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Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #22: Joseph Reed and Zachary Frank On Their One-of-a-Kind ‘Sweaty Betty’

Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #22: Joseph Reed and Zachary Frank On Their One-of-a-Kind 'Sweaty Betty'

READ MORE: ‘Sweaty Betty’ is the Great Discovery of This Year’s Festival

Co-directed by school pals Joseph Reed and Zachary Frank, “Sweaty Betty” handily dovetails two ever-so-slightly absurd storylines: One follows two teenage single fathers as they quest to sell their new dog on a profit, and the other follows a man attempting to make his 1,000-lb pig a mascot for the Redskins (apparently, by draping an XL jersey across her back). With a homemade feel (a feel aided in part by the use of on-set improvisation), “Sweaty Betty” has quickly distinguished itself as an endearing film to keep an eye out for.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

A pig and a dog.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

In a cramped row house on the border of Washington D.C., two stories of big dreams take place. Floyd and his family have raised a 1,000 pound pig in their backyard, and are determined to turn her into the team mascot for the Redskins football team. Floyd puts his plan into motion, but the pig, named Miss Charlotte, draws unwanted attention. A few blocks away, Rico and Scooby, two teenage single fathers and best friends, are hanging around the neighborhood. As they scheme up a better life for themselves and their children, they are presented with an unexpected opportunity.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

Zack and Joe met in middle school. As they grew older, they became closer through playing sports together in their neighborhood. Through their experiences they decided to make a movie to show their neighborhood in a better light. This is their first movie of a series that they plan to produce centered on the people of the DC area.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

The biggest challenge was the screenwriting of this movie. After hours of struggle, we decided to go with an outline where the characters would improvise their parts which made the movie that much more realistic.

What do you want SXSW audience to take away from your film?

We want people to take away why family is so important.

Any films inspire you?

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” by Larry David. “Gummo” by Harmony Korine. “Faces” by John Cassavettes. “Belly” by Hype Williams.

What’s next?

“Sweaty Betty” is the first of a series of films/TV shows that Joe and Zack plan on filming in the Washington DC area. These upcoming movies will be centered around new and different characters. Our next project is going to be a comedy TV series centered around Zack’s uncle’s everyday life. Uncle Bay is retired and everyday is filled with random day to day missions. We have no idea what this TV series is going to be about. So, this summer we are going to hang around Uncle Bay for a year straight and work with him to outline a comedy series. Once we have the outline prepared, we will start filming and allow him to improvise just like we did with Sweaty Betty. When we get Zack and his uncle together, we always laugh. His uncle is one of the funniest people we have ever met and needs an entire series dedicated to his escapades and the people he comes in contact with.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Nikon D5100

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform. If not, why?

We did not crowdfund because we didn’t feel comfortable asking everyone we knew for money. We produced this film on a very low budget. Any expenses that we encountered were paid out of pocket.

Did you go to film school? If so, which one?

Neither of us went to film school.

Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. For profiles go HERE.

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