Kevin and the extraordinary life of Rocky
Rocky grows up surrounded by death: everyone around him dies in a freak accident and each time he is at the center of it all. A modern tale about a lot of bad luck and a tiny bit of bliss.
The extraordinary life or Rocky is the most recent work of Belgian filmmaker Kevin Meul.
Meul gaduated from Sint-Lukas Filmschool in Brussels in 2003. Since he has been active in the film industry mainly as a write and/or director of short films, music videos and commercials.
Alexander: After your premier at In the Palace 9th International Short Film Festival in Balchik ( Bulgaria) a lot is coming up for Rocky. For those who don’t know you yet, who is Kevin Meul and what is he working on?
Kevin: My name is Kevin Meul, writer/director based in Belgium. Since I graduated film school seven years ago, I mainly focus on directing music videos and commercials, you can check out a fine selection on my website www.themkr.com. All of these projects are the perfect practice, and they serve only one goal: to create my own feature film one day. But one step at a time so now I concentrate on short films. ‘The extraordinary life of Rocky’ is my debut, it’s a black comedy, a modern fairytale about a boy, Rocky, that seems to be born on the wrong side of luck. The film is released in december 2010. In the near future I’m planning to shoot another short film, and off course, my feature film, of which I currently develop the script in Binger writers lab in Amsterdam.
A: Where does the inspiration for your short come from? What inspires you? In the process of making a short film, what are the most important things you should consider?
K: As every script I like, or every book I love, I feel like a writer should tell something very personal. Even though my film is a comedy, and the setting is a bit ‘larger than life’, I certainly specify on a very personal subject. No, it’s not an autobiography, Rocky is more like an alter-ego. Because I experienced good friends and family dying way to early, I needed to put those sad and helpless feelings into a story. Maybe it’s my way to deal with the sometimes cruel reality: making fun out of it, trying to find a positive vibe even when the misery seems huge and overwhelming. But off course, finding the subject is one part of scriptwriting, I still had to create a main character who could tell my story. So one day during research, using the internet, suddenly I felt attracted to this one weird photo, a random family picture (I found it on one of my favourite sites awkwardfamilyphotos.com). On this picture everyone posed with a big smile, the perfect family, except for one boy: he looked sad and angry, and this is the moment my idea became concrete. This boy turned into my main character, my ‘Rocky’.
A: Was it hard to produce your film? what was the most challenging aspect of the whole process?
K: I can’t descibe how hard and difficult it was to produce this film. It took me several years of fighting, struggling and suffering. My film tells the story of someone who attracts bad luck, sometimes I felt the project itself was a magnet for misery. Luckely I was very stuborn, I knew I had something original and meaningful to tell, so I coped with all of the practical problems. This story needed many actors, locations, styling, art decoration etc… in other words it was a very expensive project, and producers are not very willing to take any finacial risks these days –understandable, but this didn’t help my case. In fact, if I wouldn’t have found Visualantics and Steven Dhoedt, who were crazy enough to produce my film, I’m not sure if Rocky would excist today. I can’t be grateful enough for this, and I advise future filmmakers to never give up, fight for what you believe in, work your butt off and good things will happen one day.
A: The good, the bad and the ugly of making your own films? What is your experience in the festival circuit?some secrets you would like to share?
K: Since ‘Rocky’ is my debut short I’m not very experienced, but even though my filmfestival history is rather modest, I can only be totally enthusiastic about it! My film won 2 awards in Belgium, and now we’re starting an international carreer with great suxes: screenings in USA, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany and many more. Mainly I choose to go to the festivals to have fun, I guess it’s the closest a filmmaker will get to being a rockstar: people pick you up from the airport, pay your costs, hotel, food, drinks, organise parties… In other words it’s major fun. Meeting directors, producers, writers… excites and inspires me. And off course, while having such a great time, networking is easy: you’ll meet amazing people that will be very useful in your future carreer. I would advice filmmakers to go to as many festivals as possible, that way we’ll meet eachother for sure one day!
By the way, if anyone is interested in following Rocky on facebook, with daily updates about festivals, awards etc… you can find him if you look for ‘Rocky De Vlaeminck’.
Add Rocky as your friend because he’s very lonely!