Whistler Film Festival 2015 Interview: CHASING BANKSY lead actor Anthony Sneed
By Jason Whyte
Posted 12/01/15 14:50:54
"CHASING BANKSY is a TRUE story about how in 2008 I traveled down to New Orleans to find and steal a very valuable piece of Bansky street art spray painted on an abandoned building. A month later I'm having a birthday party at my apartment, and by sheer chance and through my network of artist friends, guess who shows up? Banksy." Lead actor Anthony Sneed on CHASING BANKSY which has its world premiere at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival.
I am excited to have you as part of the 15th Anniversary at Whistler! Is this your first Whistler Film Festival experience and are you going to attend your screenings?
I'm very excited to be apart of my first ever Whistler Film Festival and I look forward to attending all of my screenings!
Talk to me a bit about how you got your start in acting and your previous work!
I got my start in 2008 with BAD BIOLOGY directed by [BANKSY director] Frank Henenlotter and have been collaborating with him ever since. I've scored a piece for his Herschell Gordon Lewis doc, shot Frank's scenes for the THAT'S SEXPLOITATION doc and wrote CHASING BANKSY with Frank. We are currently midway through a new doc I'm producing and shooting about Mike Diana, the first and only artist in the United States to be convicted of obscenity.
So tell me more about the TRUE story about this film and how you got this into a movie!
I went on wild goose chase hunting down a piece of Banksy street art because I was a huge fan early on and saw the opportunity to own something that could be very valuable for free. After we heisted the piece, I called up Frank Henenlotter from New Orleans airport and out of breath I told him that this story "sounded like pages from a screenplay", and he finished my sentence with "and when you get back we are going to write those pages". We started writing and researching so by the time Banksy came to my apartment, Frank knew all about him and decided to stick around to meet him. The funny part is that we weren't supposed to know it was him and his crew, so to our surprised when they realized Frank had made Basket Case and Frankenhooker they lost their minds and told him they were huge fans. It was so surreal.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee?
During CHASING BANKSY I was drinking a decent amount of coffee, but since I was also producing, I was running off of the hectic nature of my brain being in twenty different places at once.
All projects are challenging in many ways, some more than others. What was your biggest challenge with making this movie, and the moment where you knew you had something?
My biggest challenge was acting and producing at the same time. And when we really start to break down what producing entails on a Frank Henenlotter movie that means location scouting, finances, casting, making all of the props, scheduling, renting gear, driving, booking flights, rehearsing and probably more. I also think the stop motion sequence which took me four months to build nearly killed me. I knew we had something when we shot the final scene and I made Frank cry!
I am about to get "technical" but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie and how CHASING BANKSY. I understand it was shot on film?
Frank and I were adamant about shooting on film. We shot Bad Biology on 35mm which was the perfect tool to keep a sexploitation film from coming across as cheap. With Banksy, we knew there would be a lot of camera movement so we decided to shoot on Super 16mm. I think what's great about Frank's movies is that they represent cinema in its rawest form. For instance, I acquired a beautiful Beaulieu 6008s Super 8mm camera and Frank had me shoot a lot of the NY inserts with that. I also had a GoPro2 which I stuck on the end of one of the boards at the end while running. It was an experimental off the cuff thing I decided to do while Frank was shooting another scene and it ended up being one of our favorite shots. We shot with an underwater rig and also stop motion, which Frank has had in every one of his films. We also shot with a camcorder for a scene. Nothing was off the table which gives it this really cool hodge-podge rawness.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie in Whistler?
I'm excited to see the audiences reaction to a raw, independent film that holds no punches. There's nothing else out there like it, so I don't know what to expect.
After the film screens in Whistler, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to show?
I would love for it to show at San Sebastian Film Festival!
If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?
If we had a print made I would love it to show at Quentin Tarantino's theater. I'm pretty sure Quentin is aware of Frank's work and loves supporting movies shot on film so that would be a perfect fit.
What would you say or do to someone who was being disruptive at a screening you were attending?
For my film? I would kiss them.
What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?
Do it if you love it.
And finally what is your all time favorite movie? Or film festival movie?
My all time favorite movie is THE WAGES OF FEAR.
Be sure to check out the World Premiere of CHASING BANKSY at #wff15, taking place on Thursday, December 3rd at noon and Friday, December 4th, 8:30pm; both shows are at Village 8 Cinemas.
For more information on the film, check out the official website.
This is one of the many films playing at the 2015 Whistler Film Festival. For show information, tickets and for other general information on films and events, point your browser to the official website at whistlerfilmfestival.com!
Be sure to follow instant happenings of Whistler Film Festival on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a photo or two. You can also follow the festival on my Instagram at jason.whyte!
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com