Local flick debuts at Mountainfilm
Hitting Hollywood is considered a no-brainer for most filmmakers. But Jonathan Bricklin, who presents his feature-length film Minimum Wage from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek, knew shooting here in the Vail Valley made perfect sense.”People are so jaded in LA,” Bricklin says Angelinos whothink movies are no big deal. “But around here it was a big deal; people did everything they could to help us out.”From free places to shoot, like the Riverwalk Theater in Edwards and a vacuum shop in Eagle-Vail, to private homes across the valley willing to house the 10 Hollywood actors Bricklin flew in for the shoot, no one charged him a dime.”It would have cost $100,000 to shoot this in LA,” he says, adding he pulled off shooting the irreverent, feature-length film for about $10,000 here in the Rockies.He wrote the screenplay two winters ago after hurting his knee snowboarding on Vail Mountain. “I was so pissed that I couldn’t ride that I thought I better do something to make up for it,” he says.Bricklin would then take the screenplay to Hollywood and try to get it made. He realized economically and creatively (many small filmmakers use LA locations to shoot) that “it made perfect sense” to shoot the film here.So a few months ago Bricklin and his bare-bones crew pulled off a 15-day shooting frenzy. He’s since edited down more than 2,000 minutes of tape into the film that will be screened in Beaver Creek. “We could only do this with the support we got from the town,” he says.From the trailers Bricklin showed us, Minimum Wage looks like a cross between American Pie (there is a scene showing the main character giving himself a little “oral love” with a vacuum cleaner) and the well-writtentangents of a Kevin Smith film like Clerks or Mall Rats. The low-budget film appears to have the mainstream marketability to be the next film to launch from the underground filmmaking scene.”People around here might think this is a small-time thing,” says sound engineer and assistant editor Mike DeMatteo, “but this film has potential to be the next Clerks or Blair Witch Project. This thing could really explodefrom the underground.”He says shooting in Vail lends the film an original feel and that the actors were happy to get out of LA to hit the mountains.”There was a sense of family with all crew, and it brought out the best in people,” DeMatteo says, “We all think (Bricklin) has the ability to become an incredible director. The actors all thought this was a don’t-miss opportunity.”And the featured actors are not desperate for work. Lead man Chris Elwood was in Method Man’s recent film, How High,” while actor Brian Klugman plays Fraser’s assistant and scored a role in the film, Can’t Hardly Wait.Bricklin, who says he is “pulling every connection he has in Hollywood” to get the film picked up, seems to have what it takes to hang with the big boys. After the Beaver Creek screening, it’s off to Hollywood, where Bricklinis renting out a screening room in Universal Studios to show the film to his contacts. Everyone on the project is hoping one of the insiders at the screening will make the magic cell phone call to have the film submitted to the Cannes Film Festival people.But until the film goes big-time, Vailites can catch the locally-produced Minimum Wage as part of the Mountainfilm Festival from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Vilar Center. Bricklin and the crew will beon hand for a discussion following the screening. Call 845-TIXS for tickets and information. The cost is $5..
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.