Coup de Cinema
Coup de Cinema is an indie low budget film about low budget indie filmmaking. Co-directors Austin Hillebrecht and Sean Parker made a fantastically original film about an inspired filmmaker who believes he can turn the production of a bad film into a good one. Coup de Cinema was shot in Portland and many of the actors were locals. It was very creative and funny and at times it did not even take itself very serious, which worked well.
Miles Smith (Austin Hillebrecht) has been shot down by every movie studio in town. Until fate finally steps in, from a wild series of events a DVD cover literally hits him in the face. The DVD was appropriately named Fortuna Smiles (Fortuna was a goddess of fortune and luck). As he drops off his application and resume he sneaks past the secretary to meet with the head of the studio, Rick Steiner (David Loftus). Rick ends up assigning Miles as a product assistant on one of the studio’s current projects.
After being on the set only a short while Miles is curious to see what other films the studio has previously released. The result was a bunch of poorly made films with over-the-top plots and dialog. The only redeeming quality was the unintentional humor from such bad movie making. The scene is quite funny as he watches all of these crappy films but still does not explain why he had owned a film from the studio in the beginning. Well it turns out it was his friend Caitlyn’s (Nomi Summa) DVD that she watches on bad movie nights.
The more time Miles spends on the film set the more he finds out how bad this project really is. The director does not even pay attention to his own film, the actors are prima donnas and the most productive thing Miles gets to do is make coffee runs.
It seems that Miles is the only one interested in turning around this awful film into something decent. He can no longer stand making such a terrible film and decides to do something about it. Rick makes it very clear to him that they are not in the business for making films but rather just for the business itself. Makes you wonder how many of the Hollywood studios are the same way.
In his own words, Miles hijacks the film. He takes a copy of the film’s script off Rick’s desk and spends the rest of the evening making a mass amount of changes to it. He passes around the revised script to the actors and the director does not pay enough attention to even notice.
A few people start to notice what is going on and eventually Miles tells everyone on the crew his plan, except for the director. The plan is fairly elaborate, he gets everyone on board with his idea and they continue to shoot the normal film during the day. When the director leaves for the day they break into the studio to film Miles’s version. The whole thing works as planed until the director catches wind of what is going on.
It was quite ingenious of them to make an indie film about low budget indie films. It allowed them to get away with having a low budget themselves and making it fit into the story seamlessly. The characters in the film are portrayed with pure genuineness that it makes you wonder if the directors themselves have been in the same situation before. The director demanding jungle special effects while trying to film in a winter forest may seem crazy but sadly that type of ignorance happens all the time.
The subplot of the film is the relationship between Miles and Caitlyn. Miles is constantly trying to win over the heart of Caitlyn but she continues to reject him. While the viewer may not be entirely emotionally connected to either one of them, this remains somewhat of an important element of the film. If nothing else, it provides a way for Miles character to develop and grow as we see near the end.
Coup de Cinema is not your typical film. The concept was there even if the execution was not constantly present. For the most part, the acting was good but there are a few scenes that felt a little amateurish. All said and done it was worth a watch as it provided more than a few laughs.