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SXSW '05 Interview: 'Code 33' Co-Director Michael Galinsky

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Code 33' Pitch: This engrossing documentary follows two Cuban-American detectives in their 2003 hunt for an unknown man-the notorious Miami serial rapist. From the directors of Horns and Halos, this film reveals the diverse culture and strong moral fabric of a shocked, scared and outraged community.

"Cops search for serial rapist and win."

Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
No we were at SXSW in '99 with our film Radiation. This is actually our 4th film so we've been to a lot of festivals. Rotterdam, Toronto, Sundance, Slamdance, NYUFF, CUFF, etc etc etc etc. We just got back from Miami with Code 33 - a lot of swimming, a lot of drinking, and a lot of relaxing. Much needed after busting ass to finish the film.

When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
Still alive.

How did you get started in filmmaking?
I was out of college and working as a PA and basic all-around grunt. I was also doing some photo work and wanted to make films. I met my future wife at a party (Suki Hawley). She was in film school. I talked her into dropping out so that we could make a film instead. I knew that no one else would give me the chance to shoot so we just did it. That film, Half-Cocked, is about a bunch of kids who steal a van full of equipment and pretend to be a band in order to stay out on the road. Should be out on DVD this fall.

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
We got a lot of emails. Press people returned our calls.

When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or film festivals in general) in mind?
Certainly. Traveling is half the reason to make a film.

How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
In this case it's a doc. After negotiating with the Miami-Dade Police Dept. on and off for a year, we were granted access to shoot fly-on-the-wall footage of MDPD forensic artist Samantha Steinberg for a possible TV series or something. But when 2 weeks into shooting a serial rapist emerged from out of nowhere, we re-focused the project onto the cops and their efforts to catch the guy and what happens to them and their family lives in the process.

What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
Do I have to limit it to one?

When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
No, but we talked about a lot of great movies like The French Connection. We did want to make a cop movie that wasn't like "Cops"
or "CSI". A cop film that was really about cops and not just about process.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
To Have and Have Not

Two parter – name an actor you'd KILL to work with, and then name an actor in your own film that you really think is destined for great things.
I'd kill to work with Aaron Eckhart.

The festival circuit: what could be improved? What's been your favorite part of the ride?
The free drinks, the free hotel, and the seeing other good films part. Some festivals need to work on the support they give filmmakers in
terms of flying them out and putting them up...We do provide the
content, after all.

Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
Yes, absolutely.

A film is made by many people, including the director (of course), but you'll often see movies that open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
We can't really answer this question given the fact that there are 4
credited directors on this film...share the wealth, I say.


Code 33, directed by Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley, David Beilinson & Zachary Werner, will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information, and be sure to check out the official Code 33 website!.

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