Since then, Film Combat Syndicate is almost a year old and I now have the distinct honor of talking to multifaceted filmmaker, Prince Bagdasarian, founder of independent film group, PIB Productions. Prince recently launced an Indiegogo campaign for his most recent film titled, Abstraction, for which he wrote, co-produced, edited and directed. The campaign is part of an effort to help fund the film's promotion from now through August, and since he included my April article on the page, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my platform to discuss his career and the upcoming film.
After spending most of my pre-teen years in front of the camera, performing as a magician, I realized that I was more interested in a different type of magic – movies. It wasn’t long before I began idolizing accomplished filmmakers and taking steps to insure that I, one day, do what they did.
I’m a huge fan of heist films such as Heat, Thief, Dog Day Afternoon, The Score, and such. As a matter of fact, the first short film I wrote and directed after film school was a heist film. Some have even mentioned that my style of filmmaking resembles Michael Mann’s work. I’ll take that as compliment any day.
I grew up watching action films. As I got older, I wanted more substance in my action films. A good mixture of action and drama, if executed well, can definitely lead to a very appealing piece of entertainment. That’s pretty much what I tried to accomplish with my first feature, “Abstraction”.
Magic was my hobby as a child. I spent numerous hours after school surrounded by it. My parents slowly realized how much of a hidden talent I had. Before long, I was performing professionally on stage and appearing in magazines, newspapers and television programs. Although it was a great time in my life, most of my childhood was taken over by my magic career. I quit magic upon realizing that my interests lied more in filmmaking.
Be prepared. If you’re going to lead the way, you have to set an example. The biggest mistake an indie director can make is by not being prepared for the tasks at hand, and also the unforeseen ones. The preparation would then also facilitate plans b to z, in case they’re called for. In addition, collaboration is crucial in making any project happen, predominantly a feature film.
“Abstraction” is about two opportunist friends, Tommy and Gary, who live in a small town and pull off grand thefts in the city for a living. After the friends end up in a predicament during a heist that goes wrong, they put their criminal life behind them. Shortly after, they devise one last job that will be their ticket out of town and a foundation for a better life. That job is the heist of a half a million dollar painting. The idea for “Abstraction” came to me after I had decided to write a neo-noir type of heist film that involved a strong central female character. Before I knew it, my co-producers and I had developed an enormous project, one full of action, drama, and an array of relatable characters.
FCSyndicate: What qualities stand out to you the most about the cast? And what was the experience like?
I was really meticulous during casting. I recall auditioning maybe over seventy actors and actresses for the two leads roles alone. My male lead had to fit well as a tough criminal but yet have the look of ‘small town guy’. In all honesty, a majority of the actors we auditioned in Los Angeles could not pull off the ‘small town guy’ aspect of the character. But Hunter Ives came in and nailed it. It was also a similar case with the female roles in my film. Both Korrina Rico and Natalie Victoria had to portray strong, self-sufficient girlfriend characters as well as damsels in distress, simultaneously. Although all my leads have had many acting roles in big Hollywood features, they were nowhere near the level of the few major names we got on board the project for supporting roles, such as Academy Award® nominee Eric Roberts (pictured above) and Ken Davitian. Being a fan of Roberts ever since I was a child, I was thrilled to have him tackle a gripping role in my very first feature film. Ken Davitian, who we know from such films as “Borat” and “The Artist”, brought his own take on the character he played. One specific scene of his in “Abstraction” could very well be considered a controversial one. Overall, my entire cast was superb. The experience with collaborating with such talented individuals was indeed enticing.
Movie goers can expect to be taken on an interesting journey with a few sudden twists along the way. Although I wouldn’t consider “Abstraction” a complete action film, I’ve strived to showcase well developed characters first, and then thrown them into intense situations that ultimately result in ‘action’. And that’s when budgeting restrictions came into play. I quickly found out what could and couldn’t be achieved. However, I’m happy to say that more than 90% of what I wrote on paper came to fruition on-screen.
Currently, I have several other films I’m developing through my production company. An action movie about magic does indeed sound like something right down my alley, but it could significantly be compared to the recent Hollywood blockbuster, “Now You See Me”. Instead, I have a family story set within the world of magic written a few years ago, one which is loosely based on my first hand encounters during my career as a child magician. The other feature film I have written is “Moira”, a compelling action crime drama about the aftermath of a hit-and-run accident. In addition, I have an action thriller/horror that I’m currently developing; one where I plan to bring a fresh new take on the whole indie horror film genre. All these films are ready to go into production once financing is acquired.
I’d like to send a Syndicate Shoutout to not only one but two actors, Sam Puefua and James Lewis, both of whom busted their asses (literally) while striving to deliver authenticity within some of my action scenes in “Abstraction”. Now that’s dedication to the art.
IMDb page, and I am really looking forward to what he has to bring to the table for Moira. Already the name sounds badass, and with a film like Abstraction, I have no doubt in my mind that Prince is aiming for quality entertainment.
I want to thank him for lending some time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions, and I sincerely wish the best of luck to him and the cast and crew of Abstraction. Lastly though, I want to thank Prince for contributing his own edit to my last question upon getting back to me. It is a real honor and I am very humbled by his acknowledgement.
Remember to visit the Indiegogo page to learn how you can donate. Click here to follow the film on Facebook, and for more info on PIB Productions, visit the official website, as well as the official movie site, http://abstractionfilm.com
View the trailer below: