Shooting Flames with 'Tex Montana' Film Director Christian Stella: Survival Kits, Hurricanes and Piracy
A man enters the wilderness alone and plans to stay there for 30 days but soon faces the reality that he highly overestimated his survival skills. It's the gist of the plot for Tex Montana Will Survive, a forthcoming comedy film being released digitally in March 2016, after several hundred supporters (including myself) basically bought the worldwide rights to the movie.
Orchestrated by O. Hannah Films through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, this five-figure deal makes way for a future of independent film distribution where audiences can watch a movie without encountering territory restrictions nor the slow pace with which the entertainment industry moves when making titles available. It also looks to a future where visual media artists can be rightfully compensated for their work.
Having never heard of the filmmakers behind this movie until last weekend, I challenged Christian Stella - Co-Director and Cinematographer for Tex Montana Will Survive - to address some real-life disaster scenarios.
Stella also works as a food photographer, authors cookbooks and is behind a computer every other day, piecing together what he shot. Thus, he doesn't get out much and considers himself to be least likely to survive anything. Thankfully, he was still up for taking a stab at the following questions.
Madlab Post: You were just evacutated following a major collapse and are only allowed to save two things and one movie. What would you keep?
Christian Stella: First, I'm pretty sure I have to save my wife. For the second thing, I should probably save ONE of my two cats. Now that's a tough call, because one cat is very old, but the younger cat is a jerk...So I think I've gotta save the older cat, Sedna. I know that's a cheat because the question is most likely asking for inanimate objects. In that case, my camera and computer are the obvious ones. The movie would most definitely be PT Anderson's Magnolia. I have a Magnolia tattoo even.
MP: What disaster do you fear most?
CS: I'm fearing tornadoes right now. I've grown up with hurricanes in Florida my whole life, but those are so slow and come with so much warning. It's a little more rural where I am in FL right now and the wind gets crazy. I'm always listening for tornadoes now.
MP: What lifesaving skills do you have?
CS: I can cook. That's a good survival skill, I suppose, but I'm not saving anyone's life. It would be best if everyone on the island just let me explain how to cook me before they ate me. That would be as useful as I could get.
MP: Name a large-scale disaster that had a major impact on your views about humanity.
CS: I lived right outside Miami during Hurricane Andrew. That had a huge impact on my life because it destroyed a mall that my family owned a store in.
CS: As long as it happens after this Kickstarter, I'd be fine. It's funny...This kind of thing freaks me out a lot because of the work on my hard drives. With piracy now, you've got to be so protective of your movie before release. But because of being so protective, if I lost my hard drives before the final release, we could lose years of work. There are versions online, but they are lower quality.
MP: Can you swim well enough to save someone else from drowning?
CS: I can swim well enough to save myself, but like a fully dead-weight unconscious person? They're doomed.
MP: What items would be in your 3-week survival kit?
CS: One of my rules while making this movie was that I wouldn't think too long and hard about actually trying to survive... Because Tex Montana is entirely impractical and completely inept... I didn't want to accidentally influence the movie by knowing any actual skills or thinking logically in any way. If I had to spend 3 weeks in the same 9 degrees we filmed in, I'd want to pack a flare gun and a GUN gun... Just in case no one responds to the flares.
Much thanks to filmmaker Christian Stella for taking the time to brief me on how he responds in the face of disaster!
How well can YOU cook?
Are YOU looking forward to watching 'Tex Montana Will Survive?' when the film is released?
There's still a few hours left to grab some of the merchandise that will ONLY be available until the O. Hannah Films' Tex Montana Will Survive campaign ends. This merchandise includes one of 400 limited edition DVD/Blu-Ray combo packages -- hand numbered and signed by both directors -- as well as Tex's Fat Survival Sacks, filled with surprise props used in the film and other random goodies.