Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight - Mando Franco

Mando Franco is a multi-talented man. Not only is he a stand up comic and writer, but he's starting to make his mark on the indie horror scene. He's the creator of Evil Panda Films, the director of the new horror web series 8.13, and he even has a great short film on Facebook called Lunar. Mando was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about these projects.

Q: Could you explain how you got into making short films and a little bit about Evil Panda Films?

A: I'd always been a movie lover, but wasn't too fond of the horror genre for years, because I was
one of those kids that grew up scared of everything. I was an actor before I was anything else, at 16, I was in a creative writing class and had to make a short film. I started getting back into the Horror Genre at that time. I fell in love with the movie making process and felt I may have found my calling. I kept making films and thought I needed a production company and Evil Panda Films was born. You never hear about Panda attacks or them being anything but playful. But I think they are just underestimated.

Q: You have an amazing short on Facebook called "Lunar", could you tell the readers about the production and what went into making it?

A: LUNAR was basically made for fun, but the making of it was soley to have a blast while still making a picture that someone could enjoy. After a stint gone bad with a project, all the fun got sucked out of movie making for me. So I wanted to do something on my own that wouldn't give me any outside interference and have no producer breathing down my neck and no pain in the ass DP telling me what I couldn't shoot. So I wrote the script, grabbed some friends and shot at a buddy's house. I was behind the camera the whole time, got 2 actors, one big house, and a cheesy lookin' mask and monster gloves... Threw it all together and made a cat and mouse, B Monster movie. And it was fun. It was made for fun and shot quickly. It felt like I was in High School making movies again and that's what it was all about for me. Making a flick with my friends and loving what I'm doing. I don't do this for the money, I do it because I love doing it. When money and suits get involved, you have less control and a lot of headaches. I'd rather work with people I loved with pennies than a fat budget and be miserable. It was a tiny lil production just made to show people online. And I wanted to make an entertaining lil popcorn flick, and so far I've gotten the best reviews on that flick than I've gotten on any of my other shorts.

Q: You directed the teaser for the web series 8.13, which looks exciting and fun. What can expect from the series?

A: 8.13 will scare the shit out of you. That's what you can expect... Um, it's pretty much a series
set in Los Angeles, on a particular date, I'll let you guess what it is... And pretty much it is the
dawn of a zombie uprising. When I first signed on, there wasn't really a story, so I helped develop the
story with the shows Producers, Traycee King and Beau Ryan as well as the series writer, Melissa Kay, and we came up with the characters and outline. And I made it clear, as much as I love zombie flicks... If we make this a 'horror' show, it's going to come off as campy, lets go a different direction and make it about survival. This is a survival drama, with zombies. It's very grounded and very much a... what would you do? If this really happened. So the fact that it's a grounded series with a small ensemble of characters makes it more intimate and scary as hell. So, keep an eye out, the show Launches Friday, August 13th.

Q: What are your future plans for Evil Panda Films?

A: Tons! I have a lot in store. I'm pretty much am focusing on the series right now. But in between I'm always writing. I've got a feature that supposed to hit DVD later this year at some point, and I have some screenplays I'm shopping around. But as of right now, it's 813 that is taking up all my time.
I'm thinking of maybe doing a super low low budget supernatural feature at the very end of the year, I think I'm in the place I need to be to do another feature, which will be my 5th, but I don't want to plan
too far ahead with another project. There is a good shot the series may get picked up, so that will take my career a different direction, one I wouldn't mind going. I love the show and would love to do another season, but we'll have to wait and see.

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