Eric Tate stars as a desperate director in Lights, Camera, Bullshit
Director Chad Allen Barton, one of the founders of Memphis production company Piano Man Pictures, won Best Hometowner Feature at the 2014 Indie Memphis Film Festival with his full-length debut Lights, Camera, Bullshit. The film stars Eric Tate, the lead actor from Craig Brewer's 2000 debut The Poor and Hungry, as Gerald Evans, a filmmaker returning to the Bluff City after an unhappy sojourn in Hollywood.
At first, he is idealistic, going to heroic lengths to make the artistically interesting independent film he was prevented from making by the industry. But life always forces compromises, and he is forced to make a devil's bargain with shady producer Don (veteran actor Ron Gephart) to make, in Don's words, "dog shit."
Gerald plays straight man as his world gets more and more surreal. He gets in trouble with the mob — and caught in a gang war between two groups of very unconvincing presidential impersonators. Then, his girlfriend becomes pregnant.
Lights, Camera, Bullshit is a gonzo comedy with some dramatic overtones, influenced by the work of Spike Jones and Charlie Kauffman. The cast features some of the best Memphis actors of the last decade's indie movement: Markus Seaberry, Don Meyers, the Memphis Flyer's own Jon W. Sparks, Dorv Armour, Brandon Sams, McTyere Parker, and, in his final role, Tate's co-star in The Poor and Hungry, the late John Still as a terrorist disguised as president William Henry Harrison. The narrator is Michael Horse, the actor who became famous as Deputy Hawk Hill in Twin Peaks.
"Many of the events in the film happened to us while we were actually trying to make the film, albeit not as exaggerated and cartoonish," says Barton. "We had to film in back alleys and behind abandoned buildings in order to have locations that required no money, and at times using our film slate to show the cops we weren't trying to break in anywhere, just film a movie."
Lights, Camera, Bullshit makes its streaming debut on Amazon Prime Video this week. Piano Man Pictures will celebrate with a watch party tonight, (Thursday, July 9th) featuring the stars and crew of the film. To watch along, you can go to the Piano Man Pictures website tonight at 7:30 p.m. CDT.