Andrew Schneider, one of the Fort Collins filmmakers behind Whensday, on indie cinema
As part of a collaborative group of filmmakers working hard under the name No Coast Artists, Andrew Schneider sees the world of cinema as a place where movies are art made by and for everyone. When the Fort Collins-based group set out to create its first major film production, Whensday, premiering this Friday, August 9 at Lyric Cinema Cafe, the quartet had the experience, equipment and location in mind -- but that was about it.
A scene from Whensday, premiering in Fort Collins this Friday, August 9.
The result was a film that stars a town and a bicycle as its main characters, helped along by a wonderful cast that assembled out of an open call for parties interested in making a film -- no experience necessary. In advance of the first screening of Whensday, Schneider spoke with Westword about creating a film with no script but plenty of energetic participants, what is is like to collaborate with great friends, and the importance of indie filmmaking in a modern-day digital Hollywood world.
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Westword: Can you talk a little bit about who you are in relationship to this film?
Andrew Schneider: I am one of four friends and collaborators who, a year ago in May, sat down and said, let's stop talking about the movies we want to make and start making them together. I have a BFA in theater -- I've produced opera and done digital marketing for about ten years. Then I got into television, where I worked for Current TV in San Francisco -- and then got laid off in one of their infamous mass layoffs and moved back to Colorado four years ago.
I got wrapped up in the Fort Collins creative scene, especially the music scene. I befriended Ben Mozer, who owns the Lyric Cinema Cafe, and Tomas Herrera, who is a local filmmaker, and Doug Usher, who is another local filmmaker who owns a commercial video company here in town called VIA. That's the four of us who sort of drove Whensday through to the finish line.
What is your title in regards to Whensday? Are you a producer or director of the film?
We all assume the title of producer/director. Though we worked on different segments and sometimes there were more of us available than others, everything was sort of shot in our free time over the last year. Certainly, this movie could have been made faster (laughs) but we all also have other things going on. And that's kind of one of the reasons we wanted to do it -- to show people that we've got all the tools we need in terms of technology and talent here; you don't have to long to live in Los Angeles to make movies. You can do it with your friends in your own community.
It's a strange cultural myth, I think, that that has to take place. We really give it a lot of credence and, nobody ever wants to be the one saying the Emperor has no clothes, of course, but I can definitely imagine a much more vibrant creative world if things were more decentralized. And there was a broader appreciation and acknowledgement of community entertainment.
What is it about Fort Collins that works for filmmaking?
When you see Whensday, you'll see that it is a very beautiful place to live. We've been telling people that the real main characters of the movie aren't represented by actors -- they are Fort Collins, and a bicycle. It's just really gorgeous to live here and there's just sort of an easy way of living. There are a lot of creative people living here and working here, especially both in commercial art and fine arts. There's a ton of talent and there is always something happening in town. I think those are the major draws for me.
Personally, I got rid of my car when I moved to San Francisco in 2007 and have been all-bike since then. So, it is super-convenient for me to be in a town the size of Fort Collins because it is a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community and all of that good stuff.