Director of ‘Wiglum’ loves filmmaking in the Bay

Wiglum/Courtesy

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It’s easy to grow blind to the beauty all around us. It happens quickly and quietly, without so much as two week’s notice, as the glorious cosmos slip through the cracks of our very fingers. “Wiglum,” a production created by UC Berkeley alumni and students, addresses just that. The short film touches on the prospect of finding true connection in a world of the vapid and mundane.

Showing promise with its fast-paced, comedic style, the film’s trailer has seen great success in its Kickstarter campaign and its makers hope to continue to raise funds for post-production.

The Daily Californian sat down with filmmaker and director Kouros Alaghband to learn more about his manic black comedy creation and its swelling success.

The Daily Californian: What was the inspiration behind the film’s original screenplay? How did it start?

Kouros Alaghband: I was originally writing at Caffe Strada. I started off with two characters at a conference table. One [Wiglum] is interviewing applicants and it’s all very absurd, since he knows the applicants are all blatantly lying to him. Then he suddenly asks one [applicant] in particular, “Why are you here?,” and it all began from there.

DC: So what would you say the theme of the story is? Being tired of everyday life?

KA: Well, Wiglum is locked in this human tunnel vision that we all have. There’s all this connection around him, but he can’t see it until it takes him by surprise. So, yeah, the movie’s about breaking that barrier of human blindness in those fleeting moments.

DC: How did you get such big names to be a part of the film?

KA: Since our script was a character piece, it was easy to find people that wanted to play the role. Most movies don’t usually allow an actor to delve into the internals of a character. So I faked SAG, the Screen Actor’s Guild, and got in touch with talent agencies until reaching Barry Del Sherman. After seeing him do a video, we just knew that he was Wiglum.

DC: Let’s talk about UC Berkeley’s role in the movie a little. Where did you guys film?

KA: If we were shooting this movie in LA, it would be four times the price. People here are so willing to help. They’re like, “You’re shooting a movie? Oh, I want to be a part of that.” We shot on UC Berkeley campus, Oakland and Sonoma county.

DC: How do you feel the Bay Area compares then, in terms of art?

KA: I mean that’s why I’m here and not LA. First of all, it’s way too saturated down there. But also, here, the people are so much more open and the culture is so rich that it fuses into the writing. There’s something in the air in Berkeley. There are just thoughts everywhere. It just inspires the writing to come out.

DC: I heard there are many UC Berkeley students working on set. How did that come together?

KA: I pulled together a group of students through a film cinematography DeCal. They have tons of opportunities to work, as they take on almost all of the jobs that haven’t been filled by bigger directors.

DC: Tell us a little about your own time at UC Berkeley. How did you go from studying architecture to filmmaking?

KA: I graduated from Berkeley as an architecture major but knew I wanted to make films. I wanted to incorporate the aspect of spatial importance into films, since so much of them are about how the characters are connected with their spaces.

DC: That’s an interesting way to interconnect the two fields. What’s the post-graduate filmmaker life been like?

KA: Life is really hectic right now. I’m making this film to show to producers that might want to make a feature film. Right now I’m talking to Lionsgate Films, since they saw the trailer and are considering buying the rights to the movie. It’s all of a sudden the reality of getting on the business side of film as well.

DC: Wow, that’s really exciting. Do you hope to turn your works into bigger feature-length films?

KA: I try to put together bigger filmmakers, like Wes Anderson, and smaller more obscure ones, like Bela Tarr, and create something different. I like movies that entertain me while having an artistic side. For me, at the end of the day, you just want to enjoy watching this.

 

Contact Eda Yu at [email protected].