The 12th annual Greenpoint Film Festival is right around the corner, which will 48 indie films from August 3-6. And among those films is Mechanical Bulls — created by Brooklyn’s very own Jake Schick and Joshua Laufer — which is screening at the festival and both creators’ first-ever feature-length film.
Mechanical Bulls tells the story of four long-lost twenty-something friends reconnecting over the course of one day in a pressure cooker of a New York City apartment and the confrontations and hard-won truths that ensue. Filmed in just three weeks with a $9,000 budget, the making of the movie was a true labor of love, which Schick and the rest of the crew and cast worked to make evident on the screen for all 62 minutes of it.
And if spending an extended period of time working in a single, cramped space sounds familiar, it should.
“The pandemic was a big impetus for it, wanting to be making a lot of things and not having any resources to make that happen,” Schick explained. “So we were trying to figure out how to make something just in our apartment in one space for super cheap with our friends and think of an interesting story there.”
And speaking of friends, when writing, Schick and Laufer immediately imagined roles for Miranda Kang and Claire Noelle Smith, their real-life friends who also play two of the movie’s leads.
“What drew me in was reading the script from Jake, it sounded really interesting,” Kang recalled. “I hadn’t had much like on-camera acting experience at the time, and so I wanted to use it as both a learning opportunity, but also to learn from Jake and Josh in this process of making a film on your own.”
And learn she did, as the set was an incredibly collaborative environment.
“It’s the first like full-length movie like I’ve worked on at all. So it was super exciting to just be a part of that,” Schick said. “So it was very helpful to have a super collaborative mindset and be learning from Miranda and the rest of the cast and all the crew. There was one point where there was a scene that wasn’t really working and we were workshopping the script with the sound mixer. The amount of time we got to spend together was super fun; it was a very good group of people who were so helpful and just so good and talented and fun to work with.”
“I think you and Josh did a really good job of taking care of everyone on set, which I really appreciate,” Kang echoed to Schick in our interview. “I think even when you’re working within a tight budget, it’s hard to make sure that everyone’s needs are being met, but I’m really appreciative that you were able to do that for us.”
Despite the positive vibes off-screen, the film itself depicts a few more thorns than roses when highlighting the tumult between friends, but ultimately, Schick and Kang hope that people take away the importance of friendships and making time to preserve the ones that really mean something to you.
Mechanical Bulls is screening on August 6 at 12 p.m. at The Boiler (191 N 14th St.) as part of the festival’s NY Made: New Directors feature category. Get tickets here.