This film was made as a labor of love and created with the highest level of respect for the characters, creators, and caretakers. There was absolutely no monetary gain involved or intended.
DC Comics Officially OKs Fan Films
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What was the budget of the film?
Around $2,000. But a lot of that was an investment in equipment that could be used on future projects and not just for this film. With all of that subtracted the movie itself would have come in under $1,000. That’s it. One of the goals here was to show how much you could do with very little. I think sometimes the emphasis gets placed on all the wrong things (the suit, the special fx, etc.) and quite often it seems like the script and performances were an after thought. And hey listen, I don’t think we made a perfect movie. Far from it. I’m just saying that for me personally, I can look past a great number of things if the story and characters are engaging. That’s always been my first priority. You don’t need a top of the line camera. You don’t need CGI. All you need is a story you’re truly passionate about and the drive to see it through. Please don’t ever let a lack of resources discourage you. Filmmaking shouldn’t be some elitist thing. There’s always a way to make it happen. Always.
How long did it take to shoot?
We started filming on September 10th, 2007 and ended on December 23rd. But it wasn’t like we shot continuously for all that time. A lot of us had full-time jobs and other projects happening simultaneously so we just grabbed nights or weekends where we could. In the end it was something like twenty-five days of shooting with about twenty of them being full 8-12 hour days.
How long is the film?
About an hour and ten minutes (separated here into three segments at around 24 min. each). From the get go I knew I wanted it to be longer than most short films but it was never intended to be feature length. There was one draft of the script that was considerably longer. It had a lot of ideas and subplots that were dropped for the sake of brevity. The film was always intended to emulate the feel of a three or four issue story arc in the comics.
Which characters from the comics appear in the film?
Batman, Selina Kyle, Tim Drake, and Rupert Thorne. Candice is from The Animated Series and the rest were created for the movie. Our other villain is also from the comics but is lesser-known, which I found appealing. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out who I’m talking about.
Is this based on one of the stories that appears in one of the volumes of the Black & White comics?
No. While they were definitely an inspiration, this is a completely original story. While the name certainly was chosen to reflect the film’s aesthetic (like the Black & White comics) it’s much more about a running theme that appears throughout the story. The choice to have the movie in that color scheme was just an extension of the theme. However, you should pick up those comics if you’ve never read one! There’s some great stuff in there.
When does this film take place and is it part of any established continuity?
No, it was very important to us to create our own universe while paying homage to the elements we liked from the Burton & Nolan films as well as the comics. It takes place in the further stages of Batman’s career. Tim Drake has retired as Robin and is now independent of Bruce. Their fallout and separation is still recent. Tim’s been a detective for about a year. He’s still at the beginning of trying to stand on his own.
The film gets pretty dark content-wise in certain spots, why did you take that approach?
My favorite Batman stories are the darker, more noir-ish adult ones. The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale, Year One & The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, and more recently The Joker by Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo. That’s the Gotham City I wanted this film to take place in. And those aren’t really kid-friendly. They go to some pretty extreme places and don’t pull any punches. And yes, the film gets pretty murky in some spots. But everything that’s in there is there for a reason.
Frank Miller once said something about Batman working best when he’s in the middle of chaos. When his surroundings are so bad and so extreme that you can believe it calls for a character as extreme as he is. He’s a product of that chaos. He exists because he has to. So right from the beginning I needed to establish what kind of world this was taking place in and just how awful and dirty that world could be. And it sets the tone for the rest of the film. You know within a few minutes that this is going to be a darker approach.
But you know, it’s still a Batman movie. It’s not Reservoir Dogs or anything. One of the themes in the movie is that looking away from bad things doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. The more challenging the mission, the more admirable your hero becomes. The harder it is to clean up Gotham makes Batman that much more compelling.
How did you get the cast and crew to work on something for free given the length and energy required?
I was getting this question before we even started casting or putting a crew together. Everyone asked how that was possible. But I always made clear up front what the situation was… this was a non-profit film so we had to do it with limited resources. And in every single case it didn’t matter to them. There were nights on this shoot where I just couldn’t believe what I’d put some of these poor people through and that they were still standing there with me. I still can’t believe that. Their dedication and their enthusiasm… I don’t know how I could ever possibly repay that.
How can I get a DVD?
That’s off limits. Sorry.
I just flat out love this character. My dad was a fan when he was a kid so the first comics he ever bought me were Batman comics. For years I daydreamed about writing for DC. And then the ’89 movie came out and it was a life changing experience for me. It’s the movie that made me fall in love with movies and really set me down my path to becoming a filmmaker. As I grew up Batman was the only comic book I continually and religiously read. Something about him really resonated with me and I feel as passionate about his mythology now as I did when I was little. Probably more so. To me, there is no greater character in the entire history of comics. Not by a long shot.