Filmmakers' stars on the rise
Kueber and Reid just putting the finishing touches on action movie
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
Sam Reid and Justin Kueber. With any luck, those two names will one day have their names on the marquee just like Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino.
The day is coming soon when the two 23-year-olds will be unleashing their first major production onto the public. It’s a short movie – probably no longer than 30 minutes – but big things often have small beginnings. They’ve definitely got Hollywood in their sights. In fact, neither of them seems to think of anything else but movies.
“I’ll watch movies. I’ll quote movies,” Kueber summarized about his lifelong fascination. “Everything is movies.”
The two met in Grade 9 at Richard S. Fowler Junior High and became fast friends. Much of their relationship has been held together with the glue of movies and their love of the works of directors like Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann and David Fincher. Even now, a decade later, they still get together a few times a week to watch films from their vast and still growing personal collection of titles.
Reid said that he came to understand at a very early age that he was meant for the director’s chair. His dad would let him watch lots of videos when he was still a child. He watched and rewatched them over and over again. Then in Grade 5 he had a class assignment that set the ball in motion.
“We had to get in groups and make a movie. That’s when I truly found that I really actually liked making them. I felt like, even at that age, because I had watched so many that it had been absorbed into me. I just understood at some primitive level how to put together some kind of a movie.”
He also claimed that his Grade 5 movie was the best of the bunch.
Now that they’ve graduated out of post-secondary (Reid with his diploma in theatre and motion picture arts from Red Deer College; Kueber with a degree in film studies from the University of Alberta), they’re on to something bigger.
They’ve created Guerrilla Motion Pictures, a production company whose name brings to mind Troublemaker Studios. That’s the film company started by Robert Rodriguez, he of movies like Machete, Sin City and the El Mariachi series.
“He’s definitely a big influence,” Kueber admitted.
He and Reid seem to have borrowed much of the renegade filmmaker’s do-it-yourself work ethos too. Rodriguez famously takes on as many roles as he can during a production. This often includes being the producer, writer, cinematographer, effects specialist, composer, animator, and, yes, actor.
For our two local stars on the rise, they’re throwing everything they’ve got into The Immigrant: Revenge of El Diablo. They wrote it together. They’re directing and editing it together. And yes, both appear as actors in the production.
The story itself also brings to mind some of the Rodriguez oeuvre. It is best described as a pseudo-sequel to a trailer that the two created a few years ago. That trailer, simply called The Immigrant, had much of the Machete grindhouse esthetic and storyline. They entered it into the U of A’s Halloween Horror Competition and Picture Show and came up with three awards for best editing, best cinematography and best grindhouse trailer.
In Revenge of El Diablo, it’s been four years and the unnamed main character is called out of hiding by a government agent. He is enlisted to track down a man who has inside information on a known drug dealer that the government is trying to take down.
There will be lots of compelling elements like close calls, ambushes, a double-cross or two, Vietnam flashbacks and, oh yes, vengeance.
“There’s a lot of revenge in this movie,” Reid promised.
They admit that this isn’t supposed to be Citizen Kane but rather something simple to get their feet wet. Mission accomplished. Well, almost.
“It’s coming along pretty good. We wanted this to be about us getting back into the game, us just making a movie with our friends and slowly transitioning into working with some professional actors,” Kueber said. “The Immigrant is pretty straightforward, pretty linear but the ones we’re writing right now, we’re trying to go deeper and explore themes and not just make shoot’em up style of movies.”
They still have the last flourishes of special effects to finish off. If all runs smoothly as it’s expected to, the movie will be completed by the end of the month. The two hope to then arrange for a screening at a local theatre. As a production company, they hope to tackle other people’s film ideas too but they have lots of their own to explore. They also plan to take on business clients for corporate videos and other projects.
Kueber ended on a positive note. “I think it went pretty well. It was a great learning experience. We can only get better from here.
People can learn more about the company on its Facebook page. They also have a new trailer for The Immigrant: Revenge of El Diablo on YouTube.