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Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers #1: Onur Tukel Finds On ‘Summer of Blood,’ His Vampire Comedy With a Heart

Meet the 2014 Tribeca Filmmakers #1: Onur Tukel Finds On 'Summer of Blood,' His Vampire Comedy With a Heart

Onur Tukel is a Turkish-American director and actor. But, he makes it clear that he’s not really Turkish. The funny-man will be bringing his latest project “Summer of Blood”, a vampire comedy with a heart, to Tribeca this year. He directs, writes and stars and told Indiewire about the process.”It was a big challenge just putting in my vampire contact lenses every night. That was such a pain in the…eyes!” 

Tell us about yourself? I’m Turkish, but I barely speak any Turkish. I’m from North Carolina. I moved to New York three years ago after appearing in Michael Tully’s oddball feature film “Septien.” I probably own the world’s largest unread book collection. I don’t exercise enough. I don’t exercise at all. Prior to “Summer of Blood,” I directed 5 feature films and published two children’s books. None of them were successful. I love New York. It’s a big thrill to be part of Tribeca.

Biggest challenge in completing this project? Another challenge was trying NOT to eat all the craft services during production. Wait a second, we didn’t have craft services. Then how the hell did I gain 5 pounds during the shoot? Easily, the biggest challenge was having the confidence NOT to rehearse, NOT to prepare, NOT to worry about blocking, logistics, and craft. Instead, the challenge was to engage in spontaneity while shooting, to discover the scenes as we shot them, to have faith in the creative moment, when no one quite knew what was going to happen. This turned out to be quite exciting.

READ MORE: “Watch: Exclusive Trailer for Tribeca Viewpoints Opener ‘Summer of Blood,’ Starring Alex Karpovsky”

What do you have in the works? I’m acting in a really interesting movie directed by Berndt Mader about a swinger’s club in East Texas. I play a journalist. It’s part doc, part narrative. I’m excited about that. I’m finishing up an experimental music project with singer/songwriter Jamie Block. We’ve been working on it here and there for a year or so. I’m creating a short graphic novel of short stories to accompany the DVD for a film I directed a few year’s ago called “Richard’s Wedding.” 

Did you crowdfund? If so, via which platform? And if not, why? No. I don’t typically donate to crowdfunding projects so it would be hypocritical to crowdfund my own work. I spend what little disposable income I have on my own movies.

What films have inspired you? There are four movies that inspired “Summer of Blood.” Robert Bierman’s “Vampire’s Kiss,” Mary Harron’s “American Psycho,” Larry Fessenden’s “Habit,” and Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy.” For the record, my favorite horror comedy of all time is “American Werewolf in London.: I loved watching horror films as a teenager in the 80s. In the 90s, during college, I discovered and loved the films of Woody Allen.

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.

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