Director Jeremy Kipp Walker recently spoke with “Breakthrough Entertainment” about his new alien-folk-duo sci-fi-action-romance-comedy “The History of Future Folk.”
In “The History of Future Folk,” which opens Friday, July 26 exclusively at Harkins Valley Art, Nils d’Aulaire plays a decorated soldier from the planet Hondo who is sent to Earth to wipe out its current inhabitants with a flesh-eating virus. However, shortly after landing, he is enchanted by the mystical human invention known as “music,” abandons his mission to eradicate the human race and launches a one-alien bluegrass act instead.
Question: This movie is based on a real band. For those who have never had the privilege to see these guys perform before, who are they and what do they do?
Answer: These guys are a space alien bluegrass band here in New York City and they had been doing this act for the better part of a decade. It is a hilarious comedy show where they come onstage wearing these red bucket-helmets. It looks ridiculous but then they start playing this beautiful bluegrass music, which is sort of an American-roots style of music but about outer space.
Q: So then you were a fan of these guys before coming aboard this project?
A: Absolutely! They are extremely charming onstage and I thought, “We have to make a movie about these guys!” One of them is an actor on Broadway here in New York but the other is actually a graphic designer and a creative director at an ad agency so he took a big leap of faith and let us make a movie about him. And it turned out great! I hope that people go to see it in the theater. It is a lot of fun to have that shared experience in the movie theater.
Q: Tell me more about that shared experience. What is the theme that you hope to relay to audiences who see this film?
A: I think that, as an overarching theme, there is a lot about the power of music and the universal language of music. Music is infectious. The challenge was to make a film that could be enjoyed by all audiences of all ages. It has got a good heart and I think that that is a kind of filmmaking that is close to my own heart. Nowadays, everything is about the niche audience. But we set out to make a film that was endearing and had the kind of story that could relate to a variety of different people.
Q: Part of what makes it so endearing is its small scale. What is the appeal for you as a filmmaker to work on movies like this that have relatively low budgets as opposed to blockbusters so to speak?
A: At the end the day, film is commerce. It is the exact intersection of art and money. With bigger budgets comes oftentimes diluted stories. You have got a lot more money on the line so everything sort of gets reduced to the lowest common denominator. By doing things on a reduced scale with smaller budgets, it brings up a little more creative opportunity. You do not have as much money on the line so you are able to make more interesting choices along the way.
Q: Finally, what did your experience working on this project teach you about yourself?
A: I have produced several features over the years but this is my first directing endeavor on a feature scale. It is the difference between being a father and an uncle. It was a very humbling experience. I have been on a lot of sets and stood over the shoulders of a lot of directors – many of whom I admire – but it is a completely different process when it is your own baby on the screen. We had a great team, it was a tremendous labor of love and I am extremely excited that critics and audiences have embraced the film but I have definitely gone through the process and am much humbler on the other end.