Interview with Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz

Glover

Glover

Glover

Interview with Michael Glover (Director) and Robyn Rosenkrantz (Producer)

How did you come up with the story for this film?
Michael: Robyn and I were in Berlin to shoot our 5th feature. We wanted to do a Romantic Comedy but I wanted to explore the city before I finalized the story points. We started going around Berlin, meeting people and seeing what sort of locations and situations might stand out for the film. The amount of support and enthusiasm was remarkable. Actors and locations and crew wanted to take part. Then, we walked into this beautiful French shop in Berlin called “Le Flo”, named after the owner, Florian. We hit it off with Florian, and asked him if we could shoot scenes there and he agreed. That’s when I came up with the "Go with Le Flo" concept: A guy who’s half German and half French, who always falls in love with (the wrong) French girls. All the while his best friend, a German girl, pines away for him, secretly in love. Once we had the locations and the comedy situation and the actors the story sort of wrote itself. I prefer knowing who the actors are before I write the scripts. I find it much easier to “see” the scenes in my head as I’m writing when I know who the actors are.

How did you select the cast? Were there any specific requirements or characteristics you were looking for?
Robyn: Because we’ve been traveling the world for 27 years as Bright Blue Gorilla, doing concerts and screenings, we meet amazing creative people everywhere we go. Every couple of years we get these talented artists together and shoot a film. Michael likes to write parts for specific actors, as he said, so the roles are always a perfect fit. We had worked with French actor, Denis Aubert, and Italian actress, Roberta Bianchini, in our other films, so we knew they were great to work with. In real life they're good friends, so their chemistry on set really flows! For Jenny, (the German girl who’s in love with Florian) we had to search for the right actress. We met Marina Senckel through another actor friend. As soon as she walked into the room we knew she was our Jenny! She’s with the Berliner Ensemble theater, and they get intense training. When she told her Berliner Ensemble actor colleagues about Go with Le Flo, they all wanted to be in it. That made the casting super easy!

Why an American director does ends up filming in Berlin and Europe instead of the US?
Michael: I’d been wanting to do a foreign language film for a while. Go with Le Flo was our 5th film. What sped things up was the suggestion of a director friend of ours, Michael Schultz - look him up, he’s legendary! He and I were having breakfast in L.A. at Farmer’s Market one day and we were talking about our projects. I told him about wanting to do a foreign RomCom and he said, “Why don’t you stage it in Berlin. It’s a great city to shoot in. Very film-friendly.” That got me thinking. Robyn and I talked about it and we emailed a few friends and saw the immediate enthusiasm, so we thought, let’s go and check it out.

Robyn: We tour in Europe all the time, and we always loved Berlin. We had some really fun shows there and got to know a lot of great people, so there was already a lot of support there we could draw on during the shoot. And Michael figured out a good way to direct in a foreign language, which has worked really well.

Michael: I write the scripts in English, then we have foreign writer friends flip the scenes into whatever language. During rehearsals I work out the scenes with the actors, work on the timing, the mood and character “status” in the scene. All the actors speak English so it’s easy to have a back and forth about the meanings, undertones, story through-lines. On set I have a native language Script Supervisor who makes sure the actors do the lines as written and don’t skip a word or change something. When I direct the scene I focus on the energy of the actors, the body language, and the non-verbal communication going on. A lot of deeper communication is non-verbal, so this works pretty well.

What would you say is the message behind Go with Le Flo? Is it dream big? Love more? Get real?
Michael: "Open your eyes and see where you are. Notice what’s right in front of you. Be in the moment." That’s certainly in there. Most of us are either thinking of the past or imagining the future - usually with regret or fear mixed in. If we just relax and look around, we can see all sorts of beautiful opportunities. The character, Florian, is so obsessed with this concept of the perfect girl he has in his head - he got it at a seminal moment watching old cinema as a kid - he’s so fixated on this that he can’t see how wonderful Jenny is.

Robyn: If we would only love more, there would be a lot less problems in the world! There’s a lot of love flowing on our indie movie sets, because everyone is there because they want to be, not for a big fat paycheck. We come together for the love of film, wanting to create something that’s bigger than ourselves, something beautiful we can share with others.

Can you tell our viewers about the Bright Blue Gorilla project? This is more than music, more than films…

Robyn: Bright Blue Gorilla is really a life style of creating art for art’s sake! It’s a vehicle to take us through life, doing what we love. Our goal is to bring joy to everyone we meet, people we perform for and who watch our films. We’ve been traveling the world since 1990, when we quit our L.A. jobs, sold everything we had (except for our guitars) and bought one-way tickets to Amsterdam. Our dream was to travel and play music. We started down that adventurous road and never looked back. We got married 2 years into the trip so that makes 25 years married!

Michael: It went by so fast. Feels like 25 months. Funny but we’re still touring more or less the same way we did 27 years ago. We travel by train, usually. No roadies - just us! We got into films along the way when we were cast in The Last Shot, with Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick. That was a pretty big break, so we decided to take our Hollywood paycheck and get a camera. We’d been talking about making our own features for a while when this break came along and that was the last piece of the puzzle. A lot of our friends were actors and I’d already been writing stage plays and scripts. So all the elements were in place.

Robyn: We love the process of making features. It’s such a great community effort - at least the way we make them. It fits in perfectly with our lives as touring musicians too. We feel very blessed to share our movies and music with your Eurochannel viewers! We hope to inspire others to follow their passions!

After being in Hollywood and now filming independent, what are the main challenges a filmmaker faces these days?
Michael: Because of the digital revolution, the technical part of making films is within reach of everybody. But having a good story is still the trick. I spend a lot of time on my story ideas before I write the screenplay and commit to filming. We take our time and be sure we’ve got something interesting and fun before we shoot. The story is number one, the technical act of filmmaking runs a distant 2nd.

Robyn: I think finding a distributor that truly cares about art, and not just about business, can be a real challenge for filmmakers. Our films are definitely outside the box, most Hollywood films copy each other. So we need to find special people to help get our movies seen. Eurochannel was a great discovery for us, as was our new co-producer/distributor Under the Milky Way.

Are you working on any filming projects at the moment? Can you tell us something about them?
Michael: We are just starting the release of Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee, which is our 6th feature film! Amazing how far we’ve come.

Robyn: We invited many of the wonderful actors from Go with Le Flo to be in Mr. Rudolpho’s Jubilee. It’s also a romantic comedy, with some surreal elements. Bright Blue Gorilla plays a musical Greek Chorus - singing to the audience, invisible to the characters. We shot in Berlin and Italy, with 300 artists from 36 countries. It’s in 3 languages this time: English, German and Italian. We’re now on tour with the film in USA, Europe in the Fall and Australia/New Zealand in 2018.  Michael has so many great ideas, he’s already writing our 7th and 8th features! We’ve been so grateful to all the film lovers around the world who have donated to our Gorilla Film Fund!

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