Local filmmakers Jerry and Mike Thompson recently raised a little more than $28,000 via Kickstarter for production on their new feature film, The Popovich Pet Theater and the Voice of the Fabled American West, the follow-up to their 2009 debut feature Thor at the Bus Stop. Here Jerry explains the origins of the project, which is set to star local performer Gregory Popovich, and the duo’s plans for the upcoming movie.
How did you come up with the idea to do a film with Gregory Popovich? He’s been performing at the V Theater for three or four years, and I shot his show, and then he wanted to do this kids’ TV show, so we shot that. We did that, and he and I have kind of become friends. We do all of his promo videos and stuff. We’d been talking about making a movie for a few years, and then we just finally decided to pull the trigger. We’ve kind of gotten to the point where he listens to us. So we’re writing it and kind of helping guide it along.
What’s the plot of the film? [Popovich] is the main character. I don’t want to say it’s based on him, because it’s not even remotely autobiographical, but the character used to be in the circus, and he lives in a junkyard now, and all these animals start showing up, and he takes care of them. A neighbor calls animal control on him, and he decides he’s going to try to turn it into an animal shelter, but he needs money and stuff, so then he starts trying to raise money through a series of little silly adventures.
Are you looking to be able to cross-promote the movie with Popovich’s stage show? Yeah, definitely. Our worst-case scenario is that he’ll just sell copies at the show. Over the course of a few years, he’s made his money back and I think is actually making a profit off of the kids’ show. He sells a few DVDs every day, but that adds up. I actually think family films are a little more marketable than just indie comedies anyway. Even if it just goes straight to DVD, it seems like that’s the kind of thing that people buy straight to DVD. It’s basically horror movies and family movies and porn.
After your experience with Thor, were you more concerned with marketability in choosing your next project? Yeah, that was definitely a factor. We actually had our next feature written already that we’re still going to do next, but it’ll be even harder to sell than Thor was. We don’t completely care about that [stuff], but Gregory wanted to make this, and we were like, “We should probably do this next.” We are excited about it, and we love it, and it is fun, but I actually do think we’ll be able to actually sell it.