It's not everyday that one sees grown men worshipping a children's show, but director Brent Hodge proves the shocking commonality of such a phenomenon as he documents the seemingly inexplicable fascination of a group of adult males with the cartoon "My Little Pony." Particular admiration is bestowed on Ashleigh Ball, who voiced one of the beloved characters and won the hearts of this growing subculture known as 'the bronies.'
Tell us about yourself. My friends call me Hodgee and I started Hodgee Films a few years ago. I've been traveling the world with a camera in hand ever since. It's been my ticket to the party and now have a great team of people who have come along for the ride.
What was your biggest challenge in completing this project? The biggest challenge was sound and music, and getting that exactly how we wanted it. I worked in radio so sound and score is a big deal to me. I have an amazing team on the back end though. John Diemer, Chris Kelly, Lauren Bercovitch, Dermot Shane, Derek Pante, Carolyn Wells.. they all got the last steps of this film done with me. The last 5% is always the hardest part.
What do you have in the works? Not sure if I can actually say publicly yet! Hodgee Films is really growing though. We have alot in development and are just excited to tell more stories. This is our first feature length documentary...the first of many.
Did you crowdfund? If so, via which platform? And if not, why? No crowdfunding. Self-funded through Hodgee Films. It started out as just a fun project I wanted to do and really snowballed and turned into something. I'm good friends with the main subject Ashleigh Ball, so filming didn't have to be such an ordeal. We would just hang out and create stuff. I couldn't wait for any funding or even the time to fill out the forms for grant applications. I didn't want anyone else to have a say with the planning of this one. I knew I just needed to film it.
What camera did you shoot on? I shot "A Brony Tale" on a Canon 7D with no rig, barely any lighting and using my dad's old Olympus Lenses. We did a few shots on the Sony FS700 as well, but mainly the small Canon set up. This was a choice we wanted to make. I needed to be intimate and really small. I wanted to get into the brony world without being distracting and in their face. I wanted to be a fly on the wall at these brony meet ups, it was the only way I would get the real thing.
Did you go to film school? If so, which one? I didn't. I went to business school at University of Otago in New Zealand. I auditioned and got into the annual University Capping Show which was an entertainment variety show with live comedy and videos...that's where my film director world began, and I've been waking up every day since and trying to earn that title. I really wanted to just own a business, and a film company seemed like a lot of fun, so I went for it.
What films have inspired you? This list could go on forever.. but no other film or story will ever amount to "Alice and Wonderland" and the endless inspiration that it gives to me.
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.