Spotlight: Bar Starz

  • The Making of “Bar Starz”

    Q&A with Mike Pietrzak

    1. Introduce yourself and your film
    I am Michael John Pietrzak, a writer/director. Bar Starz is my second produced credit as a writer, first as a director.  Bar Starz is the story of Barry and Douglas, two friends who go away to community college and get wrapped up in the nightclub scene in San Bernardino.  It’s a satire about nightclub denizens, before there was a Jersey Shore.

    2.  How did you become interested in filmmaking?
    I have always loved movies.  I used to skip school and watch the Michael Keaton Batman and Clint Eastwood’s Heartbreak Ridge, the only two VHS tapes we had in the house.  Then we got HBO one day and it was like my library card.  Shortly after I graduated high school I realized that I loved watching movies more than anything else, especially college, and figured why not try and write them.  So I did.

    3.  Tell us about your inspiration and vision for the film.
    I think comedy is at its best when it’s improvised.  You see it more and more in today’s pictures, even the big comedies like The Hangover, and shows like East Bound and Down.  But when we made Bar Starz no one was really doing that yet.  We took an entire film and literally threw out the script and improvised the entire thing.  My vision was a whacked out comedy where the jokes would be naturally absurd. For the most part I believe we got that.

    4.  What were some of the biggest challenges in making and completing the film?
    Financing was the biggest challenge.  Isn’t it always?

    5.  If this is your 1st film, what will you take away from the experience that you can apply to the next?
    You quickly learn that all the funny jokes in the world won’t tell a story, and won’t captivate an audience.  I’m proud of this movie, especially the performances I was able to get, there are some real moments, but telling a good story is the most important thing when it comes to filmmaking. With everything that happens during a production (and the time and budget constraints you are constantly under), it can be easy to lose sight of that. Managing all the aspects of production while still being able to keep my primary focus on the story I am telling is the best thing I can apply to my next film.

    6.  What’s next?
    I’ve been working on some darker political drama stuff.

    7.  In the spirit of independent cinema and Gravitas Ventures, what is your favorite indie film?
    My favorite indie film when I made Bar Starz was Swingers.  My favorite indie film now is City of God.


    January 1st, 2011 | Joe Wilka |

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