by Amanda N. Nanawa
Director/Editor Suki Stetson Hawley and Cinematographer Michael Galinsky
are a team. In 1994, they co-wrote and shot "Half Cocked,"
about a group of friends who flee from town with stolen band equipment
and try to survive on their own as a "band." The fictional band,
Truckstop, was portrayed by musicians from actual bands such as Rodan,
Crain, and Ruby Falls. The film received a deluge of press but very
limited exhibition, eventually finding a home at Matador Records who
released the soundtrack and took the film straight-to-video.
Galinsky and Hawley met one another through mutual friends within the
indie music community. Aside from being a D.P. and rock photographer,
Galinsky is a guitarist for the New York band Sleepyhead and Hawley left
film school to work on a low budget feature as a director's assistant.
Having known the members of Ruby Falls and booking their tour, she had a
sense of what the indie music scene was like. "It was much
easier for me to generalize and be a little more stereotypical and say
'this is what people who don't know anything about a tour wanna know'.
It's really wanting to exaggerate certain qualities of being on tour for
the uninitiated, for people who didn't get a chance to go on tour," says
Now in their third cut, in post-production on their follow-up,
"Radiation," the all-American band story shifts gears to reflect a tour
manager's point of view of touring in Europe. When asked if they are
planning to put together a rock trilogy, Galinsky answers, "I don't
think so. I think it's a duology."
By the time the duo finished taking "Half-Cocked" around the club
circuit, Hawley worked on Alan Madison's "Trouble On The Corner" as a
line producer and Galinsky went to Spain to play alongside his band
Sleepyhead. The European tour manager liked "Half-Cocked" and thought
about setting up a film tour in Spain. When Galinsky returned home,
he related the turn of events to Hawley who retorted, "I don't wanna
show that fucking film ever again." The idea of taking the film on a
Spanish tour was not something Hawley was ready to accept. Apparently,
the criss-cross trek took its toll on the filmmakers as Galinsky
described the ordeal as being like "Groundhog Day." By the time he got
back to Europe, ten shows were already set up.
"The idea was to have it like a vacation to go hang out in Spain," says
Galinsky. Having developed a love affair with the country's exotic
locales, the idea bulb clicked once again and like any filmmaker who
refuses to understand the definition of limitations, Galinsky proposed,
"Film a crazy little film while we're there."
Using Unai Fresnedo, their festival tour manager and producer, as the
star of the film was something they had in mind. "We were writing with
[Unai] in mind," says Hawley. "And so, it's not a casting situation at
all. They have to be who they are because it's them. We even wrote with
their inflections -- his crazy English. So when he said 'Maybe you have to
get someone else to play me', it's like, 'Oh, my God. There's no way.'
Once I was like, 'No. It's you.' I don't know where, but he found it
inside of him [to be a] total performer after that. And this is a guy
who just takes bands around on tours."
The team invited Matador Records' Come to play the shows on tour, hoping
they would entice people to attend the screenings, and help the
filmmakers and band make a profit off of the tour. "I just can't
stress . . . 'you use what you have.' That's what the whole idea for the
Spain trip was," says Halley. Galinsky continues, "You have to have a
band whose gonna draw people." Come will also be featured in the first
half of the film.
You also need help from people who know the terrain, and won't make you
look like another American film crew looking for trouble in Madrid. The
duo received a lot of help from Unai who knew people at the mega French
production outfit Canal Plus. "That was great," reflects Hawley. "It was
like this small part of Canal Plus that had a music oriented show on
Spanish cable...Word got around that he was gonna be in a movie and so
they said 'We'd love to help.' They were able to help us get better
deals on equipment."
Production started in October of 1997 and what they were able to capture
on film were the trials and tribulations of Unai, Mary (an American
performance artist played by Katie Petty), and a slew of hefty bands
with the likes of Stereolab and Will Oldham. Shooting with Kodak's
Vision 200 film stock, the filmmakers are confident that the audience
will feel a passion similar to how they felt.
[For more information on the film, contact Radiation Pictures, Inc., at
718/387-3529, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Their website is:
To order a copy of "Half-Cocked", contact Matador Records at 212/995-5882.]