1. Tell us a little about Cine-Magic.
We have been around for a few years now, making films in the Twin Cities. We are essentially three guys who have a shared sensibility, who decided to join together, to collaborate and share the financial burden of working on film projects. Cine-Magic was a name which was coined as a joke (the worst possible name we could think of), but it stuck. It is probably lost on most people that the name is a lame joke. We also coined an equally ridiculous motto, "We put dreams on film so you can watch them".
2. Please tell us about your new movie "The Day Robert DeNiro Met James Caan."
It's sort of hard to explain, but basically 2 guys (named Robert DeNiro and James Caan) meet while mall walking and share a brief encounter. It's a comedy, but I'm not sure how it will be received. It's pretty dry and it may confuse most audiences. Calling it a meta or postmodern comedy would probably be a stretch, but it's pretty unique.
3. What is Cine-Magic's history with Apache Plaza? How did you arrive at choosing Apache Plaza to shoot this movie?
One of the guys in Cine-Magic lived near Apache Plaza, so that's how we knew about it and appreciated the desolation of the environment. However I'm not sure if we immediately thought of shooting at the Apache. The script for DeNiro/Caan was always set in a mall. Often times one the biggest obstacles to making a film, is finding locations. Finding a mall was definitely a major element of the pre-production on DeNiro/Caan. Since this as a very low budget production, there was no money allocated for a location fee. We prepared a very elaborate proposal packet which we used to approach various locations in the hopes of gaining access to shoot and we got a lot of rejections.We did not have anything to offer a location and I think that often times the management did not want to risk us getting in the way of vendors and shoppers. Eventually we approached the management of the Apache and were pleasantly surprised by their willingness to let us shoot.
5. What was it like shooting at Apache Plaza?
The fact that Apache Plaza is so desolate was an asset to us because we were able make ourselves at home and spread out with our gear during the shoot. On the other hand it did limit what we could see with the camera. When we scouted locations, we decided to shoot one scene in front of Herbergers and another outside of a Hallmark store. When we came back a few months later to actually shoot, the Hallmark store was gone. I think we did the best we could to hide the desolate look of the Apache, but we would have been in trouble without at least that one vibrant looking store.
6. Do you have any interesting or humorous stories about the experience of shooting the film?
When we first started shooting, we had planned on doing the principle photography over a weekend in the summer of 2001. We spent an entire Saturday shooting roughly half of the film. At the end of that first day one of our actors (playing James Caan) announced that he could not continue with the film. It's a long story, but we were never able to convince him to finish, and it was a huge financial and emotional blow to the production. It took us a few weeks to regroup and recast and get back to the Apache to finally re-shoot and complete the film.
6. Any upcoming Cine-Magic projects that you'd like to plug?
We are hoping to get DeNiro/Caan out to some festivals and see how it plays.We premiered the film at the Central Standard Film Festival in Minneapolis in September 2003. We have a bunch of other films that are playing at festivals and we always have new projects we are hoping to bring together. If anyone is really interested we try to update our website (www.cine-magic.com) to reflect new developments for Cine-Magic