Working with the Russo Brothers: A Conversation with Multi-Talented Jay Alvarez for Raindance Film Festival favourite DIZZY PURSUIT
Set entirely in one tiny room, DIZZY PURSUIT is an ambitious comedy that tells the story of a young, struggling artist, Adam, and his vegan girlfriend, Carly, who attempt to cast an independent film within the confines of their squalid one-room apartment. Stress mounts as they struggle with the logistics of movie making amidst a cockroach infestation, schizophrenic neighbours, and the arrival of a string of family members whom they are forced to accommodate in their 12x12 living space. More than a simple comedy, the film shines a light on filmmakers and the sacrifice they are willing to make for their art; one that is reflected in real life.
The Russo Brothers came across Alvarez’ first feature I PLAY WITH THE PHRASE EACH OTHER, at Slamdance where it won the Special Jury Prize in 2014. They liked it so much they agreed to exec produce Alvarez’ next film DIZZY PURSUIT. In order to finance the film, the Russo Brothers launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo, offering Marvel Universe fans the rare opportunity to visit the set of their highly anticipated film AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
There is a further twist to the story. Seventeen years earlier in 1997, Anthony and Joe Russo premiered their debut feature film PIECES at the Slamdance Film Festival. In the audience was Steven Soderbergh, along with his producing partner, George Clooney, who offered to produce the brothers' next film WELCOME TO COLLINGWOOD. Clooney was to star in this movie. Over the next two decades, the Russo Brothers rose to impressive heights of creative and commercial accomplishment, including directing the Emmy award-winning comedy ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, the Marvel Universe blockbuster, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
In our interview, The Fan Carpet's Camila Sayers spoke to Jay Alvarez about Raindance Film Festival favourite DIZZY PURSUIT, they talk about the process of writing, working with the Russo Brothers and the definition of Dizzy Pursuit...
When you sat down and thought “I’m going to write a new project”, what was your process like in coming up with these themes and, in particular, writing about indie film-making itself?
I think that maybe at this point film-making has been absorbed enough by my day-to-day psychology as to separate itself from a conscious conceptual consideration and just be a reflection of daily occupations that I never escape. So, I think that it may occur without as much conscious thought as it may seem from the outside.
Interesting, so you just do it naturally I guess, it came organically to you.
Yeah, I also think that sometimes those particular environments or professions or interests that occur in fiction are often the relatively superficial foils through which we experience the substantial meanings that are the most universal and relatable to everyone.
We have the couple, Adam and Carly - in the film they’re great, they’re quirky and actually if we delved into them I feel we could make countless films about them because if you look into their characters they are very complex. Can you talk us through writing these characters and obviously that element of making them a couple and going through this together? I just wondered; what was the mindset behind creating those two characters and their personalities?
I think they were probably inspired by an oppositional set of values that I’ve observed in life and find compelling between the genders.
Jay Alvarez released his debut feature ‘I Play With The Phrase Each Other’ to tie in with the world premiere of Dizzy Pursuit at Raindance – available to watch now on YouTube