Friday, August 21, 2009
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Filmmakers talk about mockumentary short The Bridge Bash
In 2003, the greatest party of all time almost didn't happen. One DJ saved the night... and changed the world.
On one abstruse night in 2003, there was a legendary party held on the Brooklyn Bridge that every attendee hazily remembered but kept secret. Details were fuzzy, and the identities of the approximately 600 affluent, high-profile partygoers remained cloaked – until now. Like two groomsmen-turned-fratty sleuths in The Hangover, a pair of New York-based filmmakers sought to find out just what the hell happened. Or so it seems.
The Bridge Bash is a star-studded mockumentary short due online in late December. APOLLO’s CRED had a chat with the two men behind the party puzzle piece-finding mission, Adam Moreno, the writer, producer and co-director, and Alex Mamlet, the producer and co-director. As a part of their absurdist PR plan for promoting the film, they pretended all this was real and that master disc scratcher DJ Blue who saved the ‘party’ took years to find – despite the fact that the real DJ Blue is in fact Moreno himself.
Providing necessary clout to the film is an eclectic line-up of celebrities, as indicated in the trailer, including Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Ethan Hawke, Justin Long, Billy Crudup, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, David Wain, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter. Additional details about the film are available at bridgebash.com.
Moreno’s background is largely in contributing musically to soundtracks for a few films including The Ten, and Mamlet’s mostly known for documentary work. The gang is still editing and hoping to create awareness in an effort to gather more interviews and facts. They talked to us about the project and improvised lies surprisingly well.
AC: How’d you guys arrive at the concept for this project?
Alex: Myself and Adam had heard about this party for years, and we also heard about DJ Blue, but we’d never really met anybody who had met him. Was it your uncle that worked with him at the sanitation department?
Alex: Blue’s uncle worked in the sanitation department. He told us that [Blue] had recently run into some money problems and was excited about getting his story out there. So we tracked him down. We got to meet him for the first time and learn how legendary this party was. After the interview with him, we sort of became superjazzed that for the first time this story could be told.
Adam: We had about this party and we’d sort of been spinning it as the most famous party ever, but the truth is it was a very underground thing that just fabulous people were at. And there was no footage. So a lot of the people we went to – it wasn’t working. We’ve been trying to get this off the ground for a while. It wasn’t working until we were able to hook up with Paul Rudd, and that really set it off. He got us access to other people that were there, people that weren’t there. And we’ve just been compiling footage until we could get the interview with DJ Blue.
AC: What were some challenges and advantages that came with making an authentic true-to-facts documentary?
Adam: One of things that made it difficult was there were no cameras allowed at this party. But one of the great things about us putting this Web site out is we’re now starting to hear from people who were there who filmed it, and footage is starting to surface, which is really exciting for us as filmmakers.
Alex: I’ve done some documentaries about the lore of parties and party crashing, so I was always fascinated by the idea of this party that people aren’t sure even happened. And it was so explicit and so private and there was no footage taken. When Blue and I hooked up, we brought the sensibility of really wanting to get to the bottom of this story: what happened on this sort of magical night.
AC: How’d you assemble an eclectic group of celebrities to talk about a party from six years ago?
Adam: Once we were able to get to Rudd, more people came out. When people heard about DJ Blue, they got involved and were more willing to talk about their experience. People in the hip-hop community and club scene, some athletes. People that actually worked the party as well. People that did catering – some of their stories are really interesting because they had high-end everything from the sound system to the food. It was like Tom Cruise’s wedding where you had to sign the releases. We haven’t interviewed yet – but we spoke to people from the Mayor’s office and we want to get them on camera to talk about releases. How long the bridge was closed for, what the traffic issues were. It’s overwhelming because we’re getting access to start this little short, and it’s almost more than we can handle.
AC: What was the purpose of posting a trailer this early into production?
Adam: We made a trailer in part to light a fire under our own asses and finish it. Some documentaries take years, and we’re not doing Muhammed Ali. We’re doing the story of a party from one night, and we didn’t want to dwell on it. We’re doing a short and we want to get it out as soon as possible.
AC: The trailer gave me the very strong impression this was a mockumentary. Almost too strong. Can you confirm that?
Adam: It’s not a mockumentary. The reason we put this trailer out was to help us get this footage that we’ve really been struggling to get, to be able to tell the story well. We like, though, that angle, and it’s been provocative that people have been asking us, ‘Is this bullshit?’ As some of the responses start coming in, from people that were there, we’re able to start painting actual pictures of the footage. People had a tough time figuring out whether or not it was real, which was really interesting for us.
AC: So it’s kind of a mystery you’re curiously anxious to solve.
Adam: In the age of the Internet, the allure of something that was once properly kept under wraps is no longer an enigma. By making a film about it, we’re basically going to be destroying what made that special because we want to publicize it.
AC: Do you think many in the New York in-crowd care about keeping the party’s anonymity intact or do they not even care anymore?
Alex: There were a lot of people that were so fucked up that night they don’t remember it. […] Like anything controversial, it’ll spur a dialogue.