Would Northern Brooklyn be complete without its own film noir jewel box theater? Film Noir Cinema, located at 122 Meserole Avenue, is a hidden gem in Greenpoint that will soon screen the revival of INCALL, a coming-of-age film with a twist. In the film, After the accidental death of a massage client, and through a bizarre set of circumstances, a young masseur and a seductive cat burglar begin killing massage clients for profit. The film, previously a hit in the nabe, returns Thursday, June 21 at 9 PM.
We spoke with filmmaker Brock Riebe — a local artist who wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the movie — about his influences, social commentary in film, and how to succeed while working on a micro-budget.
Greenpointers: INCALL has had a few encore presentations at this point. What do you think audiences find most appealing about this film?
Brock Riebe: Many people can relate to the struggle of the lead character, Kasey, who has been playing by the “rules” in life but who still can’t seem to make ends meet. In the film, Kasey begins questioning who exactly is making the “rules” and for whose benefit? As a result, he ends up going down a very dark path in which he, with the assistance of his cohort Marco, begins making his own rules for his own benefit. In this age of 21st century, greed-based global capitalism (an age in which many feel forced to play by “rules” that are not for their benefit, and that they had no say in making), many can relate to this theme and are asking similar questions.
GP: How would you describe the premise/plot of this film to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
BR: The film has been called “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer meets Brokeback Mountain“. It is essentially a slice-of-life that deals with many of the normal “coming-of-age” issues that people face (such as coming to terms with sexuality, finding ones way in life, etcetera), but is set against a backdrop of extreme greed-based capitalism which lacks a proper social safety net that would be considered mandatory under any civilized social construct. As such, the main characters are forced into circumstances beyond their control that push them to make some poor and sinister choices to survive. The film is definitely, among other things, a social commentary on the current state of the United States.
GP: What’s it been like collaborating with the Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint?
BR: It has been a very wonderful experience. Will, owner of Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint, is definitely a cinephile and very supportive of independent films, especially lessor known, hidden gems. Film Noir Cinema, in my view, is for audiences who want to go beyond merely passively watching a film and who instead want to become more engaged and engaging. I think that there is definitely a largely untapped market that can be serviced by such a concept in a time when many people are feeling isolated as a result of the influence of the internet (and other technologies) on society.
GP: Do you live around the neighborhood/how long have you been in Brooklyn?
BR: I moved to Williamsburg right after college. That was more than 15 years ago. So, I have seen Brooklyn, and NYC, change massively in that time. I have also done work in Chicago and currently am working between the two cities.
GP: Can you tell us a little about the development of the film and its creative process?
BR: I actually had my locations first and then wrote a story into those locations. That may sound strange to some, but any low-budget filmmaker knows that so many films are sunk because they are written in a way that is unrealistic to shoot based on budget. So, I knew what I was doing with that and, as such, it worked out! I later learned that Charlie Chaplin made his films that way (I was not surprised by that). I wanted to make a full length micro-budget film (without errors) that could play well in theaters. I knew I wanted it to be horror/thriller, and very “culty,” but I also wanted it to have a strong and relevant social commentary.
GP: Can you name some of the artists who have had an influence on you and your work?
BR: I’ve been more influenced by specific films that I like as opposed to specific artists. There were several films that, in one way or another, influenced INCALL. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Apartment Zero, and Eating Raoul had the biggest influence. Also, I was inspired to a degree by Briam DePalma. It has been commented by several that there is a “Hitchcockian” influence. But, actually, it’s DePalma. I am inspired by anything/one that I think is good at what they do and is quality. It doesn’t need to be contemporary as that isn’t important to me. Quality endures; trends fade. As such, the film has certain elements of what some might call “classic horror.”
GP: Do you have any future projects you’re excited about?
BR: Yes. I have three film projects that I am working on, all in various stages of development. They are all in the horror or thriller genre. Also, they all have strong social commentary. I will begin the screenplay for one of those films very soon!
GP: Anything else you’d like to add?
BR: If people would like to see the trailer for INCALL, or learn more about the film, they can go to the film’s website at www.IncallMovie.com. Also, to purchase tickets to the upcoming screening of INCALL, at Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint on June 21 at 9 PM, go to www.IncallMovie.com or FilmNoirCinema.com! And please check out all the great films playing at Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint.