Amoeba Films

Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator
Feature Films

Sugar Daddy :: Documentary

You’ve seen Super Size Me. Well, this was more like Sugar Size Me.

A one-man experiment in sugar indulgence. The plan: eat the same 30 teaspoons of added sugar as the average American adolescent – for eight weeks. Periodically check my vitals: weight, blood sugar, vascular health, mental health (looking for ADHD symptoms) and whatever else my team of five doctors cares to look at.

You see, my wife has an online health network: yourishment.com. And she’s been getting people to eat less sugar. But there’s been pushback. Some folks – notably registered dietitians – seem to think that sugar is an essential nutrient (which it isn’t). And there’s a huge push by the food and beverage industry to make it seem good for you (just check out the The Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition).

Well, we set out to prove them wrong. And, boy did we. Pre-diabetic in 2 weeks. ADHD in 4 weeks. Rheumatism. Insomnia. Gum disease. And … made my body ripe for cancer. Not to mention changing from a borderline fit 19% body fat to a borderline obese 24% body fat.

I think I’ve had my last Hostess fruit pie. You can read all about it at:

SugarDaddyMovie.com

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

CLAW Preview :: Feature Film

“A massacre in mascara,” is how it’s been described in the press. Pregnant brides, Virgin Madonnas and the occasional giant banana all coming together to raise money for women … and arm wrestling.

Started in the sleepy college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, The Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers (AKA CLAW), is spreading like cooties; with sister branches in Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, New Orleans, Charlottesville, Washington DC, Durham, Taos, and Chicago. Part Theater, part sports event, all crazy, CLAW draws enormous crowds with all proceeds going to support local charities.

But leave the frivolity at the door. These ladies are risking more than their stereotypes by taking the stage. And it’s not always pretty as a French biracial, dancer/singer silent-film pornstar. This spring, favored-contender Achilles Hella suffered a complete fracture of her upper arm’s humerus, while competing against former-winner Tragedy Anne. Twelve screws and a steel plate later, she’s training to compete again, heading toward the upcoming CLAW Nationals.

This landmark documentary I’m doing with photo superstar Billy Hunt covers CLAW from its birth to national phenomenon, beyond the bustiers and burqas. Who are the iconoclastic women behind the movement and the wrestling personalities who grip up for philanthropic glory (this ain’t your mother’s Junior League)? Is it the fourth wave of feminism or the latest form of burlesque? And what’s with the Ref?

In this modern vaudeville, CLAW skirts the edges of entertainment, delving into social critique of contemporary women’s empowerment – all seen through the eyes of the people who go hand to hand, moment by moment, coast to coast. And when the CLAW Roadshow hits the pavement, the action may literally be coming to a theater near you.

This is just a little taste of what’s to come.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Billy Barnwell :: Feature Film Promo

Did he die of auto-erotic asphyxiation? I dunno. The guy was a bit of an enigma.

As you probably know, were’ making a feature film this summer about the beloved children story Billy Barnwell’s Favorite Friends. What we’re learning about its reclusive author Hugh Chalfont comes mostly from old Atlantic Monthly articles and word of mouth from those who knew him (it’s not all complimentary).

This is an old interview we dug up (in a couple hours) to celebrate the film launch party in June. Some great insights on his blacklisting by Joseph McCarthy, possible Communist leanings, plus a rare poetry reading from his book Weeds and Other Flowers. A true American original.

Word is it was a mink that smothered him. How, we can only imagine.

Should be interesting when we actually get to filming the real movie.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Pyrometheus :: Feature Film Preview

Did humanity start from a cosmic oven that fell from space?

In 2009 I met performers from the Scintillation fire troupe at a Rollerderby halftime show. We discussed collaborating on a project. One year later, we gave birth to the feature-length art film PYROMETHEUS. Think of it an alternative Cirque de Soleil doing Prometheus.

More specifically: an artistically-performed history of the human universe as told via the Greek myth of Prometheus: from cosmic creation story, to the genesis of mankind, creation of gender, the arts and warfare … and the central tale of how Prometheus stole fire from the Gods, was punished and rescued.

Angel funded and wrought from breath, piss and kerosene, PYROMETHEUS defied my expectations of where performers could take my half-baked suggestions. These talented, fire-spinning folks frolicked in mud, paint and fifty gallon drums of makeshift blood, parkoured over burning staffs and ignited three-story Joan of Arc pyres by a giant metal dragon built from a Grand Marquis. And then there was the orgy scene.

We lost nearly half the cast when things got kinky. That was after the Last Supper scene with the glazed ham that turned into a nude dancer covered in BBQ sauce. Yes, we did go there. And there’s a swan sex scene.

Shot in four weekends in August. Gabe Deloach was our primary DP. David Ariew pulled off the CGI. We had our usual half dozen cameramen, some doubling as pyrotechnics experts, most losing their pants in the filming process.

Currently in post-production, PYROMETHEUS is slated to be finished by summertime – once we write the entire operatic score. Plus there’s the whole creation of the cosmos part with one hundred nude bodies floating in embryonic bubbles. We could use another one of those angel investors.

Cast portraits by Billy Hunt.


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Billy Barnwell :: Kickstarter Promo

Here’s where I buy back my soul.

At last a feature film without zombies, blood or orgies. Although there is a nymphomaniac duck.

Another script from M. Trevor Przyuski, Billy Barnwell’s Favorite Friends is a cautionary fable, a sermon of self-discovery, a psychological thesis and a road-trip buddy film wrapped in metaphorical bacon.

It is a feature-length dark comedy about the travels and trials of a dysfunctional troupe of actors performing kid lit for elementary schools. Billy Barnwell is the title character of the faux-classic that echoes Charlotte’s Web (or Anne of Green Gables and Sarah Plain and Tall, depending on your upbringing). While the actors in the troupe enact this “beloved” morality tale for kiddies every day, they drink, spew and screw their nights away, wrestling with their foibles and with each other.

The “Wilbur” in this story is Evan, a man in the midst of an identity crisis who joins the troupe to escape adulthood. He meets Maggie, an actress with a loose grip on reality. She’s the bipolar sheep. There’s also a gay horse and a chicken with anger management issues. This talented group of misfits travels from school to school spreading the joy of literature and a wake of chaos. It doesn’t end with a song about the circle of life. But someone does grow up.

Right now, the film’s in pre-production. And we’re raising funds – in case you know anyone who wants an Executive Producer credit. We’re also looking for product placement: beer, fast food, hotels and U-Haul.

Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Danger. Zombies. Run. :: Feature Film Trailer

In early 2010 I helped create a group called the Filmmakers Republik, a quasi-egalitarian collective of film professionals in Central Virginia. The goal was to help members focus on their specialty in the filmmaking process and increase both the quality and quantity of their annual output, from pre- to post-production. As a loose union of like-minded independents, it hoped to maximize members’ efforts, goals and fantastical pipe-dreams in making film.

Our first major project together was DANGER. ZOMBIES. RUN. The zero-budget feature-length psychological zombie comedy was shot in 48 hours with a crew (eventually) of over one hundred local filmmakers. Six camera crews, three assistant directors and a revolving door of zombies.

The story line went as follows: Zombies attack a crew filming a zombie movie. While the zombie actors chew the scenery, real zombies chew the actors. But what’s really gnawing at them can’t be outrun.

DANGER. ZOMBIES. RUN. asked important soul-searching questions like why we run from zombies, and why they chase us. Turns out, you can’t always run away from your problems. Eventually, they will catch up with you.

From my treatment and outline, the film was in part written by the ensemble cast. It featured the music of Corsair, Astronomers, Thrum and a couple original performances by Christian Breeden of American Dumpster.

What started as an experiment and something to shoot for a weekend of kicks took a life of its own. It won Best Comedy at Fright Night Film Fest 2010. Sold out at the Virginia Film Festival. And drew invitations for submission to festivals nationwide, as well a Scotland, Israel and Czech Republik.

My favorite review was a mixed bag from a blog called Mail Order Zombie, which appropriately dubbed the film: “Like a TV dinner that bled on itself.”

Top photo courtesy of Billy Hunt.

 


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Pyrometheus :: Behind the Scenes

More melodies about mud and kerosene.

In the PYROMETHEUS feature film treatment/outline, I wrote: “Promethea crawls from the washing machine with a guitar, which she begins to play … Pan takes the guitar from Promethea, howls and begins his own song.” The performers took the rest from there.

Jessica Baraff and Christian Breeden collaborated on the song “The Red Earth.” They practiced a few times and hashed out the lyrics. I had it originally recorded on set, in the Biscuit Run salvage yard. But, at the behest of the performers, we prudently decided to re-record it in a studio. This sequence was our first attempt at a scratch track.

Currently in post-production, PYROMETHEUS is slated to be finished by summertime – once we write and record the entire operatic score. Burning lanterns in the darkness, melting wax down into oil.



Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Zombie Bikini Apocalypse 2 :: Scene

OK, I don’t know what the first ZOMBIE BIKINI APOCALYPSE was about.

We had already shot DANGER. ZOMBIES. RUN. when the Virginia Production Alliance asked us to shoot a zombie scene at their Backlot Bash party at the Virginia Film Festival. Shoot a scene at a party? Sure, why not. I’m terrible at hobnobbing and small talk anyway.

Already there was a Dirty Dancing group performing and an ark from an Evan Almighty inspired musical number. Plus a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. All I had to was add zombies. (And a beautiful Brandy Mason in a bikini.)

But what scene? DANGER. ZOMBIES. RUN. was about the filming of ZOMBIE BIKINI APOCALYPSE 3. So I decided to provide some backstory from ZOMBIE BIKINI APOCALYPSE 2. Whatever that was.

Everything else fell in place. Including a Dorothy costume and a willing Nina Shamloo to step into the role (and a Tin Man zombie to tear her heart out).

I always love having Lee Washington take off his shirt for film (look for our upcoming BARACK OBAMA, ZOMBIE HUNTER).

We shot this whole scene in a crowded bar in a little over an hour. No script. No rehearsal. Just a dedicated makeup crew, an abusive AD and a tactfully hung green screen. Whew. It’s now in the re-edit of the feature film.

Why they’re singing the Star Spangled Banner at the end? Need you ask? Zombies are Communists and this is the last refuge of … oh, watch the movie.


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759

Mantra :: Feature Film Trailer

What happens when you mix metaphysics with mondo horror? You get a naked blue lady and Seven Little Indians falling off the spiritual path to their artistically-unique dooms.

MANTRA was our first bona fide attempt to make a feature film, albeit on a shoestring budget. Because we didn’t want to fight the uphill battle of trying to sell some starless coming of age drama, we went for horror. A genre piece, they call it.  But we didn’t want to do a slasher fest or resort to torture porn.

MANTRA was based on my experiences practicing bardo death state meditations on a ten-day silent retreat with Buddhist monks in Dharamsala, India. The thought was that Buddhist is largely a meditation on desire and suffering (and their cessation). And, coincidentally, so are horror films.

The story went like this: When their guru dies in a hiking accident, six strangers on a spiritual retreat find themselves hunted by their own fears and delusions … no one saves them.

We shot MANTRA in seven days at a local 4H camp on a Panasonic HVX with a Letus lens adapter and Nikon primes. Some horrendously long hours in dipping temperatures. A broken thumb. Nude, blood-covered actresses cursing me out at 3am.

Result: a successful stab at cinema which the Richmond Times dubbed “a new genre of art house horror.” It won Best Feature Film at Fright Night Film Festival 2009 in Kentucky. The Denver Daily News called it: “Rare … scary yet thought provoking. A local critic called it: “Cinematographically gorgeous … Pure escapism and pure art … a frightening downpour of synesthesia … It is as horrific an art film as I’ve seen, and as artful a horror film as I’ve seen.”

Although the film was unanimously praised for its cinematography, it turned out perhaps a bit too metaphysical for the diehard teenage horror market … and too gory for the devout Buddhists. The French, however, loved it. Attached below is a 6 star “blockbuster” review from horreur.com.

REVIEW: FEBRUARY 2010

MANTRA (6 STARS)
By COLIN VETTIER – HORREUR.COM - translated from French by Gabrielle Kauffmann

The Amoeba has returned, and Brian “Eat Me: The Musical” Wimer is back for more.

I sat to watch Mantra without knowing what to expect. I already had a taste of his immense talent watching Eat Me: The Zombie Musical. But this scenario was completely different. The musical comedy was a freak show, bordering on psychedelic delirium. On paper, Mantra seemed to steer clear from such wild meanderings.

For the second consecutive time, I was completely blown away. This next movie from the Amoeba is purely and simply a masterpiece. It comes out of the blue – and strikes where we least expect it. Where others would have handed us another rehashed woodland slasher flick, Wimer has given birth to an intimate, original work. The codes and clichés of the genre are shattered by the intelligence of the writing and direction. This is one of those films that will be unsettling to closed–minded filmgoers for whom the presence of formulaic narrative structure is a necessity.

Once more, the director leaves the beaten path, coaxing the viewer to a novel experience: that of great art. In order to fully appreciate the film’s qualities, you need to absorb the universe of Mantra. This film is not “watched” like any other movie – you have to experience it.

The first thing that jumps to your eyes is the superior production value, compared to Eat Me: The Zombie Musical. The Guerilla Filmmaking of the first film is gone. You can feel this in every frame. The Amoeba is now much calmer. Everything is more beautiful, more polished, even the light – with autumnal, natural imagery – a most beautiful effect. The medium is no longer an obstacle to immersion in the movie. On the contrary, the viewer is caught, initiated into this singular, mystical adventure…

Mantra impresses us with its honesty and the accuracy of its direction … It immediately impresses upon us the sadness and despair of each of the characters. The whole atmosphere of the movie bleeds melancholy. The choice of autumnal colors contributes to it, reinforced by a pervasive, hauntingly-hypnotic soundtrack. Wimer’s clever approach is unsurprisingly captivating. Great art!

Occasionally, the camera plunges directly into the characters themselves to give us a taste of their inner poisons. We discover fragile individuals, on the verge of breaking. Each is rocked by violent delusions, haunted by the past, present and future. They use their isolation to hunt old demons and be reborn, free from their shackles. Yet on this path of purity, innocence and forgiveness the six will only find death and destruction. (The question remains if they were already dead before they arrived at the spiritual retreat.) Through emptiness and disillusionment, this path of initiation shapes a new being from an empty shell.

Ultimately, Mantra revives the extreme aesthetic that Mr. Argento used and even abused. Although, Wimer works in a resolutely modern tone. His imagery, music and characters are all pure products of the 21st century, ridden with existential anguish. His artistic vision is similar to that of Argento (and Bava, since we are quoting all the masters) who finely sculpted their images for graphically-spectacular results. But, where the Italian masters worked in the Gothic style, Wimer works in a modern tone of refined imagery. This is not to say that Mantra’s aesthetics are empty. On the contrary, the formal images are alive, vibrating with mysticism.

Brian Wimer = Dario Argento 2.0? Not far. But where the Italian master forces us to swallow tepid and rancid soups, the American brings us a breath of freshness. It’s not every day a filmmaker has the balls to innovate. And when he does it so well, it’s a blockbuster.


 


Amoeba Art & Media (a.k.a. Amoeba Films) is an award-winning production company and film studio in Central Virginia.

Contact :: Brian Wimer, Primary Instigator • 434.249.8759