Wednesday, April 11, 2012 , Updated 12:00 a.m., April 14, 2012
Dallas International Film Festival preview: Bindlestiffs
Bindlestiffs could be the best bad Texas movie ever.
Meet Texans Andrew Edison and Luke Loftin, soon to be better known as the Bindlestiffs. They drop bon mots as readily as F-bombs. Their partnership has lasted nearly a decade, though they're barely in their 20s. Brimming with boyish enthusiasm, they possess wisdom and chops beyond their years.
They also just might be the future of film.
According to the official press statement, Bindlestiffs (playing at the Angelika Dallas on April 14 and 15) is “an insider’s look at the uncensored mind of the frustrated high school teen.” Made with “very little money and very little permission,” said Edison, it’s far above (and below, depending on your point of view) the average crass teen comedy — a tale of three high school virgins who use J.D. Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye as a guide to living while suspended from school is on the cusp of going, ah, viral.
Despite the filmmakers’ youth and structured-improv approach, Edison and Loftin have clearly done their homework. The pair, who own and operate Green Stoplight Productions in Austin, began working together when they met in Houston — fresh out of elementary school. Director and co-star Edison has been making shorts since sixth grade, and he and writer/producer/editor/star Loftin mined the “super supportive” Houston film community for years to assemble Bindlestiffs’ core of crew and actors, even writing in roles specific to the talent they recruited.
The result is a film filled with personnel that was “all in on the collective vibe,” Edison said. “Though the plot and character objectives, etc. were all meticulously planned out, dialogue was fair game for the actors.” Edison is already known regionally as a director who can stay focused on a goal but remain open to others’ ideas, and he acknowledged that because he was so free to explore while making Bindlestiffs, he’ll probably never learn as much about directing again during one film.
But he may actually learn much more, and quickly. Fans of the movie are growing in number and include “Jay and Silent Bob” creator Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), who has secured Bindlestiffs’ distribution rights. Edison and Loftin also have an agency rep, and they’re dictating terms, saying that they’ll remain in Austin and adhere to a vow to alternate making independent and studio films.
“It’s mind blowing to realize that people you’ve never met are connecting with your work,” Edison said. He hopes audiences “see past the vomit-swallowing hilarity and actually see the little hint of heart the film has. It’s there.”
The duo said that Bindlestiffs’ two years of production was a labor of love started “to make themselves laugh” with inspiration as diverse as the French comic classic Harold and Maude, Steve Martin’s film debut The Jerk, and Wes Craven horror flicks.
Look for Bindlestiffs to hit theaters in the early summer, after which Edison expressed excitement about making “all sorts of different kinds of films” with Loftin.
“Yeah, you know … a little less overkill, a little more Citizen Kane,” Loftin added.
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