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FILM ISSUE


Interview with Ryan Lieske of Collective Studios and director and co-writer of Clean Break.


Skeleton Man


Y


ou have some big news. Yes. Clean Break has been green-lit for a full-length feature film.


How did that happen?


It was in Thriller! Chiller! and we [Lieske and co-screenwriter Jacob de la Rosa] sent it to some other film festivals. Someone who ran another film festival had partnered with some people that had money and said, ‘Look, we’ll give you this money, go pick some films that you want to make.’ Long story short, they liked Clean Break when they saw it and offered to finance the movie.


Clean Break is originally a short film. Was it difficult to expand it into a full-length? Actually, no. We talked about it a lot while making the short. Add a love interest, add a couple subplots, it wasn’t difficult at all.


It’s about a skeleton writer who’s actually a skeleton, right? He strives for purity, and he kind of got stuck in this rut where he wrote a couple of books about a skeleton that got popular á la Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games. That success corrupted him and he kept writing those same kinds of books and he became super famous and women all over the world love him, alcohol started to get to him.


How does he drink? We made up our own rules. You kind of just have to go with it. He goes to the bathroom, he drinks, he vomits, he talks, which is weird because he doesn’t have lungs or a voice box.


What is it about Clean Break that you think will appeal to mass audiences? Well the uniqueness of it at first comes off as a little strange, but I think the story — at least — is universal because I think everyone gets in a rut and wants to be a better person. Life gets in the way, but we continue to strive, and it’s about finding your real self.


How long will it take for the film to be made and released? That I really don’t know. I can tentatively say we’re going for a 2012 release.


INTERVIEW CONDUCTED, CONDENSED AND EDITED BY LINDSAY PATTON-CARSON. PHOTO BY SETH THOMPSON. 30 | REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2011


What would you like to see happen with this film? Oscar nomination for Best Picture. No, I would like to see it get some theatrical dis- tribution. I’d like to make the money back for the investors and I want people to like it, more than anything.


What else are you working on? I just wrote a screenplay for a horror film called Down to Sleep that I’m directing that we’re in the middle of production of right now. I’m also writing a feature script for Dan Falicki. When we went down to Atlanta, he was like, ‘Hey, want to write a fantasy movie for me? I want to call it Dwarf Hammer.’


Why did you pick West Michigan to start up Collective Studios? Because we all live here.


What’s the last great film that you saw? A couple years ago it was this great French film called Martyrs and that one really blew me away. It lures you in with these people being tortured for an hour, and then it has this amazing religious ending where it knocks you on your butt.


What would you like to see in film today? More — um — can I say ‘balls’?


Yeah, you can say ‘balls.’ More balls. I think we’ve gotten to a point where we try to cater to as many sensibilities as possible without offending anyone. We’ve just watered down everything and that’s why every movie we see is rated PG-13. Not every- one should see everything and not everyone should like everything. People should be moved and affected and hurt sometimes by movies.


Anything else you would like to add? I’m single. n


SCHEDULE | DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE


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