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MRH : In terms of Horns and Halos, were you attracted to the project partly because one of your subjects, indie publisher Sander Hicks, was part of a punk-styled band?

MG : Yeah. That's how we kind of came to it. We found the story interesting. We had come back from a film festival with Radiation… After reading in the National Herald Tribune a one paragraph story about a discredited bio being pulled, a week later I got a package from Sander saying he was going to republish the book, so we immediately said ‘We have to get involved and see what happens.'

It is a weird amalgamation, because it's a little bit more of a mainstream story, but it's definitely a story about an alternative culture in a lot of ways.

MRH : What made you decide to finally release your first two films on DVD?

MG : We'd been wanting to do it for a long time, and now we have a distribution company... We also knew that we would know how to do it right, and we would put tons of extra materials on it and make it more of an archive than just dumping the films out.

When we made Radiation, I had a photo book out at that time, and we did this really cool thing where I did this collaboration with this artist who made these massive frames, and I would duct tape and gaffer tape [11”x14” images] to them.

We made a sound piece with all the different people who did the writing in the book - all the musicians telling stories about being on the road - which Suki cut it up into bits…and as you would walk through the gallery of 250 photos, [you'd] hear different bits of stories. It was kind of like an experimental film, and we put that on the DVD as well… You get these stories of being in a band and on tour. We were lucky enough to have known some incredibly talented people that told hilarious stories.

MRH : Were there any major technical upgrades that you had to do for the two older films in order to get them ready for the DVD medium?

MG : No, we used all the materials we had and made it work.

MRH : Sometimes filmmakers are tempted to tweak an older film for its DVD debut, and they can go overboard and add a Dolby 5.1 audio mix in spite of there being no stereo or isolated audio stems; or there's the temptation to add extra footage that was never meant to be there in the first place.

MG : We did the opposite! We actually trimmed down Radiation because, while it worked, after watching it for a couple of years, we though of ways of making it a tighter animal, [and it] works a lot better now.

SH : Having seen these movies over and over again for so many years, ‘that scene' that always bothered me was either finessed, or cut out.

MG : We had an interesting process with Horns and Halos. When we showed it at Rotterdam, it was 94 minutes; and two weeks later, after seeing it with 500 of our not-closest friends, we had taken out literally 25 minutes and put back in 10 new minutes, and it was just a much better movie.

We did that process twice more after seeing it at several other film festivals [which] allows you to kind of hone it and use it as a focus screening; we didn't have that opportunity with Half-Cocked or Radiation.

MRH : Did you find out that there are specific advantages to self-distributing versus going with another company? One of the more daunting aspects is the financial thing, where you have to foot your own publicity bills and go out on the road yourself, which some people really do enjoy.

MG : I don't really like it so much, but it's necessary because it is so hard to make things that are even slightly off of a mainstream realm, and have ways of getting them out - unless they're extremely non-mainstream, and then there's other routes. We just kind of had to plough our own way, I guess.

It was a frustrating process with Half-Cocked, because when we made that movie, it was such an oddity; in some ways it didn't even get into film festivals… People didn't really know what to make of it, so it didn't really exist in the film world, whereas Radiation did play at Sundance and a bunch of other film festivals, so this will be the first time that many film people are ever seeing Half-Cocked.

MRH : Radiation feels very contemporary, whereas Half-Cocked, in spite of being an older film, has aged very well. There's been more attempts to fuse documentary and drama elements, particularly in mockumentaries, so I think a lot more people will respond to it.

I thought the film was quite funny. My favourite moment involved the wannabe band members setting up and not knowing how the heck to do anything properly, ineptly assembling the stolen drum set and mike stands. You had professional musicians who had to play amateurs, poorly pretending to be professionals.

MG : That was ten years ago, but they're all still making music and putting out records, and Tara Jane O'Neil just had another record come out called Touch and Go and just did a full country tour all over Europe…That was the hard part: getting them to not play very well.

MRH : When will the Half-Cocked and Radiation DVD be available?

MG : It comes out on DVD on February 13 th. While we're a distributor, we have a relationship with a large distribution company called KOCH that has absolute distribution in Canada and the U.S., so it's basically available everywhere.

Read the DVD Review!



KQEK.com would like to thank David Lewis at Riot Act Media for coordinating this interview, and Suki Hawley and Michael Galinksy for discussing their work.

Half-Cocked, Radiation, and Horns & Halos are available directly from Rumur Releasing, Netflix, and all regular & online retailers.

All images remain the property of their copyright holders.

This article and interview © 2006 by Mark R. Hasan

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