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Where's My Cloney: Bitter Balcony Spotlights Aidan 5


Aidan 5

Here at Bitter Balcony we are (in all humility) far too Revolutionary, Austere, Jaundice and Daring to ever be invited to Film Festivals. Instead, we bless these events by working them a whole week full-time without pay, proving that we always have time for the “little folk” when we finish partying with, you know, Megan F., Steven S., Bradley P., the usual.

I did my humble deed back in March of this year while my unemployment check was late. Er, I mean, while talking Goddard over venti mochas at The Miami International Film Festival. It is at this posh venue that I was pleased to meet the inspired young filmmakers from Ohio and their award-winning short “Aidan 5.” Take notice, all shoestring budget filmmakers, these guys will show you how it's done.

The filmmakers blended live action and animation to create the very cool futuristic tale of hard-nosed detective Aidan who is on the case of a peculiar series of homicides set in New Columbus, year 2045. All the more impressive is that the short was part of the 48-hour film project, an independent film competition in which filmmakers have to set-up, shoot and cut their movies within at 48-hour timeframe.

Aidan is played by Vincent D'Onofrio clone (hint) Bryan Block, who goes full Deckard convincingly as Aidan. The short is clever and efficient, able to tell a complete and engrossing yarn in about five minutes, which is less than the time it took me to write that line.

In all seriousness, the filmmakers' innovation is only matched by their candor, and we do wish them the best of luck in their goal of adapting “Aidan 5” into a Web series.

Bitter Balcony was fortunate to conduct an e-mail Q& A with “Aidan 5” director John Jackson. We also want to thank executive producer Ben Bays for his time and cooperation. Enjoy “Aidan 5” - the best thing to come out of Ohio since WKRP in Cincinnati!

Q: How did the idea of “Aidan 5” come about?
A: I decided to do a 48-hour film project with a friend of mine, writer, and director, Tim Baldwin. I recruited several other people I knew from work: illustrator Ben Brown, DP James McCullars. Tim brought his wife Amy Morgan on to do makeup, their mutual friend, Maya Sayre, helped fill an acting role and I brought my longtime friend and actor Bryan Block to fill out the lead part. The style was really born out of the deadline we had for the 48-hour film project. In order to save time, we planned on shooting green screen for all of the backgrounds, not knowing what the topic or genre would be. As it turns out we drew "sci-fi". I didn’t want to do aliens or ray-guns or spaceships, so we settled on cloning. We wanted to tell a non-linear story as well, so we approached it from a film-noir attitude. It was a “Sin City” meets “Law and Order: SVU” vibe with a little “Blade Runner” thrown in - and it just worked.

Q: Tell us about your experience with the 48-Hour Film Project?
A: It was a blast to work on something for the pure love of it, but that also comes with deadlines and challenges all its own. I think it’s such a great project to help people get into the game; stop talking and start shooting.

Q: How difficult was putting this elaborate short together in the 48 hour period?
A: It was very challenging, especially with the hand-drawn backgrounds. Because of the time involved to render the effects, our schedule was "best guess" work. After I wrote the script, I counted the number of drawings in which I needed to minimally tell the story, but even that changed as we worked on it. Some scenes had to be totally reworked due to render failure, so we simplified several of the shots. In the end, no one seemed to notice.

Q: How was the film festival circuit experience for you guys?
A: That has been the craziest thing since we didn’t set out to do anything but make ourselves happy with the final piece. Surprisingly, it’s been really well received by fans and we’ve gotten a lot of buzz from this odd little short. Of course, playing at the Cannes Short Film Corner tops it all off as a great experience. I only wish that everyone on the team could have been there.

Q: Has any big-shot producer or director reached out to your team?
A: We have several parties interested in the project, but Spielberg isn’t on the phone just yet.

Q: What's in store for the “Aidan 5” series?
A: I’m really excited because we get to push the envelope with the series and try things we just couldn't do in 48 hours. Mostly, I’m energized about our story. We have 15 episodes written for our first season, and are almost finished with production. It’s a cliffhanger serial plot that we hope will keep viewers on the edge of their seats, guessing right up until the last minute.

Q: What future projects are in store for you and the rest of the “Aidan 5” guys?
A: Well, we currently have our story mapped out for two more seasons of “Aidan 5” and we hope to be able to shoot them. Executive producer Ben Bays and I also have a television series we’ve developed, as well as a few feature films in the works.

Q: OK, you gotta let us know what movies should end up at the bottom of Lake Erie?
A: Really, no movie should go there but if you push me… I recently saw “Ghost Rider”...ouch. I love Eva Mendes what a shame she was in that. I have a great role in “Aidan 5” series for her :)
Ben Bays wants to chuck in “Battlefield Earth” … worst movie of all time…

Q: Who would win a thumb match in Ohio, Aidan 5 or LeBron James?
A: The King - LeBron, of course. Although we would let him win so we could get his DNA and clone him. LeBron 5, now that's an NBA team!

Visit New Columbus at www.aidan5.com. Also, for more information on the 48 Hour Film Project go to www.48hourfilm.com, and www.miamifilmfestival.com for future film programs down in South Florida.



Official website:

Aidan 5


Directed by: John Jackson
Written by: John Jackson, Tim Baldwin
Cast: Bryan Block, Maya Sayre

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

Comments, rants and other stuffs below
JAS on Sat, 10/03/2009 - 1:41pm

Can't wait for the series. Good job on the interview, John!

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