The Up-Turn has always been devoted to music and musicians that we think are doing cool things but that doesn’t mean we still don’t like interviewing other cool people who do cool things. Basically what I’m getting at here is that I recently saw an indiegogo video about some fundraising a cool dude named Weston Wiener was doing for his senior thesis to help produce his movie Kelza 55. It looked cool, Psychic Films looked cool and indeed everything turned out to be very cool. Cool. Read the interview after the jump to learn about futuristic motorcycle gangs, druggy ski-bum spies and Weston’s first ever screen name.
PK: when did you start making films?
WW: When I was 11 I got a video camera for my birthday. I discovered how to make stop animation just with in-camera editing by pushing record for just half a second. The first film I made was with Playmobil toys. It was about the 100 years war in Europe in the middle ages. I made a bunch of violent claymation videos too and then of course kung fu movies with my friends. In high school I worked at a film studio called Spyhop in Salt Lake City where I learned how to work on a film set. There, I helped make short narratives, documentaries, and commercials.
PK: hahah that all sounds awesome, are any of those lingering somewhere on the internet?
WW: Oh yeah, tons of them are online. But actually the first ones I haven’t put up yet, I will though.
PK: Did you grow up in a particularly artsy household? Did your parents influence your love of film at all?
WW: Yes, my mom, Kate is an art teacher and my dad, David is a designer who’s work spans from highspeed bicycle design, to fashion design, and even music speaker design. My dad’s love of cars and F-1 racing is a major influence on my current project, Kelza 55. When I was young, my dad showed my brothers and I Speed Racer– a cartoon from the sixties about a young car racer with an incredible car designed and built by his dad. In Kelza, I have a similar character who is based on my dad and I’ve named him David Kelza.
PK: so would you say Kelza 55 is something you’ve been building up to for a while? If I were a cheesier interviewer I might suggest it was the story you were born to tell haha
WW: Actually, it’s a bit newer that most of my ideas for future films. I started working on a story treatment a year ago about gangs in the far future who ride around in sixites formula 1 cars. The whole story would be located in Delhi, India after some post-apocolyptic inncident. Kelza is sort of the scaled down version of that. After I make Kelza, I would lvoe to do a sequal that takes place farther in the future with crazier inventions and such and when I’m able to work with bigger budgets. Kelza 56.
PK: official, you heard it here first, Kelza 56 coming to you in the near future. I would definitely watch that. Was the film Akira any influence for Kelza 55?
WW: Ohhh yesssss, Akira is my third favorite film of all time. Otomo Katsuhiro is also one of my favorite illustrators and designers. I was pretty obsessed with Akira for some time and made capsule patches and sewed them to the backs of some jackets and t-shirts. To me, Akira is one of the most beautiful looking things in the world, the colors and the depth of the world created only by line, color, and sound is beautiful. One day I will make a classically cel animated film that I want to look very much like that of AKira.
PK: I’m sure your list is huge but what are some of your favorite directors.
WW: Some of my favorite directors are: Akira Kurosawa, Peter Bogdonovich, Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Hayao Miyazaki, Spielberg, Guy Ritchie, Sergio Leone of course, Sergio Corbucci too, Alejandro Jodorowsky, John Hughes of course too
PK: I’m sure the list is also incredibly long but what are a few of your favorite movies?
WW: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Paper Moon, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Akira, Star Wars, Breakfast Club, most of Tarantino, Quadrophenia, The Great Silence, Princess Monoke, Midnight Cowboy
PK: you said Akira was your third favorite, does that mean you have a for sure 1st and 2nd?
WW: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is first, Paper Moon is second
PK: most of the movies you’ve listed are pre-2000, how do you think movies and movie culture has been the past few years.
WW: Well, I’m not really into too many modern drama or action movies, but I love tons of newer comedies like the the Superbad gang of guys, I think they took comedy to a newer more relatable type of humor for many people. I loved Wolf of Wall Street, that was probably the best new movie I’ve seen in years.
PK: I also noticed that most of the films you mentioned feature protagonists who are rebels, renegades, out casts or con artists etc. is there any reason you think you may identify with those types of characters?
WW: I guess I love those types of protagonists because they just make for great characters that you can really care about and want to watch. I also love movies about friends or duo’s or teams of friends who have to work together or go through something because great friend team can be one of the most fun things to watch- Ferris Buellers Day Off, Superbad, Weird Science, I’m into it.
PK: you definitely had that dynamic worked out in Blush.
WW: haha yeah man, thats what Blush be all about I guess I like groups of friends as protagonists too because by the end of the film, you kinda feel like you’re their friend too.
PK: yeah I wish I were boys with Jonah Hill and James Franco myself haha
WW: I know man I feel like I’m one, I’m sad I’m not. Actually friendship is probably going to be a theme throughout most of my future work
PK: maybe James can star in Kelza 56
WW: haha hopefully
PK: well enough of the serious questions, if you could live in the universe of any movie or movie series what would it be?
WW: haha mmm, damn hard to pick one but actually
PK: yeah I’m trying to think myself, probably Pokemon 2000 for me so you can’t choose that
WW: it would be Porco Rosso by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s about sea-plane pilots and air pirates who live in the Mediterranean in the twenties. Porco is a bounty hunter who flies a beautiful red plane and lives on a deserted island in a tent. The color palette of the film makes it look like the brightest best world to live in ever and I want to own and fly a seaplane very badly. but yeah poke 2000 is second choice
PK: if you could have lunch with any artist dead or alive who would it be?
WW: With Jiro from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. He is considered the best sushi chef in the world, his restaurant takes I think up to 3 years to get a reservation. He would make the lunch.
PK: dude i just watched that, he is such a bro. who is your celebrity mancrush? Besides Jiro of course though because that goes unsaid.
WW: his son. Actually though Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street, his teeth be pearl
PK: what was your screenname in middle school?
WW: well actually I had an issue with that and our computer could only have 1 account and it was my mom’s. So I had to talk girls having the screen name katewiener77
PK: I’m sure it got you all the girls though
WW: it got one, cutie though
PK: respect. aight any last shout outs you wanna give?
WW: My little brother who’s a small guy but getting bigger every day, Enzo Wiener and I love my girlfriend Helena.
PK: anything else people should know about Weston Wiener?
WW: In the future I will create something that rivals Star Wars and I dig milk.