If you generally like depraved movies and you love temperamental and mercurial curmudgeons, it’s pretty much mandatory that you adore Bronx-born filmmaker Abel Ferrara. Maybe you don’t think all his films are successful (“Dangerous Game”, “Body Snatchers“), maybe you think some of them are near Big Apple sleaze-masterpieces (“King of New York,” “Bad Lieutenant“) and very possibly you haven’t seen the ones that have had trouble finding proper distribution (“Mary,” “Go Go Tales,” “Chelsea On The Rocks“), but in theory, you love his no holds barred approach, his refusal to sugarcoat anything in an interview, and his general cantankerous mien. This is the dude who wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with the much-beloved Werner Herzog for recontextualizing “The Bad Lieutenant” after all and there’s something to be said for that.
Our colleagues at IndieWIRE proper got the chance to speak to Ferrara at the recent Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland where he was honored with the festival’s most prestigious prize – the Leopard of Honor. Inhis typical bizarro fashion, Ferrara mumbled his speech incoherently after receiving the award and then for some reason or another, began to sing while backed by a local rock band. Of course no one in the crowd realized if this was a put-on or not.
But we digress, here’s the four rather interesting things we learned when parent indieWIRE spoke to the B-movie scuzz filmmaker who says about Kickstarter-like funding, “The last thing I want is some poor slob who has less money than me to give me money he ain’t gonna get back.”
1. David Lynch doesn’t really want to make movies anymore.
We’re not sure what this has to do with anything, but when asked why the filmmaker was treated as an auteur in Europe but seen as a trashier filmmaker in the U.S., Ferrara launched into one of his deliciously good tirades, claiming that “My kind of filmmakers don’t really exist.”
His contemporaries? They sold out long ago. “There’s, like, what? Scorsese’s a big-time Hollywood filmmaker. So’s Oliver Stone. So’s Spike Lee. So are the Coen brothers” he said. “[David] Lynch doesn’t even want to make films anymore. I’ve talked to him about it, OK? I can tell when he talks about it. I’m a lunatic, and he’s pushing transcendental meditation. These guys can’t put up with it. George Lucas – you watch ‘THX 1138‘ and anything else – they’re not into it. America is about grinding out product. That’s what makes America. That’s the deal.”
Ok, so while he’s correct, the U.S. is a content-grinder, apparently what we’ve all suspected — given the Duran Duran webcasts, nightclub openings and other ill-conceived experimental treats of late — is true: Lynch just doesn’t want to make movies anymore. We figured as much, frankly. But hey David, if you ever change your mind, here are lots of film projects you once toyed with that you could pick back up.
2. Haven’t seen a recent Abel Ferrara movie? Easy, just download them he says.
While some of them saw small or tiny or non-existent U.S. releases, try finding an Abel Ferrara film made from 2002-2009 on DVD. It’s not easy. “The only thing you need to see them is the internet,” he said. “Go find the torrents. That’s my big distributor. You got to leave it to that. They’re all on there. I just don’t want to find the one I’m working on. That’s the only thing that scares me. But just go on the internet for the rest.”
3. Ferrara isn’t really pushing for anyone to see his documentary about the Chelsea hotel, “Chelsea On The Rocks” which was made in 2009, but never found proper U.S. distribution.
“Well, I don’t think anybody cares now,” he said about trying to find U.S distro. Nuff said.
4. The indie director thinks his aforementioned contemporaries sold out, but he says he might have done the same, given half the chance.
“At one point, there was an independent film field from 1990 to 1994. You had one window and then those guys all sold out,” he said. “I ain’t blaming them, because we probably sold out with them, but it ain’t what it was. What I like now is that no one’s going to theaters, and these guys are all like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ So now what? OK, dude, just when you thought you had the whole fucking game figured out, now the game is gone. I ain’t got the answer, they ain’t got the answer.”
Read the rest of the interview over at IndieWIRE.