“LUCKY, to me, is a unique modern horror stalker/slasher by way of BLACK MIRROR or THE TWILIGHT ZONE. The more surreal the events of the film start to get, the more it starts to mirror our own world. It’s a very timely, relevant, & absurdly dark humored story that asks us, the audience, when do we believe women when they tell us they’re in trouble, and what are we going to do about it?” Producer Robert Galluzzo on LUCKY which screens at SxSW 2020 Film!
Welcome to SxSW! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?
Sadly, I cannot attend, but I’m beyond thrilled for our director Natasha Kermani and writer/star Brea Grant to be there representing LUCKY. They’re beyond talented and I’m excited for the SXSW audience to see that first hand.
So let’s hear more about you and how you got started in the business and what you have worked on in the past?
I started out as a web writer, primarily reviews & interviews for horror publications, and that eventually led to some documentary work, mainly behind-the-scenes featurettes for home video releases. Meeting and interviewing filmmakers, who would then become friends, gave me the confidence to make The Psycho Legacy, my 2010 documentary, and eventually I worked my way into acquisitions for Epic Pictures, which is how I eventually got LUCKY made. As a director, I feel more comfortable in the documentary space, but as a producer, I’m so happy to help push original voices and stories forward.
How did this project come together?
Brea is a close friend. I was about to take a long flight and just asked her if she had anything I hadn’t read yet. In the middle of marathoning ten scripts, LUCKY immediately stood out, and I had a clear picture of how the entire thing could come together. I knew Natasha would be the perfect director for it. I insisted Brea take the lead role because the script seemed so personal to her. And I was humming the melodies of composer Jeremy Zuckerman as I read it. I was so happy we were able to get him to do our actual score! Exactly one year from that fateful flight, I was watching a rough cut and it was exactly as I pictured it. We were, pun intended, very lucky that it all came together the way that it did.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?
When everything is going right, like it thankfully did for us on LUCKY, and you’re seeing all the pieces and talent come together in a way that exceeds your expectations, it just keeps driving you forward to want to finish it so you can share it with everyone! It’s the shared enthusiasm with sincere, talented people that’s infectious and drives us all. Our producers Chelsea Davenport and Kimberly Hwang really took every day-to-day challenge and always figured out a way to do what needed to be done. Being surrounded by the best like-minded people always helps.
What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?
Shooting the parking garage scene for the finale was always going to be a challenge, but we knew if we were able to pull it off, it’d be the most visually exciting, stand-out scene of the film. So we talked a lot about how to do it, watched parking lot chases in other films for reference, did video boards on our phones, and for better or worse, saved it for the very end of the shoot. It was tough to pull off, but everyone worked overtime to make it special, and sure enough, we think it’s the scene everyone will walk out of SXSW talking about.
I am about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.
Our DP, Julia Swain, was an incredible find and a perfect match for our director Natasha Kermani. Even before we shot, it was important to figure out the look of “The Man” and how we were going to shoot him. We were trying to create an iconic looking, scary villain and we wanted you to not be 100 percent sure if he was wearing a mask, or if that was just the weird way that he looked. DePalma’s BODY DOUBLE was our influence with that. In general, Natasha loves using color in her storytelling, so May, Brea’s character, is mostly bathed in blue while “The Man” is always in red. They eventually collide, but the challenge of accomplishing that was always in Julia’s hands, and she made the entire film look and feel much bigger, and more beautiful than we could’ve hoped for.
After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?
SXSW is the beginning of our festival run, and we’re confirming a handful of other fests right now. We’re just so excited to finally show this to audiences!
If you could show your movie in any theatre outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?
Austin is the best place to premiere your movie in the U.S.! Otherwise, it’ll be fun to see in Los Angeles, just for home field advantage.
What would you say to someone who was being disruptive, like talking or texting, during a movie?
Unacceptable! The cinema is a sacred place. It’s like church, especially in Austin, the home of the Alamo Drafthouse! You must respect our church!
We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?
Always be sincere, genuine, respectful, and passionate. Find like-minded people and just make things, whatever they are. Just be creative in any capacity with equally passionate people and you’ll continue to grow and find your place. With iPhones these days and basic editing programs or apps, you can make a short every weekend.
And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?
I know this sounds crazy, but the New Beverly once had an all day marathon called DOLPH-FEST and it was five Dolph Lundgren movies in a row, culminating with the uncut Australian 35mm print of THE PUNISHER and a midnight screening of I COME IN PEACE, which is a personal fave. But the mid-point movie was ROCKY IV, and it felt like being at an actual boxing match. Every festival should consider having a DOLPH-FEST!
This is one of the many films playing at SxSW 2020! For more information on this film, screening times and info on the entire SxSW experience, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!