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“Able Danger” Director Paul Krik Talks Fascism, Bush, and the DIY

"Able Danger" Director Paul Krik Talks Fascism, Bush, and the DIY

Director Paul Krik’s “Able Danger” is the story of Thomas Flynn, a Brooklyn 9/11 truther (played by Adam Nee), who falls into a noir pastiche when a mysterious Eastern European beauty (played by Elina Lowensohn) arrives at his bookstore cafe with proof of American secret intelligence involvement in the planning and execution of 9/11. When Thomas is implicated in the murder of his friend and employee, he’s forced to unravel her complex web of lies while attempting to fight his natural attraction to her. Cinetic has now released it exclusively on Amazon VOD.

What attracted you to filmmaking, and how has that interest evolved during your career?

I’ve always wanted to make movies. Always imagined myself making movies. Made my first one with a super 8 camera in elementary school. When I finally allowed myself to admit that’s what I wanted to do, after earning a Masters Degree in Philosophy. I started writing. I directed a few spec commercials and discovered I knew nothing about post production and started working as an editor. I’ve been editing TV commercials for years now.

How did the idea for “Able Danger” come about?

When Bush won his second term, I was resolved to have a feature film made before the next election. I felt it was time for me to fullfill that lifelong ambition, but also I felt it was the duty of everyone who worked in the media to do whatever they could to stop America’s slippery slope towards fascism and backwards pre-renaissance thought. “Able Danger” was meant to be a wrench in the neo-con machine.

I had long considered making an homage to “The Maltese Falcon,” and while I was gestating film ideas, a cafe opened up in my neighborhood. I was very impressed by the quixotic owner who published a treatise on the 9/11 cover-up. Somehow, I wrote a movie that merged these two inspirations.

What was your approach to making the film, and what were some of its challenges?

I was influenced greatly by “Fahrenheit 9/11” and by John Huston’s take on “The Maltese Falcon” as well as “Dr. Strangelove” and all the great cult MacGuffin movies like “Pulp Fiction” and “Repo Man.”

This was my first film so there was obviously a lot of learning about the indie film business. I didn’t get into a “huge” festival. Rotterdam is pretty huge, and I loved it, but it’s not a great festival for selling American movies. It’s not Sundance or Berlin or Cannes or Toronto. I think my experience would have been quite a bit different had I gotten into a different showcase.

Thus, I ended up theatrically distributing the film myself in theaters for a week in New York and Los Angeles and was able to let some press see the film. From there, I was able to secure a relationship with Cinetic which has been pretty great about getting it out digitally, and Oracle Film Group which I like and trust and are still closing DVD deals. I wish, of course, that the film had a bit more of a run in theaters. I played the festival circuit, and my limited theatrical run, with a black-and-white version of the movie. And there were sales regions that wanted the movie as black-and-white. But I learned that 80-90% of the world just won’t touch an indie black-and-white movie. So, I went back and “colorized” the movie to help sales. In the end, however, the color wasn’t just for sales. I think the movie is genuinely better in color. And it is actually closer to the original vision I had for the movie.

How did the financing and casting for the film come together?

As it was my first film, and a controversial film, I didn’t waste any time or effort looking for financing. I financed it myself. Regarding casting, I knew Elina Lowensohn would be perfect for the role and contacted her directly. She read the script and liked it and she agreed to work within our limited budget. Then, she helped me get in touch with Adam Nee with whom she had worked before, and I immediately became a fan of his. I had been casting in New York for months and the rest of the superb cast of relative unknowns was found with the help of Shane-Goldstein casting in New York.

Are there other aspects of filmmaking that you would still like to explore?

I feel like I did everything on this film. Writing, producing, directing, editing, promoting, financing etc. I’d like to explore doing less on the next film. And working with some name talent and a decent budget.

What other genres or stories would like to explore as a filmmaker? What is your next project?

There are many genres I’d like to explore. My next film will be action-adventure, dealing with multi-national corporate espionage and the fictional futuristic rise of American rebel terrorists. Kind of like “Star Wars.”

How do you define “independent film?”

Funny, now I know what it means to be an “independent filmmaker.” And, for me personally, it means someone who can do anything and everything to get the film made. I’ve worked in production forever, but “independent filmmaking” takes it to a whole different level.

What achievement from your career so far are you most proud of?

First, I’m proud of designing matchbooks for “Able Danger.” Second would be the fact that I wrote, directed, produced, and edited a feature film and have enjoyed watching it with hundreds of people. But, I mostly enjoy them enjoying it.

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