Brian Wimer – Filmmaker

Posted on November 5, 2014 by

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Last year, he was a gay werewolf in Faux Paws and a filmmaker for the documentary CLAW.  This year, he’s behind the camera again as director for Karate Tango, screening Saturday at Regal. Local filmmaker Brian Wimer keeps himself quite busy. From keeping a day job to curating the IX Art Park, Wimer is a driven, wildly imaginative filmmaker.

“There’s always something on the table,” said Wimer. “You just have to keep producing.”

And produce he does. A film festival regular, whether simply attending as a film lover, mentoring the Adrenaline Film Project, or screening one of his works, Wimer embraces the Virginia Film Festival’s celebratory spirit head on.

Read more interviews from The Makers of the Virginia Film Festival series »

Photo credit: Billy Hunt

Photo credit: Billy Hunt

Brian Wimer

What drove you to pursue a career in film? Talk about your passions and any advice you have for the next generation of filmmakers.

I was a jock. And a nerd. And an artist. Apparently that wasn’t enough. I have three older brothers who were all scholar athlete artists. What hadn’t they done? Theater fit the bill. And I was often the only straight guy in the theater programs growing up – so I got a lot of leading roles. Then I studied drama at Yale. Actor Ed Norton was a classmate. Frankly, I credit Ed with some of my desire to move into film. Envy. That’ll keep you up late at night. But there has to be more to keep you going. Some non-negotiable drive. I’ve got a pretty good imagination. It keeps me stocked in ideas. There’s always something on the table. You just have to keep producing. People tell me I need focus (good advice, by the way). But the ideas always win. In about ten years I’ve written two dozen screenplays, written/directed/produced ten feature films, and made roughly one hundred music videos. Oh and I have a day job. Keep your day job. Mine happens to be commercial video (industrials, ads, web content). It’s good to have a job that relates to your dream. And if you’re not working your dream, quit your current career. Right now. You’re all angels on vacation.

Describe your relationship with The Virginia Film Festival, in years past and/or in the current 2014 festival.

The VFF showed me I wasn’t just a jerk with a camera. I’ve done the Adrenaline Film Project I think five times. The first time, we won every award: Jury and Audience. It’s hard as an “artist” (if I can be called that) to self-critique. Maybe you’re just fooling yourself and you should keep your gig at Costco. Or maybe you can entertain people. That’s what the VFF showed me. I could make people feel something and leave the theater satisfied. Last year, CLAW, the women’s arm wrestling doc I co-everythinged with Billy Hunt, was the VFF’s centerpiece film. A huge honor. We won the audience award. And while it still has no buyer – I feel we have a crowd pleaser. And it means something. I also got to star in Faux Paws, Doug Bari’s gay werewolf flick. Another great honor. Who gets to star in a feature film?

How many Virginia Film Festivals have you attended?

I’ve been going since I arrived in Charlottesville 15 years ago.

What sets the Virginia Film Festival apart from other film festivals?

The VFF really makes it a celebration. I’ve been to a lot of fests. You can be lost in some banquet room of a Holiday Inn. The VFF brings film front and center. Great venues. Great films. And a truly appreciative audience that loves film.

Finish this sentence. Filmmaking to me is…

Filmmaking to me is an opportunity to reinvent everything you believe and share that vision of reality for two hours with a roomful of strangers, in the dark … with their cellphones off.

What films are you excited about seeing this year at the Virginia Film Festival?

Babadook, I Am Big Bird… and seeing my meta-musical Karate Tango on the big screen.

Where do you go for a quick bite in Cville between screenings?

Bizou – right across from the Regal – hopefully Laura Lee Jones (star of my Buddhist horror flick Mantra) will be your waitress.

Where do you go for a post-film screening drink?

I like to hole away with fellow filmmakers at the Tea Bazaar. I’m not a big drinker. But a nice hot pot of chai and a goat herder platter does the job, while you’re lounging on some pillows with a few close friends.

Actually, after Friday’s shows, I’m participating in a “lock-in” with Hack C-Ville – spending the whole night up with several other artists, making community art.

Dinner and a movie VFF 2014 weekend – What local eatery would you recommend for dinner?

Alhamraa – great Moroccan food over next to the IX Art Park.

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