Interview with Filmmaker Lucas Longacre (FOOD CART)

FOOD CART played to rave reviews at the Thriller Festival in March 2020.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lucas Longacre: After working in verite documentary for over a decade, I was hungry to play in the scripted narrative genre. I missed working with actors, storyboarding, and collaborating with a Director of Photography more talented than me. So much of documentary filmmaking is capturing the moment and then constructing and deconstructing in post. I wanted to be more deliberate and precise through the entire process.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

About 7 months. Principle photography took 10, 1/2 days of mostly night shoots. Editing was around 4 months. Sound mixing and color was a month. We took extra time in editing because we had three versions of the film: a 26 minute, 18.30, and 15.30 – after comments from the Feedback Thriller Fest to shorten the run time (thank you very much for the suggestion).

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Capitalism bites

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Pickup shots. Because of our skeleton crew and fast production schedule, I opted to do pickup shots in the months during editing as we needed them. The effort to produce a few cutaway shots was herculean compared to the principle photography. I have to give a lot of gratitude to my DP Sean Conley who gritted his way through the ordeal. Of course he did insist on shooting every frame of the film.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Pleasantly surprised. I am always worried that we may have been too subtle in expressing our themes or botched a storypoint. I was pleased to hear that the audience resonated with our themes and characters. I am really proud of the ensemble cast that we assembled – especially since we did all of the casting ourselves – and many of the comments highlighted their work which is awesome. I will be sharing the feedback video with them to say “thank you for your hard work”.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

My co-writing and co-producing partner Damian Magista never had made a film before, but we share a love for weird, twisted horror films and obscure Italian giallo movies. Damian comes from the food and marketing world. We met because the food/adventure show my wife and I created The Original Fare did a story on Damian and his former company Bee Local. Damian had the idea to do a short film called Food Cart Cannibal that was a Giallo slasher comedy. I liked the concept but wasn’t interested in directing that genre of film. Then Damian saw Nightcrawler (directed by Dan Gilroy) and his entire approach changed. I loved the new approach and told him if he brought pizza and beer to my place, I would knock out a screenplay for him. We had the first draft completed within the week and started preproduciton not long after. I was also searching for a project to work on with my Director of Photography Sean Conley. He is such an underutilized talent in Portland, Oregon and I knew I had to get him before he blew up. Good thing because he is already getting booked constantly. I hope Food Cart helped make that happen for him.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Big Trouble In Little China. I am a huge John Carpenter fan and when i discovered it as a kid, it became my comfort watch.You know what Jack Burton always says at a time like this?

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is by far the simplest and most rewarding platform. It’s easy to track submission status and to communicate with the festival directors. I don’t regret getting a membership.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I don’t know about songs but I travel constantly for work and I always find myself listening to Rolling Stones on long plain rides. Sticky Fingers, Let It Bleed and Exile on Main Street are in constant rotation. I didn’t even like the Stones when I was younger but it just hits the right mood when I am flying to a new country or city.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I was in preproduction on my next short Terms Of Service about a black market App when the Corona Virus hit. We had finished the short screenplay, casted the lead role and were trying to schedule test shoots. Of course everything is cancelled for now. But I am not idly sitting around. My writing partner Nick Berg and I are expanding the short into a feature and want to have that completed in the next month. I am planning on having Terms of Service take place in the same universe as Food Cart so I can combine them into a short horror anthology set in Portland and also have it as a stand alone feature. I think it would be interesting to use anthologies that can be expanded into bigger projects.

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