Making independent film is a tricky thing, especially when it comes to finding an audience for your film. Producer Michael Goldfine found the solution to this problem by casting three YouTube sensations with a total fanbase of 3.9 million. The result is Camp Takota, the story of Elsie, a woman who has lost everything and goes to work at Camp Takota, a camp she attended as a child.
We had a chance to chat with Goldfine in advance of the film’s screening at TIFF Next Wave on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm. (The screening also includes a Skype chat with all three stars of the film.)
Describe your film in 10 words or less.
Funny, heartwarming, well acted, and ridiculously fun to make!
You went with some relative unknowns for this project, specifically three YouTube sensations. What was the impetus behind that?
From it’s inception I had a story I wanted to tell, and I didn’t think I could get it made the traditional route. After we sat down and thought about it, we came up with a new plan of making and distributing the movie, which included casting stars who may not be known in the film industry yet, but who are incredibly talented and have great fan bases. But, what’s important to note here, is that this whole thing works because Grace, Hannah, and Mamrie, are fantastic actors, as well as incredible writers and executive producers — so smart and so much fun to work with.
One of the most interesting things about this film is the unique distribution model. Why did you decide to go that way with the film?
We felt that we had set ourselves up in a very unique position where we could take the movie directly to the fans and that’s what we’ve done, they’ve been with us the whole time. I think that is going to be one of the things I miss most when this is done, that group [of fans]. They have been a blast, and they are the true force behind Camp Takota.
What was the biggest challenge making this film?
I think it was self-imposed: [it] was timing. We wanted to shoot and have this out to the fans in a very short time period — and we did, by the skin of our teeth, but we made it.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about the film?
That it is a really well acted, heartwarming, funny story. A lot has been talked about the model and the casting, but at the end of the day none of that matters if the story and the actors don’t deliver. And Grace, Hannah, and Mamie are awesome, they will have you laughing, crying, and wanting to head to camp this summer.
What are you working on next?
Got a couple of ideas, but we’re not ready to say anything yet. We had so much fun with Grace, Hannah, Mamrie, and the fans, that we’re not ready for the final campfire just yet.
What are you most excited about seeing/doing this year at TIFF Next Wave?
Well, I love movies, so I’m excited about seeing the other films that are playing, also it’s 80 degrees in LA right now, so I’d say the weather, but I’d be lying.
Camp Takota screens at TIFF Next Wave on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 12:30 pm. Check their website for details and tickets.