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Posted: Nov 28, 2011 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DANISHKA ESTERHAZY
Source: Trevor Suffield
The six-part webseries is from The Academy of Broadcasting Corporation's Faculty of Acting, and features a strong collection of local talent in front of and behind the scenes and is set for its online debut on Tuesday December 6 at www.BulliesNotCool.com.
Danishka took the time to answer some questions from OSM's Trevor Suffield in anticipation of the release.
Q: How did you become involved with this project?
Danishka Esterhazy (DE): The writer, Rebecca Gibson, and the producer, Shawn Farrell, invited me to come on board. I had directed other student projects for them in the past and really enjoyed working with the acting students -- so I immediately said yes.
Q: Why is the series set in 1986 (besides the crazy fashion style)?
DE: I think we are all familiar with images from 80s teen dramas. Filmmakers like John Hughes created iconic images of teen characters such as the Rich Girl, the Jock, the Science Nerd, etc. I knew that it would be fun to satirize those characters and to create our own wacky 80s teen characters. Our cast, who are too young to remember the 80s, really enjoyed researching the period -- watching films, listening to 80s music and building their 80s wardrobe. The results were really wild and funny.
Q: How did filming go?
DE: We shot the series over two days at École Selkirk Junior High. We used the students as our background actors. Our crew was very small but really dedicated. I can't remember the last time that I had so much fun on set.
Q: Tell me about working with Rebecca Sandulak and Rebecca Gibson.
DE: Rebecca Sandulak has been the stills photographer for almost every one of my films. So when she started working as a cinematographer I was excited to get the chance to shoot with her. We shot the series on her Canon 5D. She has an amazing eye and a great attitude.
I have directed two other student projects written by Rebecca Gibson. She is a great writer that I really respect. In fact, I'm attached to a feature film that is being developed by the two Rebeccas -- an historical drama entitled To the Very End.
Back row (L-R): actor Kristen Brown, director Danishka Esterhazy, actor Kelsey Jane Norquay, actor Rebecca Thibault, cinematographer Rebecca Sandulak. Front row: actor Benjamin Feilberg.
Q: What was your junior high life like compared to the kids in this project?
DE: I was the typical arty outsider. I had green spiked hair in high school. I wore torn up prom dresses to class. But I was lucky to have some great friends who were also misfits. We created our own world and made no attempt to fit in. I now look back on that time with feelings of nostalgia. But, of course, at the time, it was all angst and high drama!
Q: What are your hopes for this webseries? Could there be a sequel?
DE: I would love to shoot a sequel! I think the characters from this series have adventures ahead of them that would make us laugh.
Q: What were some of the best parts of filming?
DE: I encouraged the actors to improvise and that process was a great deal of fun. Often, I had to muffle my laughter from behind the camera as the cast came up with wacky riffs about 80s culture. I was lucky to have some very strong comic actors in the cast.
Q: How will your experience on this project affect your next project? And what is your next project?
DE: I currently have feature film projects in development with Buffalo Gal Pictures and with Eagle Vision. I may also shoot a micro-budget feature in the spring. Shooting this series -- with a small crew and a very short shooting schedule -- has encouraged me to just go out and shoot. If you have a cast and crew who are passionate -- you can create magic with very few resources.
Q: Any final words on Bullies: Not Cool?
DE: I am excited about working in the webseries format. The connection with the audience will be so immediate. I 'm really looking forward to hearing directly from the viewers on our website and on youtube.
Bullies: Not Cool! will debut online on December 6, 2011.
Visit here for more information.