Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cameron Frye's Day Off

In the process of making our documentary, we spoke to a professor who actually teaches a course called TEENS IN CINEMA. He made a really interesting comment that was actually echoed by a number of different interviewees. And it was this. The movie may be called Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but it really should be named Cameron Frye's Day Off. Ferris is the central character, absolutely. He drives the movie (and the Ferrari), but Cameron is the one who you sympathize with. Who really goes on a journey.

We spoke with a mustachioed Alan Ruck about how the role came to him, Hughes' psyche and his thoughts on why movies just aren't the same anymore.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The music is the message

John Hughes obviously loved music and discovering bands. So do I, and producer 'Fach' lives and breathes it. It was clear that he should be leading the charge in giving our flick it's musical heartbeat. Our documentary has a young fresh and rocking soundtrack. The following is part 1 of his recounting of why we did what we did. If you're a fan of music, and your a fan of John Hughes' music, then it's a must read:

"The fist time I heard the word “Sonic” used to describe an overall feeling captured in music on film was at David Anderele’s home in Los Angeles, California.

While in production in LA, 2007 our executive producer Michael Baker had mentioned that he had just finished working on a film with a gentleman named Peter Afterman. Peter is a very successful music supervisor with a prestigious career spanning many three decades and Michael suggested that it might be worth meeting with him to discuss all things John Hughes music related.

Peter and I hit it off immediately (We’re both music lovers and weekend basketball players) and after I told him what we were trying to do, the first thing he said in a serious tone was – “You have to talk to David Anderele.”

Anderle enjoyed a diverse and successful career in the west coast music scene from the 60’s though the end of the nineties. To put it lightly, he had worked with the likes of Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, The Doors and Brian Wilson to name a small few. While presiding over the legendary 80’s label A&M Records David defined the definition of the star driven soundtrack with films like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” He had worked very closely with John Hughes and was even involved in producing “We are not Alone” by Karla DeVito on “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack.

David was a highly intelligent, kind and a giving man who was more than willing to talk to us about his creative process how he put those two soundtracks together. In a conversation we had about how he and Hughes came up with the “Sonic” for “The Breakfast Club” he said that he either found or produced music for each of the five characters in the Breakfast Club.

For instance, he said that they devised the music to be character specific. There was a Molly Ringwald theme, a Judd Nelson Theme an Emilio, Alley and Michael Hall theme. Music was used to showcase the feeling that each character was having and who they were inside. Music actually played another character in every one of John Hughes teen films, like when Cameron stares at the painting while The Smiths "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" or Judd Nelson Raises his fist to “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds.

Speaking of which…

Sometime in ealy 2007 my incredible producing partner Kari Holand somehow managed to get an interview with legendary Scottish front man Jim Kerr of the Simple Minds. Jim’s people liked Kari’s pitch so much that they released an article after the interview on Billboard Magazine titled - Simple Minds Hit At Centre of New Documentary.

Sadly, the interview took place in Scotland and our production budget only covered one flight, so I was not able to make it to enjoy backstage concert tickets and an one on one with Jim Kerr. Jim recounted how the song “DYFAM” is still considered his bastard son because it’s the only song he didn’t write but garnered the band the most exposure. It was Keith Forsey wrote “DYFAM”. I did hear though our director Matt Austin Sadowski that the blood sausage with chocolate was to die for. The article can be found here:

There is no doubt that John Hughes loved music. According to Anderle, he may have even loved music more than film. (Hughes’s son owns a record label in Chicago called Hefty Records.) This, evident in his self proclaimed love of The Beatles. As Ferris would say “I am the Walrus.”

Through out the documentary we also had a few standout interviews related to Music that SADLY had to be left on the cutting room floor.

Two bands in particular come to mind. First, a two piece rock band, husband/wife dynamic duo from Wheaton Illinois called Joy Focus. Both Rikk and Holly Currance have been constant supporters of our film from the get go and gave one of the most emotional interview’s in the doc about how John Hughes helped Rikk through the passing of his mother in the music and storytelling of “Sixteen Candles.” And, how he was inspired to write the song “Mr Hughes Come Home” in a world that needs John Hughes to come back more than ever.

It brought tears to all of our eyes, and this coming from a six foot four, two hundred pound, pierced rock star. Awesome. You'll see some moving and hilarious clips from that interview here later.

The other band whose interview that unfortunately didn’t make final cut was John Conley and Ross Levine of “The California Oranges. This rad weezer like outfit drove down the coast all the way from Sacremento to meet us at the Hyland Gardens Hotel in Hollywood, CA. John and Ross spoke candidly about how John Hughes showed that even the geek could get the girl by being in a band.

By the time our film found its way into June of 2008 two very important pieces came together that helped us finalize a soundtrack that the whole team was happy with.

The first was ubber creative film editor Frank “The Gucc” Guidaccio and the second was the Vapor Music Group – Their team consisting of David Hayman, Stacey Horricks and Lyndsay Bates.

“The Gucc” brought his ridiculous ear for music (Having played in several successful rock bands himself) and storytelling. He also had a great relationships with several of the bands that we liked from the Art’s and Craft’s Label. Frank’s first words after watching the film was “I’m going to put the rock and roll into this thing.” We liked him from the start.

I told Frank that I wanted to find music that would capture all the themes that we had been exploring to date as well as select music that would be character specific to “us” and our search for John Hughes.

I can’t speak highly enough of Frank as a person and a professional. Especially when we placed the music.

The second piece of the puzzle became official when we signed a contract with the Vapor Music Group in the summer of 2008. Dave, Stacey and had been with us un officially since 2006. The Vapor posse are were all fans of John Hughes’s films and understood the importance of finding the right “sonic” for our little film, at the right price. I can’t speak highly enough the Vapor team. They provided constant guidance, fabulous creative input and their passion for the film was strong enough to allow us to do a dream soundtrack on a very little budget.

As the blog continues, I’m going to include a few of my dyfam play lists that were considered for the film through countless hours of actual road tripping with my favorite allies, Matt, Kari and Lenny. Thanks for Staying the Course.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Indigo Children are our future

Allan Moyle directed two great films about adolescence : Pump Up The Volume and Empire Records. While shooting his latest film Weirdsville in Toronto, we had an opportunity to sit down with him to talk about the past, present and future of teen film.

Though he is known for his psychedelic outlook on life, we didn't really believe everything he was saying then but now, looking back, we definitely can't help but think that he was identifying something cosmic that would happen with our film.

Here's a little taste of our trippy conversation with Allan Moyle.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

John, we hardly knew ya.

See below for an e-mail we received from someone who worked with John:

"I first met John
when, a few weeks before filming, he decided to replace his long time Production Designer on Uncle Buck. His producer, Ray Hartwick, brought me to Chicago for a meeting. After a walk through of the standing sets with John, and his listening to my suggestions, he asked me to stay and complete the project.

The next year I designed Curly Sue for him. Although that was his last directorial stand, he invited me back numerous times over the next decade for projects that either he had written and handed off to other directors, or that he would indicate he was planning to direct, and then would, once again, hand off. These were, Baby's Day out, Miracle on 34th. Street, Dennis the Menace (again to replace another designer), and The Bee (never produced). Our final collaboration was on a script he had written called "Chambermaid". (This script was eventually produced as Maid in Manhattan and directed by Wayne Wang.) Over the course of a summer, I traveled to Chicago several times to draw sets and discuss ideas with John
either at the house in Lake Forest or at the farm in Wisconsin. We even shot summer background plates and translights.

On my last visit, upon arrival at O'Hare, I received a call from Billy Higgins, John'
s producer at the time, saying that John needed space to work on the script, and that I would be asked to return in a couple of weeks. In fact, John's participation in the film was over, and I was never called back to Chicago. Nor did I hear, personally, from John.

Four years later I was scouting in New Mexico when my cell phone rang. It was John
. No assistants placing the call - just John. He talked with me for over an hour about old projects, new things he was interested in, and just ideas about film making in general. He asked me to read a couple of books that he had optioned. They arrived the next day with a handwritten note expressing the kindest thoughts about my work and ideas. I read the books, and e-mailed my thoughts to John. I never heard back.

That was about six years ago.

John was, as I am sure you have learned, one of the most complex individuals ever. He was a mass of contradictions. Kind, mercurial, generous, and utterly brilliant. I do miss him."

Thursday, November 26, 2009


On our 2nd trip to NYC, we interviewed stand-up comedian Christian Finnegan.

Christian is perhaps best known as one of the original cast members of VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, where he offered keen insight into the workings of popular culture and the ubiquity of celebrity genitalia. “Chappelle’s Show” fans will recognize him as ‘Chad’, the only white roommate in the infamous “Mad Real World” sketch. And pinko Communists know Christian from his regular appearances on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”.

He is also a huge John Hughes fan. Though some of what you will see WAS written as part of an early act, most of the interview was just a casual conversation.

I made him do it on stage, at a comedy club, without any audience. Poor guy. He was also left on the cutting room floor. He was funny and made some great comments about teen flicks and so we share it with you.

Look for his new comedy DVD coming out soon. It really is hilarious.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Named after a duck's dork

Okay. Wow. Lots of current action. Now back to the the past: Our timeline of interviews.

We were bound to L.A for the 2nd time. First on our list was to speak with Gedde Watanabe. Long Duck Dong. The Donger.

Gedde was actually doing Shakespeare when the audition came around to be in Hughes' first film.

His interview was extremely funny and also very melancholic. You'll see what I mean.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

U.S update

Hi guys,

We don't have DVD or iTunes info for the doc yet, but we do know that Encore/Starz is planning a Big '80s Weekend during Christmas, a three-day tribute to the decade and one of its most prolific filmmakers, John Hughes. Our flick will kick off the festivities.

Read more:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Early Reviews

Well, it's only been two days since our Canadian release, and so far our doc has been warmly received. Here's a sample of what the critics are saying :

"Here are some early reviews!!!
"The directors sudden death in August makes the doc's release - and frank interviews - all more poignant."
National Post - We Can't Wait For....

"Don’t You Forget About Me has a nifty gimmick, following Sadowski and his three producers as they try to track down the reclusive Hughes ostensibly for an interview, but really just to tell him how much they miss him."
Varsity - Will Sloan

"Don't You Forget About Me is a fun walk down memory lane for anyone who grew up watching Hughes' work. You can feel the love that Matt and the people behind it have for Hughes, and the interview subjects (which include stars of Hughes' films like Judd Nelson and Alan Ruck, along with Roger Ebert, Kevin Smith and Jason Reitman) genuinely admire this man and his work."
****City News - Brian McKechnie
"The crew plants the cameras in front of some great talkers who have plenty of interesting ideas."
*** CanWest - Katherine Monk

"...builds a strong case for the reclusive director's substantial influence on the generation of filmmakers that followed. It's a well assembled retrospective."
*** Now Magazine - Norman Wilner

" as a sort of tribute (a very entertaining one) to a man who gave voice to a generation; a great companion piece to any of Hughes’ films."
*** Row Three - Marina Antunes"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A week away from our Canadian release

The anticipation is killing us !!!

Articles and reviews will be posted in the next two weeks and then we'll be back to our regularly scheduled production notes and cutting room floor scenes.

Until then, here's an article from Eye Magazine that we like :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This just in - mark November 3rd off in your calendar.

For our Canadian friends, we're very excited to announce that you can pick up our film on Nov 3rd at Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, HMV, Rogers and Best Buy, to name a few stores that will carry it.

The film will be up on i-tunes on November 3rd as well, for sale and for rent!!!

If you're reading this, you're most likely a DYFAM blog subscriber, and as such, if you've followed some of the behind-the-scenes stories we've told already (and will continue to tell) you're on the "inside" and will enjoy our film that much more as you know some of the trials and tribulations we had previous to where our journey starts in the documentary. If you haven't read since our first posting, go back and read from the beginning :) It will make the documentary a much different experience and answers questions about us you might be asking.

Can't wait for you to see it!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ebert -Part 1

We're going a little out of continuity here in terms of who we interviewed and in what order, but that's because I don't have the raw tapes to play with and cut for you(they're currently in a dark basement editing suite where they were tape by tape re-imported to make the highest quality version of the film, pour vous). BTW, a little tangent here. The poster/dvd design is looking awesome. More news soon about where you'll be able to grab it.

So. Mr. Roger. Ebert. If you didn't know, Roger has had a tough time of it for the last few years or so. He underwent further surgery on June 16, 2006, just two days before his 64th birthday, to remove cancer near his right jaw, which included removing a section of jaw bone. On July 1, Ebert was hospitalized in serious condition after his carotid artery burst near the surgery site and he "came within a breath of death". He later learned that the burst was likely a side effect of his treatment, which involved neutron beam radiation. He was subsequently kept bedridden to prevent further damage to the scarred vessels in his neck while he slowly recovered from multiple surgeries and the rigorous treatment. At one point, his status was so precarious that Ebert had a tracheotomy done on his neck to reduce the effort of breathing while he recovered.

Which made it all that more unbelievable that he called us two weeks before the June 16th surgery (that was the day we were supposed to have originally interviewed him) to reschedule our interview. We thought he was going to push it until after the surgery, but he wanted to make sure we spoke with him so we ended up doing it a week earlier.

He was probably the most gracious person we met. He was passionate about Hughes' work, about contributing to our film and completely reaffirmed why we were making the documentary; We had gone to him hoping for some answers to our questions, but he had been left with the same questions we had.

Below is just a little bite of our interview.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not just another Thursday

Peter Travers from Rolling Stone magazine, wrote and filmed a great piece about John Hughes, putting his death into perspective. It really justified why we made this film. He speaks about Hughes being a teenager at heart, and how he was overlooked as an important American director while he was alive.

You can read/watch it here.

And now, we're one step closer to getting our film into your hands. Alliance (our distrib) just confirmed that the film will be available in stores before x-mas.

Stay tuned for the exact release date and where exactly you can pick it up.

We can't wait for you to see it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Judd's magic glasses

Judd Nelson is the man. 

I'm going to try and keep this short as this cutting room floor vid is a bit longer than usual (so much good stuff, the guy is just so hard to cut down), and I know you'll want to get to watching it.

I'm sure my team would agree that Judd Nelson was one of our best interviews, and definitely one of  the favorite people we met along the way. 

When we first met Judd for the interview.. he wasn't Judd. He was full out Bender ; Wore his sunglasses inside, smoking, stumbling about, ranting and raving. He was so kinetic and spontaneous, we had no idea what kind of sound bites we would get. 

I set up the camera, turned it on...and Judd took a moment...took off his sunglasses and switched them for his prescription glasses. *SNAP* He transformed. 

You'll see how intelligent and heartfelt he is in our film...but until then, check Judd out below!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hughes would have liked

Things have been crazy over here. Since we've signed a distribution deal, completely overwhelming media attention and a staggering amount of interest, it's been a mad dash to polish and deliver the film so you can see it. It's been loooong days and short nights, but we will have a major announcement shortly.

So, with that in mind I (we) are not able to offer you our usual Thursday production anecdote nor cutting room floor interview segment. Also note, last week was purposely not updated to take a moment of silence for John.

Instead - this week- I found and offer you this. A band called Phoenix from France that John would have absolutely loved.

A fan took their music and created an 80's tribute video and now the band is exploding. See the video and hear their awesome track, Lisztomania, here.

Friday, August 7, 2009


What a crazy day today. One thing I (we) wanted to make clear. At the beginning of this piece the host (Reggie - thank you so much for an incredible interview and opportunity) basically says that because Hughes died, we never finished the journey of our film. We just want everyone to know that our film was finished/in the can/waiting to be release BEFORE his death. The plot of the documentary (other than the amazing interviews giving us insight into John) is if we'll get the interview with him as we road trip it to Chicago from Toronto. You'll have to see the doc to find out what his response is, but his death did not effect the ending...but merely, what would happen next. Would Hughes come back? Now, we know the answer. Only in spirit.


Watch it here!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

RIP - John Hughes

The DYFAM team is EXTREMELY saddened to report that John Hughes died of a heart attack this morning while out for a walk. Our film will be dedicated to his memory. His films will speak for him forever.

I'm not going to go there

Justin Henry. You probably don't remember his name,but you will definitely remember his face if you loved Sixteen Candles as much as I did. He played the little obnoxious brother. His character's name was Michael Baker, which coincidentally is the name of our docs Executive Producer. Also noteworthy is that Justin is amongst a small little clique in Hollywood of 'youngest Oscar nominees'. As just a wee lad, he was nominated for his role in Kramer vs Kramer. 

I found that he looked EXACTLY the same. Just a little older, with a bigger vocabulary and a mortgage. He had a special relationship with John, and was quite well spoken and introspective in the interview. 

Speaking with him was special and took on a huge importance in that for the first time, there was an air of mystery surrounding Hughes and his absence/disappearance. Justin knew something. Something he just wasn't prepared to say (he was the first of many that wouldn't "talk") . 

In the clip below you'll see how I try to covertly (NOT) reask the question in hopes that in his answer I would get at least a clue of what he was hiding. But he didn't answer,physically stiffened up, and the interview concluded soon after. If anything, just watch the clip for that bit.

My apologies to Justin for crossing a line, but after all. I'm a former journalism student and documentarian, it's my "job" to try and go after truth...Okay, now I feel better.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

She knows Abe Froman

How many people didn't wish Slone Peterson (Ferris Bueller's gal) was their girlfriend? 

The answer? Nobody. So, we sat down with the actress who played her. Mia Sara. Who I already had a crush on at an early age after seeing her in 'Legend'.

She gave good interview :) Mia was funny, very generous with her time, quite honest and vulnerable with us. And she still looks great!

One of the most interesting and suprising things she spoke about was Hughes' approach to setting a tone in pre-production, specifically with the kind of films he screened for his actors. Current teen film writer/directors should definitely take note. 

I could go on about the other things SHE went on about, but you might as well see for yourself...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Los Angeles


DISCLAIMER : This blog is a long one.  LOTS of stuff to talk about.

Kari Hollend here, just in time to chime in about traveling with two scruffy guys and staying in dilapidated motels in Los Angeles. Like the Highland Gardens. Our first trip to L.A was to interview the producers of Napoleon Dynamite, Jackie Burch (Hughes’ casting director) and teen “masterbatory” (a word Matt used, that Kelly called him out on…you’ll see) pin-up Kelly LeBrock (Lisa from Weird Science).

Michael (here in called Fach), was in charge of getting us to our interviews. He knew L.A a lot better than Matt or I (he lived there as an actor at one point) and drove our rented Sedan across the city.  We stayed in a two bedroom suite. The carpets smelled like 1970 and Fach I were sure somebody died in our shower (FYI, Janis Joplin famously overdosed at this motel). It’s not like we found the motel, randomly, it’s quite famous for housing Canadian talent as they try and make a go at it in L.A. And they have a nice pool.

Fach slept on a rusty cot and was prone to heavy snoring and screaming in his sleep.  This first trip presented how terribly disorganized we were and made it quite clear to me that I was with a bunch of monkeys.

To divide and conquer here were our responsibilities:

I was in charge of setting up the interviews, the money, and the scheduling ; making sure that everything was confirmed and ran smoothly. The point person.

Matt was in charge of the camera, the questions and carrying his gear. He also made a big effort to consistently wear red to all interviews

Fach was in charge of three things ; Making sure we had enough tapes. Making sure people were properly mic’ed (no pun intended), and making sure we knew where we were going.

Surprisingly enough. Our first interview went pretty well.

Day 1. Our interview with Chris Wyatt & Sean Covel, the producers of Napoleon Dynamite.  Our good friend , and associate producer Pam Silverstein, had a connection to them and raved about what great guys they were. We wanted an interview with them as they seemed to have their finger on the pulse of creating un”She’s All That” kind of teen films.  They were ah-maze-ing!  I think part of it was the fact that they were our first interview in Los Angeles, and frankly anything they said could have been exciting. Just the fact that people were willing to talk to us. All kidding aside, these were two of the most entertaining, intelligent and charismatic guys you could come across. They were not only extremely insightful and humble and supported our thesis, but they gave us one of your favourite sound bytes (which you’ll see in the film) and messages to deliver to John Hughes. They set the bar.

Day 2. Our interview with Jackie Burch. This is where the true colours of what was going to be our path revealed themselves.  We met Jackie at her home.  We had built up a nice rapport  with her through e-mails and phone conversations, and of course Fach decided to take the opportunity to court a casting director by sending her a copy of a feature film he appeared in…naked. After knocking on her door, one of the first things she said to us was “Hey, Michael – here’s your porno back” (imagine this with a Linda Richmond from SNL’s Coffee Time accent). Most people we found were extremely hospitable and what was supposed to be “just an intervew” turned into a half day affair of getting to know each other. We interviewed her in her backyard.  This was our first interview where the real magic and genius of Hughes came to the forefront. Jackie was the first person to tell us things that you would otherwise never know. She came alive when talking about him and was saddened when talking about the state of the teen film and how someone that she was so close with, could disappear like that. We left her house brimming with confidence…then we watched the tape back.. Her interview was perfect, if it wasn’t for the lavaliere mic scratching all over her dialogue.  Mike had had a few problems mic’ing her correctly, which is understandable cause it was his first time as a “sound guy”, but due to the fact that he didn’t bring headphones couldn’t monitor the sound level. Well, another lesson learned.  Her interview is still part of the film,  if you hear a hiss or bump, now you know why.

Day 3. The interview the guys had been salivating over, Kelly LeBrock.  We woke up in the morning and the guy were extremely excited for what’s to come. Kelly lives in a secluded beautiful ranch - three hours outside of Los Angeles.  We gassed up the car and were on our way, giving us more than enough time to get there. We were set!!! Fach had made a mix CD specific for our travels. He also found some great tracks that we had never heard of, and some oldies but goodies. We had the tunes blasting and were enjoying the scenery when Matt turned to Fach to ask where the tapes were so he could pre-label them. His response “I thought YOU had the tapes.” .  Our lovely car ride had now turned to a screaming match. We were too far to go back and in the middle of nowhere. We were now against the clock as Kelly was very specific about the time she had available. The only tape Matt had was the one with Jackie Burch’s  and the Napoleon Dynamite interview on it and we couldn’t tape over that. You could say were all stressed, to put it mildly.  We pulled over to  a older couple walking down the road. They didn’t really know what a “mini-dv tape was or where to get it” but they suggested we make a left down a dirt road to a little grocers market. They had fresh cut fries but no tapes.  Back on the road, we continued past the street we were supposed to turn down hoping we’d find civilization.  We stopped at a little strip mall. No tapes, but they pointed us in the direction of a CVS not too far away. Luckily for us, they had one package of three left. We grabbed it and broke speed limits tracing back to Kelly’s street. And wouldn’t you know it, out of the rear view mirror we saw the flashing lights of a squad car…Just joking, we pulled down an unmarked road and winded down it for what seemed like forever before we arrived. Kelly and her dogs (who she spoke to in German) warmly greeted us . Her interview  was great in that she had a lot to say about teenagers (being a mom), working with Hughes, and some ideas on why he’s disappeared. She also fulfilled Matt and Fach’s fantasy by asking them “What do you little maniacs want to do next?”

You can see the cutting room floor highlights here:


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our First Poll Results

For those who took part in our first poll. The majority was right! Anthony Michael Hall was indeed the first actor considered for the part of Ferris.

Check out our latest poll. Interested to hear what you all think about what became of the actor who played Jake in Sixteen Candles.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Linda Who ?

So, we had just gotten back to Toronto. We now had amassed 6 hours of tape. The doc was beginning to take shape. I’m famous for irritating people with my metaphors, but I’d like to call this the “moment of conception”. We had found our “egg” and we were in phase one of making our “baby” ; but our cell phones bills were high and our pockets were empty. We needed help. (and I continue to need “help” for my over/misuse of quotation marks).

The next interview we were excited for was with Linda Schyler. Many of you might say “Linda, who?”. Linda was the creator of the original Degrassi Junior High.  As the story goes, Aaron Spelling was interested in buying it and revamping it to take place in a school in Los Angeles, but Linda wasn’t interested in glamorizing high school, instead wanting to accurately reflect a high schooler’s life. (can you see the tie in to Hughes?). Spelling ended up making his own series set in high school that never really took off , 90210…

Another tie into our doc, is that Kevin Smith (who gave us an awesome interview) is a gigantic fan of the original series and when it was brought back with a new class a few years ago (and a huge hit), they did a MOW with Kevin and he has since returned to direct a few episodes.

Unfortunately, Linda’s interview didn’t make the final cut, but she had amazing things to say about stories for teenagers, Kevin Smith and of course, John Hughes. And now, through this blog, you can watch it here . * You’ll see that I was still figuring out the aesthetic of how the key interviews were shot. It was after this shoot I realized that how I was shooting wasn’t working and I then changed my approach to have them framed a certain way and ON A TRIPOD.  My bad. Lesson learned. Best film school ever.  

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Out of the four of us, Lenny was the only one with a "real job".  He works for a wine company , spending most of his time on the road, so it was exciting to have him with us on our first star interview with Ms Ally Sheedy. As he wouldn't have an opportunity to speak to many others during the course of the documentary, I handed the interviewer reins over to Len and stayed behind the camera.  Nerves abound, he did a fantastic job. To give you a bit more perspective on how the interview went down, I hand the blog over to Len.

"The Ally Sheedy interview was memorable for me for a number of reasons. It was the first official interview and well, my first interview asking the questions. The team had been in New York for a while doing their thing and I was making a one day appearance...literally. I flew in at 9 am and we were driving back to Toronto that night. So, I was in for a long day.  From the time I landed in New York, it was as if everything moved in fast forward.  I left the airport and met up with Kari. From there, we went to the location to meet Matt and Mike.  I had questions planned but by the time Ally showed up, I drew a blank and it was autopilot from then on. Now, keep in mind we probably did over 200 interviews for this film. This was the first! No template, no mistakes to draw on or change. When the nerves were going, I went back to the basics. I asked Ally about the things that had really got us to this point, the relevance of Hughes today, the unique magic of his films, the mystery etc. I basically did not have to speak.  Ally went on talking, touching on all of the same things Matt, Mike, Kari and I had been discussing for months. It was amazing to hear Ally Sheedy say that her and other actors, directors felt the same way we did about John.  This was a good starting point. I knew we were onto something special."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our First Road Trip

We hadn’t formed as a group for longer than a week, when we discovered a John Hughes Film Festival in Salisbury, Maryland. This would be the event that triggered our film to move from pre-production to full out production. We rented a camera (A Panasonic DVX100) from some friends (thank you Motel Pictures) and Fach, Kari and I hit the road. All we had discussed at this point was that we wanted the interviews to be filmed wherever we were able to grab them, and very “from the hip and raw” – meaning that we weren’t going to light it, or have a set list of questions – it was going to be a conversation that we’d have that we" just happened to have a camera around for."

We had no idea what would be in store for us when we got to Maryland, other than that we would be on campus grounds as the festival was a school event.  We had already pre-arranged an interview with a professor who taught film at the local University and our key contact was a student named Garfield. As we waited for the film festival to start (which was basically a screening of a few Hughes movies over a few days – with a pretty modest turn out at the University theatre) we spoke to a bunch of kids on campus.

More than a test shoot if anything, our first trip taught us a few things. One, when shooting handheld it was difficult for me to be the cameraman AND interviewer (so that torch was passed to Kari). Two, we would definitely need a mic other than the one built into the camera (just stupidity really). Three, that Kari needs a number of inconvenient pee breaks while on the road, that the actor named Jake didn’t work at that furniture store that we bombarded (and has vanished even more so than Hughes), that the hot dog at the 7-11 we stopped at had probably been there since the premiere of Breakfast Club, and that these films resonate quit deeply with kids who weren’t even born when they came out. 

This was a total new revelation and completely steered the doc in a new direction.

Below is an assemble, appalling sound and all, from our first trip ;  general opinions about the Hughes films and the state of teen film.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hughes Sighting!!!!

Elusive and reclusive director John Hughes, sitting in Wrigley's upper deck near the left-field foul pole. From, the first interview with Hughes since the wrap party for "Curly Sue":

"I grew up in the Detroit area, so I'm sort of happy right now," Hughes said at the end of the second period with the Red Wings up 4-3. "Gordie Howe was my hero growing up. We listened to games on the radio." After "Ferris Bueller" - "I used the number 9," said Hughes -- Howe sent the director an autographed jersey. "That was a big thrill," said Hughes, who nonetheless was a Blackhawks season ticket holder for years.

"We're going to re-up now," Hughes said. "It's amazing what Rocky Wirtz and his organization has done for the team. There is just so much affection for the Hawks that was pent up. I think that's why there was anger about the Hawks [dry stretch]. The team is beloved."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The team comes together

I had briefly met producer Kari Hollend a year or so prior to walking into her office.  Back then, at that first meeting, she wouldn't work with me. I wanted to make a film cast with a bunch of Canadian actors that had all won awards and blah blah blah , but nobody would recognize. Kari felt like she could get access to name talent and was only interested in making movies that people would actually want to watch:)

I knew I could whip up a documentary talking to the hordes of people that gush over what Hughes movies mean to them, but was faced with a pretty difficult challenge of how I'd get interviews with the stars of those films. Enter Kari Hollend.

When I walked into her office and pitched her the project she was visibly excited. But knowing that this would be a long undertaking, she hesitated, telling me that she would get back to me in a weeks time with an answer. I walked out of her office. She called me to tell me she was in before the next block.

Next came Lenny Panzer, a man who can recite every line of dialogue from every one of Hughes' films.

We had met earlier in the year to talk about writing our very own teen film. We knew that we wanted to make something as close to a Hughes film as possible and as far away from something like American Pie as we could...we got nowhere. This documentary, dissecting Hughes and his impact,  would be the perfect thing for us to forge together on.

Lastly came my uber creative best buddy Michael Facciolo. 

We had gone through a lot together (he crashed on my couch for a year) and we had promised each other that in the years to come we'd start our own production company together. We both would write. He would produce. I would direct. I already had some directing experience, but he was new to producing. I couldn't think of a better project to get his feet wet with and a better producer than Kari Hollend to work with. And besides, on a project where I would be on the road quite bit, why not have your best bud along for the ride.  Little did I know the hyginx that would insue (you'll read about them...).

And lastly there's me : 

I still regret wearing that pink shirt. John Hughes movies changed the way I looked at myself and the kind of films I wanted to make. I went into this project with a couple of short films, a very independent experimental feature film under my belt and experience shooting with the camera we would use. But zero experience making a doc. Oh, the lessons I would learn. 

So that's the team. We'd all be working together , through thick and thin, over the next 3+ years.

It had been about a day and a half before the four of us met in Kari's tiny office. Kari got on the phone to try and schedule our first interview. 

Within 30 minutes we had one with Ally Sheedy.


It all started with my wife (fiancé at the time)

I was sitting watching television with her. We had just sat glued to our set watching "Sixteen Candles" for the umpteenth time.  "Can you believe this is a 'teen movie' ?"  I asked. "Can you think of a pop teen flick from the last 15 years that can even hold a candle to this and the rest of the Hughes cannon ? Speaking of Hughes...where the f*%k is he ?"

Her response ?

"You should make a documentary about it."

If I had only known that that discussion would lead to an epic 4 year production which would see three out of the four team members get married, buy houses and have babies.

There would be plenty of distractions along the way, but we would always try to 'stay the course'. 

- Matt