While Montreal is poised as a hotbed of culture, it often falls into the trap of taking itself too seriously. This kingdom of culture is one in need of a few jesters, and the guys at Kidnapper Films can definitely carry the bauble.
"Every city needs a group of jag-off dudes making fools of themselves in front of the real cultural leaders," says Kidnapper Matt Silver. "Think how good musicians feel after they watch one of us suck off a pool noodle in front of a sold-out venue. All they have to do is play the guitar and sing some ridiculous lyrics."
One has to wonder how a bunch of twenty-somethings coming out of Montreal can command such authority (not to mention the fabulous wealth they claim has attended their success). Evidently, this position can be achieved with a passion for filmmaking, an acute sense of humour and a knack for tight-rope-walking the cutting edge.
The film-makin', skit-playin' troupe-Silver is joined by Darren Curtis, Dan Haber and Pat Kiely-has risen to some repute (or notoriety) with films such as Sharkboy and Camel-Toe Crew, and skits like Privates and the Babysitting Clown. They make their screenings stand out by incorporating character-driven skits into the presentation-their approach has been likened to that of Kids in the Hall and Mr. Show. The result has been sold-out variety evenings which last summer paved the way for shows at New York City's Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre and Los Angeles's Comedy Central Showcase club. The comedy troupe also played the Just For Laughs festival here in Montreal, and a collaborative effort with FUBAR's Paul Spence and Dave Laurence called Balls Out is the latest notch in the group's belt.
Silver can't help but brag about it all. And why not? It's not often that this city produces young people who claim to generate and spend more money than Paris Hilton. God knows we need some obscenely rich artists (real or imagined) to balance out the talentless hordes getting by on arts grants. "Our girlfriends wear the finest mink and sable coats and have various instructors for things like tennis, golf and skeet shooting," relays Silver via e-mail from Toronto (transmitted from a gold-encrusted Blackberry while paragliding off the CN Tower, no doubt).
Riding high, the Kidnapper crew has now decided that it's time to share their ... wealth-creative and otherwise. This February 17 and 18, Silver and Co. will be taking over Cinéma du Parc for a "seminar" entitled, "So You Wanna Be in Pictures?"; an evening intended to disseminate "the rules" on how young filmmakers can make "the millions and millions of dollars they deserve."
"We're hosting this seminar firstly because we want to give something back to the community that has given to us so much. Y'know, share the wealth. Also, uh, we've been ordered to perform 600 hours of community service due to uh, an oversight in our accounting books. But it's mostly for the 'giving back to the community' thing."
Stressing that the presentation is not a get-rich-quick pyramid scheme, but rather a pyramid to greatness, it only seems only fair to go along with the big talk. I mean, wouldn't you want a gold-encrusted Blackberry too? In the spirit of diversification, the crew will flex their multimedia savvy by exhibiting their as-yet-unaired twenty-two-minute TV pilot episode and other unreleased works, alongside a presentation of their "new patented 'Six Golden Rules for Making Short, Unsellable Films and Videos.'"
"Do you know what kind of scratch can be made producing completely unsellable video shorts that will never be broadcast anywhere?" boasts Silver. "The possibilities are limitless."
If you possess an acute sense of self-mockery and wish to pledge yourself to what Silver confirms is "a secret cabal" of hundreds of men and women "willing to take a bullet for their fearless leaders, not unlike those guys in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," then this is the seminar for you. Only after experiencing it will you be truly ready to sell your soul to the devil and live the enviable life of decadence of a Montreal court jester.
"Just remember that the first rule of making millions in film is," Silver lets slip, "guard the real rules with your fucking life!"
For $10, see Kidnapper Films take over Cinéma du Parc's late-night programming with "So You Want to Make Films?" on February 17 and 18 at 11 PM.
To view past Oscar-contending œuvres by Kidnapper Films, visit www.kidnapperfilms.com.