Born and raised in New Jersey, Joe Bandelli received his Bachelor’s Degree from The College of New Jersey. Although his first few years after school had him working in the field of finance for companies like Merrill Lynch and Blackrock, he eventually made his way to New York City to pursue a filmmaking career. Focusing his talents behind the camera, Bandelli has written, produced, and directed sketches, commercials, and films for a variety of companies. He got his start writing film and television reviews for Wildsound Filmmaking Online, directing sketch comedy for the sports parody website PM Sports, and working as a Teacher’s Assistant and Equipment Room Technician at the New York Film Academy. Through the New York Film Academy he was able to travel to Africa, where he assisted in opening a successful film program in Nigeria. Since returning from Nigeria, Bandelli has been a major influence working for the sketch comedy group, The Shorts Show, where he writes, directs, and produces. Using his experience from that as well as his past finance experience, Bandelli has been successful at putting together many projects, overseeing things from start to finish. Bandelli’s resume includes directing the short comedy, The Re-Gift, where he was able to collaborate with producer Debbie DeLisi, who is known for running the casting departments in films by the Coen Brothers and the late, Robert Altman. Other projects include the pilot, Getting Wet, the short film, Strussel Games, and the short film version of Jimmy Time (which he has written a feature about as well). On all of these projects, Joe not only wrote and directed, but he also produced. Recently, Bandelli has written another feature film for the horror genre, and co-created and co-starred with his long time writing partner, Matthew Wise, in the zombie apocalypse web series, Bumbloods.
Your film ‘BumBloods’ is a humorous take on the zombie genre. Would you say that you are more of a horror fan or comedy fan?
Without a doubt I am more of a comedy fan, because I love to laugh and I love making people laugh… or trying to make people laugh. That being said though, I think I should explain that I absolutely love horror films because I think they are funny. If you break down a horror film and think about the elements that goes into a horror story, it’s hard not to laugh… and you laugh even more so when you’re making a horror film because that giant serial killer in a white mask with the kitchen knife is standing behind the door and everyone on set knows it and it’s not very scary until you add in a score and dice it up in the editing room.
Can you tell us the protocol behind some of the gore effects in the film? Any gore tips you can offer the low budget filmmaker?
The protocol behind the effects in Bumbloods are, there is no protocol. My co-creator Matthew Wise and I sit around and come up with gross, gory, and funny stuff while we are writing. Then we simply sit back and try to figure out how to pull these effects off, or communicate with other people like our special effects coordinators Lexan Rosser and Brad Bailey, to see what is capable of being done on a budget. For example, an effect that we intended to use in the series but it will have to wait until a later time is a pregnant female zombie, who has eaten half of her unborn child, while the other half dangles from her umbilical cord… I know, sexy stuff right? But, it doesn’t always work out. The one piece of advice that I would have for filmmakers is don’t be afraid to get dirty. Lexan Rosser and I sat around for 6 hours or so rigging fake necks and liquid latex to my throat, while Brad Bailey was pumping fake blood all over me in order to see if we can pull of the throat tear effect in the opening sequence of Bumbloods. You can be the judge on that one.
The film is part of a 4 part web series; what made you decide to produce the idea as part of a web series? How do you feel this platform aids in your films vision in relation to a more traditional route? How can audiences watch the entire web series?
Originally, Bumbloods was written as 9-five minute web episodes. Unfortunately, as every filmmaker knows or will come to know, sometimes money isn’t there when you need it. After dealing with some issues, we decided making it a four part mini-web series would be the best way to go because we really wanted to do an episodic, and we had a few jokes that we thought we could come back to and escalate during the series. Deciding not to do a short film was simple: it was either raise the money for a feature film, or make the content extremely short to support the attention span of the people of my generation. We decided on the latter (but for investors out there, we do have a horror feature written and ready to go into production). This short web format supports the original vision because it is intended to take something very serious and play with it a bit. If we made this into a short film or a feature film, a lot of things that Matt and I already know about the characters but would prefer to leave to mystery, would have to be explained and could get in the way of the structure of the odd couple in a zombie world. Audiences everywhere will be able to see Bumbloods when we go live on our website, www.bumbloods.com on October 3rd. Currently, we have the website down but a week before we release the first episode, we plan to go live. Right now, all Bumbloods related information can be found at www.facebook.com/bumbloods. We intend to release a new episode every week, so that the series can be watched in its entirety right before Halloween.
What was the most difficult part in the entire development of the web series?
Arcing the characters is by far the most difficult part. In each episode we wanted to learn a little bit more about Jerms and Krepe (our protagonists) and I think we did enough to keep our audience fulfilled, yet we left some of it open so that we can continue this journey if necessary.
How has your experience been at ‘The Art of Brooklyn’?
My experience was terrific. The entire staff including Jason, Anthony, and Eden have been splendid and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there. I wish I could have seen a lot more films, but unfortunately we are in the final shooting days of completing our series.
Affiliated and produced by the sketch comedy group, The Shorts Show www.theshortsshow.com
by Steve Rickinson