Monday, May 27, 2013

A Decade Later, Virginia Filmmaker Finally Gets to Share Drunk Writer Drama

Sometimes, there's no better way to convey the grassroots nature of an indie film production than the name(s) of the establishment(s) where said production is premiering.

Small Fish, Small Pond was largely shot at Hoang's Grill & Sushi Bar in Falls Church, Virginia. So that's where the 85-minute film premiered April 27th. But hold on, there's more. Since the filmmakers also made use of Florida-themed venue Clare and Don's Beach Shack, an encore screening is taking place at that off-Multiplex location tomorrow, May 28th.

Small Fish, Small Pond is the latest effort of Mark Byrne, a local multi-hyphenate who goes by the company name of Absurd Productions Pictures (APP). Brian M. Dean stars as Eagle Thorenten, a Charles Bukowski wannabe whose unpublished novel finds an audience after the author is discovered dead outside of Pal's Bar. The movie seeks to find out more about this mysterious figure by interviewing his wife, agent and various bar hounds.

This was the first screenplay ever written by Byrne, more than a decade ago. As he explains in his company bio, he finally got to it after a typically circuitous path:

Next for APP was a massive undertaking: a feature-length film noir. Byrne wrote a new screenplay and Taste of Desperation was cast, shot and edited over the next six years. Veteran Ed Wood regular Conrad Brooks plays a lead role as the Landlord, and well known pop artist Clark Fox plays a Thug.
The film won 1st Place at the 2010 The Indie Gathering in the Feature Film Drama Crime Category. While an unforgettable joy to create and perform, Taste of Desperation was exhausting and left APP to consider shorter pieces for the immediate future.

Brooks is a fascinating figure, as Byrne went on to highlight in Conrad Brooks Recollects, a bonus feature on the DVD for APP's 2011 42-minute thriller Forbidden Room. After coming to Hollywood in the late 1940s, Brooks hung out on sets, in bars and beyond with the likes of James Stewart, John Wayne, Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood.

Popping up as a co-star in Byrne's latest is Belfast, Northern Ireland native Barry McEvoy. Right around the time that the APP boss was completing that first screenplay, McEvoy wrote and starred in the wacky 2001 Barry Levinson comedy An Everlasting Piece.

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