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The shimmering, invigorating scene that was Gigantic was the brainchild of producer Shirley Moyers and her husband AJ Schnack. Roxanne Bogucka spoke with Schnack after a standing-room-only showing of the movie.

RB: AJ Shh-nak?

AJ: Shh-nock.

RB: –director of Gigantic: A Tale Of Two Johns and also an Emmy award-winning filmmaker. Tell me about this.

AJ: Well actually I did a PSA (public service announcement) a few years ago that won, it won an national Emmy for Best PSA of the Year. But the horrible secret that South By Southwest doesn’t want you to know is, I don’t actually get the Emmy. The advertising agency, the creative agency gets the Emmy. So I have nothing to show for my PSA. But no, it’s cool. But actually my main background is in doing all kinds of production. We have a company that does music videos and have done a lot of different things. I did a short film, and now this.

RB: So tell me a little bit about the origins and history of Bonfire Films of America.

AJ: Well Bonfire Films of America is a company that my wife, Shirly Moyers, and I, started in 1995. So this is our seventh year. And we were primarily a music video company. We did music videos for Blink 182 and 3-11 and Papa Roach and the Fugees and Cypress Hill and Cake and a bunch of other bands and basically in the last couple of years we’ve been trying to do other things. And this, I had done a short film that had done pretty well. And I wanted to do something long-form. And had met a bunch of people who were doing feature-length docs on DV and getting them into theaters, and that was really intriguing to me. So that became more of a idea that I was playing with, and then I had the idea of doing a Giants documentary. And it all then came together pretty quickly.

RB: So you’re talking to people here about getting this picked up for distribution.

AJ: Yeah we have a producer’s rep, a guy named Jeff Dowd who’s sort of a legend in the independent film world. And he’s helping us, you know we’d love to find a distributor to help us get it around the country. There’s Giants fans–I mean they sell out shows all over–they have an incredible fan base. And hopeful it’s something that fans all over the U.S. might... we’ve gotten emails from Australia and England and Europe and people all over want to see the film so hopefully they’ll get a chance. In theaters.

RB: How was Gigantic funded?

AJ: It was funded by the company that Shirly and I have. Because we had some really good years doing music videos and wanted to take that and put it into a project. And so that was how we did it. We just did it ourselves.

RB: So are y’all like stone fans? Were you jumping up and down like, "We’re meeting They Might Be Giants!"

AJ: Well yeah! The first time I met John Flansburgh was like eight years ago. I was definitely nervous. Because it was a band that I really liked. And now, they’re so much friends that it’s not the same level of excitement. Although it’s exciting to do the film. And I’ve become, my fan enthusiasm has sort of been renewed a bit, just by doing the film.

RB: Great film. Thank you very much for bringing it to SXSW.

AJ: Thank you so much for seeing it and talking to us.

 


Mike Doughty



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