“Animal House of Blues”: has been announced today as an Official Selection of the Eugene International Film Festival October 18th- 21st, 2012. Directed by Jay Richardson, class of 2012; with the help of fellow graduating filmmakers.
Subtitled “How an Oregon Community Helped Create a Hollywood Blockbuster (or Two) On a ‘B’ Drive-In Movie Budget”; this next generation of young Oregon filmmakers, formerly from the University of Oregon, stepped up and optioned, filmed and edited Katherine Wilson’s documentary screenplay, as well as licensed her Oregon Film Factory Movie Museum images and artifacts. Katherine was alternately a stunt-woman, location scout and casting director for the film in 1977.
A refreshingly new angle to the many documentaries on ‘Animal House’; this film celebrates the Oregon-based contributions to the film, including those of the poetic cinema filmmakers of the late 60’s and early 70’s of Eugene, Oregon, who saved the film from being scrapped.
It captures the history of the early days of the emerging Oregon film production crew, such as the Far West Action Picture Service, and it’s successor, the Oregon Film Factory; who one fateful day got an 11th hour call from a UPM, urgently looking for a home for the low budget film “Animal House” within a 48 hour window, after being turned down by a dozen Ivy League schools back East.
The film also celebrates the Ken Kesey connection, as some of these Oregon filmmakers were Merry Pranksters using Ken Kesey’s 16mm camera, and who dropped everything and shot 26 locations in a matter of hours, sending the footage counter to counter on United airlines. The original Animal House, the original Writer of the story (and co-writer of the screenplay) as well as the star John Belushi, also have ironic connections to Kesey and the Prankster Filmmakers.
It is also the story of Belushi’s love for Eugene, and how one night at the Eugene Hotel, after filming the Toga Party Sequence with (unknown-at-the-time) Blues Legend Robert Cray, (one of the Otis Day and the Knights) Belushi became a fan of Robert Cray’s Harp player Curtis Salgado, and the “Blues Brothers’ was born.
The film also touches on the relationships that exist to this day between the Hollywood and Eugene filmmakers, who all call “Animal House’ their ‘Alma Mater’.
The planned sequel will explore these relationships in depth, as well as the community’s ongoing celebrations of the film decades later. For example, for the 25th Anniversary of the film, the community of Cottage Grove hosted 5,000 fans from all over the world to an “Animal House” Parade, replete with marching bands and restorations of the Deathmobile and Playboy Bunny Float. That night, over 2000 fans donned Togas to rock out to Otis Day and the Knights, and the Kingsmen of ‘Louie Louie’ fame, creating the Guinness Book of World Record’s largest Toga Party. Stay tuned for more about “Animal House of Blues,” and the Sequel.