Multi-hyphenate Kevin Hamedani is making his mark in a big way with his latest film, Junk. So big, in fact, that it's become the movie film festivals don't want you to see. "This is a film that festivals are kind of scared of," Kevin told BFTV after Junk screened for an almost full house at USC. "We've been having a little uphill battle with film festivals, because it makes fun of film festivals. That's sort of an interesting aspect that I don't think a lot of films have."
But there's really nothing to be afraid of, as Junk is making fun of the festival circuit and the business of filmmaking in that same way you good-naturedly tease your friends. It's a labor of love for Kevin and his collaborator Ramon Isao, who penned the movie together and star opposite each other as (what else?) co-writers of a movie. Their characters, Kaveh and Raul, are former friends reluctantly drawn back together when one of their flicks gets into a festival and draws the attention of an enigmatic producer - and everything from there is an adventure that any film fan can appreciate.
"It's a comedy and it's sort of a love letter to film festivals and B-films. And there's several cameos," explained Kevin, who also directed the movie. His cast includes a BFTV favorite, Brett Davern, who plays Billy. "We've worked with each other a couple times," Kevin said of Brett. He's one of my dearest friends and one of the most talented actors I've ever worked with, easily."
For Kevin, simultaneously taking on the roles of director, co-writer and co-lead, Junk was also a tremendous challenge. "Honestly, I don't recommend it," he said of the multitasking. "I don't think I'd do it again unless I had a bigger budget, because it's very hard to wear all those hats. It was hard. I enjoyed the days where I was just directing the most - when I wasn't in the scene."
Yet at the same time, he also represents what every would-be filmmaker ought to aspire to - the person who doesn't just dream about making a movie, or wait for someone to give them the opportunity, but the one who actually steps forward and makes it happen, no matter what. To hear him tell it, this flick is really the epitome of stripping away all the excuses and just creating a movie.
"We didn't have a lot of money and we were all just sort of, it was a very wonderfully collaborative creative experience," reflected Kevin, whose favorite filmmakers includes John Cassavetes and Akira Kurosawa. "And I think I got away with having a little more faith in collaborating. I think that's a very big part of filmmaking. A lot of my favorite jokes didn't come from me. They came from Brett or Ramon."
Now that he's seen the finished product, what's Kevin's favorite part of the movie? "I'm proud of the whole thing, really, but I think what stands out is the film within a film," he said.
Junk has the chance to really shine a spotlight on Kevin, who also appeared in two episodes of the Crackle original series Chosen this year. He's established himself as someone who can act, write, and direct, and who on top of that versatility clearly has an honest affection for making movies. In a business where there are a lot of people who put themselves too easily into a one-trick box, or who've become jaded about the business, his perspective is a breath of fresh air.
Now is when the tremendous effort of cast and crew will pay off, as the movie is pulling in solid reviews while it awaits further distribution, and from that will hopefully find the audience it deserves. Asked what he wants viewers to take from screening Junk, "It's mainly to be entertained and have a good time, but this movie's about a friendship and the hardships of friendship," Kevin told us. "I'd like people to walk away having some sort of emotional reaction."
Memo to film festivals: that reaction shouldn't be to be scared. It should be to be excited, because here's a flick that reminds us of everything that's great - and hilarious - about making movies.
You can watch the trailer for Junk with this article, visit the film's official Facebook page for more info, and stay tuned for updates on the movie!