FOODIE is the twisted brain child of Aaron Rudelson who wrote, directed, acted in and edited the film. It is a joint endeavor of Savant Films and Topiary Productions and was shot on a RED ONE and an EPIC camera in Brooklyn and Montclair, NJ. Shooting took a total of three days spread out over the course of three months.
I’m not a morbid person by nature, but I have always been drawn to dark subject matter as fodder for comedy. The more uncomfortable the premise, the better. I’ve asked myself why such a mild-mannered, pleasant person as myself would find such comedic value in horribly unpleasant situations and the answer I came up with (perhaps to convince myself that I didn’t need to hire an expensive psychotherapist) was that there is an innate human need to overcome fear. What better way to conquer anxiety than to face it in the safe environment of a movie theater? For those like myself, it’s about putting the darkest elements of our own fears into a context so absurd that what was once horrifying (or in the case of FOODIE, stomach-churning) now becomes hilarious. For me, that’s a form of catharsis. To others, it’s a mental illness. One of us is correct.
In any case, the premise of FOODIE is so absurd and so ridiculous, that in order to get the audience to invest in such silliness, I had to present the situation in such a way as to draw the viewer into the story and make it as convincing as possible. The more real the story was treated, the funnier it would become. The risk in this approach was that I might lose some audience in the slower build up in the beginning. For me, though, it was worth it, because for the audience that sticks with it, the payoff is much greater than if I had simply cut to the gag straight away.
• Due to re-shoots separated by six weeks, you can see hair-styles change from shot to shot in the night kitchen scene and the final dinner scene.
• “Tngri” is the word for deity in Mongolian shamanism. In FOODIE, it is intentionally used incorrectly to refer to a Mongolian shaman.
• The Tngri in FOODIE is intended to be a western cultist attracted to shamanism by the phenomenon of Krotchfeld Lubitsch Syndrome and not an authentic Mongolian.
• The web search undertaken by Scott was created using Dreamweaver, taking health-related web search results, saving those pages to a hard drive and then re-writing their headlines, and replacing names, text and graphics.
• There is no such thing as Krotchfeld Lubitsch Syndrome.
• Gail, the wife of character Dave (Aaron Rudelson), is played by Aaron’s wife Rebecca. The part of Scott’s wife is played by actor Robert Guerra’s real wife Katharine Garrison. Their two children Maxine and Liam indeed play their two children.
• SPOILER ALERT: The story was conceived while filmmaker Aaron Rudelson was editing a project for another production. There was a scene in the film in which an actress was eating some ramen noodles. Searching for a cut point, Aaron played the
footage backwards and forwards and watched the noodles move in and out of her
mouth as if she were regurgitating a perfectly prepared meal. It occurred to Aaron
that since this was a visually very amusing effect that would cost nothing to
replicate, there must be a way to spin it into a larger narrative. Thus a story about a
guy afflicted with a syndrome that causes him to produce cooked food orally
• The pasta sound effects were actually sounds from squishing an overripe peach.
• Applying to film festivals cost more than making the film.
From script to post-production, FOODIE was a virtual clinic in no-budget filmmaking. The script was crafted to require only two locations (plus a stolen MOS subway shot). The daily lives of the characters were based on those of the actors who would play them. This meant that the homes of the actors could be used as locations with no art direction required.
The project began with the benefit of producers who already owned camera, lighting (Topiary) and post-production facilities (Savant). However, in order to cut down on labor costs, the producers used a common trick in independent filmmaking – they begged for favors from friends and friends of friends.
Favors are great but relying on them creates another problem: scheduling. When everybody is earning a living somewhere else, it’s tough to lock people down for a freebee. So the producers spread filming dates over the course of a few months to avoid as many conflicts as possible. Then they overlapped roles wherever
possible. Assistant camera people recorded sound, actors miked themselves, kept track of their own wardrobe, managed props and everybody moved equipment around. Filmmaking is a collaborative art form. Unfortunately, the more collaboration, the more scheduling obstacles. So the key to making FOODIE happen was to keep the cast and crew as small as possible. There are definitely drawbacks to this approach but, in a large part, this strategy is the reason FOODIE exists today.