Friday, 17 May 2013
Interview with Indie movie director/owner of SRS Cinema Ron Bonk.
Anyone who has heard of indie cinema has heard the name Ron Bonk. The man truly is a legend in the indie horror genre. I was lucky enough to get to ask Ron Bonk a few questions, and what follows is the interview with one of the biggest names in indie cinema.
Tell us, how did you get started in the movie industry?
I grew up making up my own stories and acting them out with friends. I loved movies, I loved the whole movie going experience, the escapism. I went to college for different degrees but near the end of school I made the stark realization that I should have pursued film making... then proceeded to jettison my college degrees to do just that. I couldn't afford to shoot on film but lacked the experience with it, so opted for SVHS after finding out there were filmmakers shooting and releasing their movies on that format.
How important is indie cinema?
Very important! I think Indie cinema often serves as a testing ground for styles, subject matter and topics the Hollywood studios often won't touch right away.
Tell us about your influences and inspirations as a movie director.
When I started my "career", so to speak, I was heavily influenced, and still am, by the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, George Romero and John Carpenter. I like their styles but I also often prefer their stories and social statements, especially in the cases of Romero and Carpenter.
You pretty much got into self distribution right away. How did you do this, and what can you tell us about SRS Cinema?
Well I started with a special interest video on the antique business. I sent it in for a review with "Library Journal" and they gave it a glowing one. After that, orders started pouring in from chains of libraries in various states. After I made "City of the Vampires" I found there were only really like 2 S.O.V distributor's left, and one of them, Tempe, was getting out of the business. Tempe's head honcho, J.R. Bookwalter gave me some advice, and then I ran wild from there and just learned as I went along. I'm still learning. Distribution has been a necessary evil, I'd rather distribute my own flicks than trust another distributor, and distributing makes me money to keep a roof over my head and to keep making movies.
You are an incredibly prolific producer as well as director. How is it working as a producer? Is it a hands on job, or do you let the filmmakers find their own way?
Very hands off. Often I just give the filmmaker a title and synopsis and then run with it. Unless the movie is made in my area I rarely visit the sets. I just wait for updates and wait for the movie to be turned in. I like being a producer... I have a lot of ideas and can't get to them all myself, and often they are pretty crazy ones I likely wouldn't make myself anyway, so it's nice to see them come to life. Many though are the filmmakers ideas from start to finish, and I like helping them get their ideas to screen. I like the list of movies I produced... so many crazy titles!
What are your favourite movies?
My favorite's ever are "Star Wars", "Dawn of the Dead", "Assault on Precinct 13", "Psycho", "Escape from New York", "The Thing" (original), "Martin", "District 9", "Evil Dead" (original) and too many more to list.
What makes someone so successful in the world of Indie cinema?
Hmm, tough question... a lot of talent, a lot of hard work, & a huge stroke of good luck at just the right moment.
There has been a very large increase for the demand of VHS tapes, and you seem to be at the forefront of this, releasing many limited edition VHS tapes for your fans. Do you think this will last?
I think so, look how long Vinyl has been back, and it's still growing in popularity. Displaying these great old covers, and new ones, it's like art, and I think the fans will continue to grow. There's always new fans growing up and into this stuff who will seek VHS out and discover all these great classics flicks, many never released on DVD and more even never making it on any of the more popular VOD channels.
What are you working on at the moment, and what is next for Ron Bonk and SRS Cinema?
I'm editing a short for the "HI-8" anthology project called "Gang Them Style", and it's a nod to Romero and Carpenter flicks. The producers said to make a short inspired by the movie that made you want to be a filmmaker, so I did that, to many movies that inspired me. I'm also editing a 70's style Grindhouse flick called "She Kills". Trailers will be unleashed soon, and the poster got a great reaction when we unleashed it a few months ago! There's another movie I produced and was very hands on with called "Night of Something Strange" that's editing now too (by the filmmaker Jonathan Straiton). I plan to edit "She Kills" over the summer and work on a new script or two. Not sure what I will direct next. In between all that, just releasing more and more VHS and DVD's.
Is there anything you would like to say to all of your many fans out there?
I'm just very grateful for the awesome support. It especially pleases me on behalf of the many filmmakers I work with - they love the excitement and new interest in them and their old movies. I'm glad they are enjoying it as much as they do, and that their fan bases are expanding.
Many thanks to Ron Bonk for the interview!
You can visit the SRS Cinema website by clicking HERE.