Just Getting It Out There: An Interview with Filmmaker David Markey

Published on March 30th, 2008 in: Interviews, Issues, Movies, Underground/Cult |

Popshifter: Do you think the mainstreaming of underground culture, especially punk, reduces its relevance?

Dave Markey: I look at it this way: it’s 2008 now and we’re still asking this question. That was in 1977 and 1978 and something like that still resonates. That says enough for me, that something like that is still being looked at and referred to. In fact, now with more fervor than ever before, because back in the 80s this was not available information. If you were fans of it, and the people who were fans of my films, they got them through their friends who made copies, and then they made copies for their friends, etc. And eventually you get thousands of films distributed that way.

heavy metal parking lot
Cover of bootleg VHS
Image from the
Heavy Metal Parking Lot

The same thing happened with Heavy Metal Parking Lot in the States, and it sort of happened with the Lovedolls films. It just grew; people just saw it and became your A&R man. That’s how I’ve always discovered things: through culture and friends, and bands leading to other bands. I think it’s really important that everyone has their own adventure. It doesn’t have to be the same adventure; it’s not some rule that’s being written by somebody. But unfortunately I think a lot of people don’t have the time to be non-conformist. Or they just don’t have the information. But there is a real revolution, and it’s in art.

It has to do with advertising, getting your product out there. It all costs a lot of money. I have a feeling I’m going to go really deep into that side of the business with this film, and it will be interesting to see what happens. I couldn’t have handled something like this when I was in my twenties. I think I’ve grown up a lot, become less cynical, less sarcastic. I don’t think I could have done this movie twenty years ago. But it reminds me a lot of the films I used to do. There is a direct correlation between the Lovedolls films and The Reinactors, as there is between the movies I did when I was about eleven—so there is a continuum there as well.

Popshifter: There is a lot of writing about you by fans, do you ever go out to encounter that?

Dave Markey: I talk to people online if they email me. Also, as far as promotion is concerned, I am working outside the mainstream media, and so it’s all going to go through the Internet. Until whatever reality shift happens in order to get me there, anyway. But I’m always happy with the way things work out, I’m always happy to be able to fly out and be somewhere like this festival, and show my film to people, and see the response.

Just the response to this film has been great; it’s the greatest response I’ve ever had in my life. Immediate response. I always thought this film would take a while to really build; it’s very much against culture. These days in the film industry it’s always about your opening weekend, and how many millions you make the first week. And with me it’s always been word of mouth. With the Internet videos it’s up to the people, and it’s fascinating to me that certain things just resonate with people, and it’s not up to the controlling culture, but to people’s interests.

Popshifter: There is a certain level of control through online censorship, but it seems more to do with issues of obscenity than politics.

Dave Markey: You realize the politics afterwards. I didn’t even notice the political content of this film until after making it, when I stepped back and looked at it. These characters are getting arrested because they were thought to be terrorists, and it’s ridiculous to think that they could be dangerous. The American media have always been guilty of just sensationalizing journalism. But now it’s just exaggerated. You would think from the media that nothing real is going on at all. You don’t get any news about the war; you don’t get any news. It’s just “Britney Spears had a nervous breakdown we’re going to show you twenty hours of it” or the characters getting arrested on Hollywood Boulevard.

hollywood blvd freddy
Gerard Christian Zacher as
Hollywood Blvd. Freddy
Photo © Dave Markey

The story about the Freddy Krueger impersonator supposedly stabbing someone was the lead news story [in May 2006] . Meanwhile, the economy is dying, there is no middle class in the country anymore, and we’re in a recession. We’re close to depression at this point, why not just admit it? At some point it’s going to blow out, and I don’t want to be there. I hope I’ll just be at a festival somewhere, away from it.

By now it’s like “Hotel California”: You can check out any time you want but you can never leave. We used that song at the end of the film, and those words for that song are so true. I do have a similar feeling about where I live in L.A. Obviously I’ve lived there my whole life and been involved in bands and films, and stuff like that, and never had to do anything I didn’t want to do. I had opportunities, especially after The Year Punk Broke, and all these big bands were approaching me, bands I had no interest in at all. I work with people because I want to work with them, I seek them out and ask them. Whether it’s a music video or a film, it all came from my interest in these bands. It wasn’t like I was an artist and had a company marketing me, being an agent for me. Every time I’ve come close to having that happen, it’s just not my place, and I avoided it.

As of this publication date, The Reinactors will be screened at the following eight festivals:

Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival: April 8 2008, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Indie Lisboa Film Festival: April 24 2008; Lisbon, Portugal

Docville: May 16 2008; Leuven, Belgium

FIDMarseille: July 7 2008; Marseilles, France

Torún Film Festival TOFIFEST: July 11 2008,; Torún City, Poland

International Bunker Film Festival: July 14 2008; Ventigmiglia, Italy

Milano Film Festival: September 14 2008; Milano, Italy

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma: October 8 2008; Montreal, Canada

Check out The Reinactors MySpace page for the most up-to-date information on screenings near you.

Additional Resources:

We Got Power Films website


Bedknobs and Broomsticks and That’s Not All: Lovedolls Superstar (Fully Realized) DVD, Popshifter November/December 2007 issue

Click to read more from Dave Markey on. . .

Romanticizing the past
The tragic world of The Reinactors
Mainstreaming and revolution in art

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