Interview with Filmmaker Zach Brewster-Geisz (T’AI CHI MAN!)

T’AI CHI MAN!, 3min,. USA
Directed by Zach Brewster-Geisz
A robbery is foiled by a uniquely incompetent superhero.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My wife used to take T’ai Chi, and she told me about a crack someone had made about how they were “learning to beat people up really slowly.” That stuck with me, and the idea came pretty quickly after that. As for motivation, I’m always up to make people laugh.

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

The idea came at least five years before the actual shooting. At the time, I was mostly doing animated films, so I tried to do T’ai Chi Man as a cartoon, but I couldn’t make it work. I wasn’t until I went to an acting conservatory and met a whole bunch of great actors that I thought maybe I could do it live-action. Once that happened, the actual shooting and post-production occurred very quickly—probably only a month or two.

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

YIN and YANG, of course!

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

Our shooting location was right under the flight path for an airport, and waiting for the planes to pass EVERY DAMN TIME…

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

Initial reaction? “Oh, my God, this feedback video is twice as long as my film!” More seriously, I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the audience reactions, and gratified that they enjoyed it.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

My father bought us a camcorder when I was in middle school, and I was hooked almost instantly, making silly sci-fi epics with my friends and little stop-motion shorts with my toys.

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

Alien, by Ridley Scott.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I’d travel all over the place to festivals if it were affordable, so maybe travel stipends? I know that’s a lot to ask, but being in-person is such a key thing, both for audience feedback and networking.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Very good! FilmFreeway’s discovery options have led me to many festivals I had never heard of before.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I’m pretty basic—give me a good pepperoni pizza any time.

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

Yes! My writing partner and I are going to shoot a short film called “Strange Names” in May. It’s—gasp!—a drama.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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