budgets, and Bloomington is not a place known for film. The owners, and the managers were very helpful, and went above and beyond to make sure we were able to film there easily and comfortably.
IMV: I noticed most of your films are streaming on Amazon. Do you see more profits from streaming or traditional formats? Are Blu-Ray and DVD becoming more of a niche collector thing like vinyl and cassettes? When will Space Babes be released digitally?
BW: Our entire fanbase for the most part IS the collectors market. Digital/streaming options payout so little, that it’s practically nothing. We live and die by hard formats, and the DVD/Blu-ray collectors market. We are currently in discussions with a company about a digital release of Space Babes, and will hopefully be able to announce more about that soon.
IMV: I recently saw on social media that you’ve relocated to Atlanta. How are things going so far? What prompted the move and what goals do you have for Bandit Motion Pictures now that you’re in what people have referred to as the “new Hollywood.” What’s next for Bandit Motion Pictures?
BW: Atlanta is great! The main things that prompted the movie had nothing to do with film, or work. While Bloomington and Indiana in general was a fine place to live, there just wasn’t much to do. Bloomington is a small town, and is run by the college, where Atlanta is a huge city, and there’s multiple things to do every night. I love music, and the music scene here is killer, the first week we were here I went to three different shows, and they all were amazing. Add to that, we have several close friends that live in Atlanta, and the thriving film community, it was a no brainer. Scott is still in Bloomington, and I know is working on gearing up for pre-production on a dark drama/horror film that he hopes to start shooting by October, and I am currently working on another sex comedy script, and setting up screenings for Space Babes, and doing my best to spread the word of our films, to hopefully grow our brand, and be able to continue making films.