Spring 2010, Materialism
Just your everyday eco-bandit
by Katelan Cunningham
When people think of recycling, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually college parties, but the idea of so many recyclables in one place had third-year film major Matthew Demarko seeing green.
“We wanted to do something big. I wanted a big production,” Demarko said.
This big production is “Recycle This!” a short film written and directed by Demarko. While the idea came about in his Intro to Dramatic Writing class, his script became reality as a project for his Directing the Narrative class.
The film follows Davy the “eco-bandit” and his unusually bizarre way of funding his college tuition. Davy takes cans and bottles from various college parties and recycles them. Instead of holding onto things, Davy is a Robin
Hood of the green movementÑstealing from the inebriated and giving back to the environment, all while getting
“Recycling and materialism – it’s a tricky line in between them, but I think they can both coexist,” said Demarko.
“I think one of the hardest parts about the green movement is that it makes people rethink [the idea] that they donÕt have to hold onto things. That it might be more valuable recycling it and regiving it.”
With ten weeks to do the project, he gathered a reliable team. One of the biggest challenges in making the film was finding a way to recruit 50 extras. Luckily, popular take-out restaurant, Zunzi’s, caters one production per month for free. Demarko and his team were the second to ask that month, but Zunzi’s still donated to
“I donÕt know anything that will get people to a place like Zunzi’s,” Demarko said. “You say Zunzi’s and people come running. That was really amazing that
It took many people collecting their own recyclables and a 55 gallon bag from Pratt Industries to make Davy’s conquest look like a financial success in the film.
When the filming was done, Demarko said, “It was just nice to recycle them all and then just not see them again.”
Demarko’s mom got him into recycling when he came college, and the idea for the movie sprang from there.
“The movies that do best are the most unique and craziest ideas so you can get away with anything and I wanted to write a movie that wasn’t preachy. [That] had recycling in it, but it had an eco-bandit.”
The eco-bandit is played by Andrew Champlin. “I knew who the guy was the entire time I was writing it,” Demarko said. “I wouldn’t say he’s my muse [laughs], but Andrew Champlin has been in every movie I’ve ever done. He is a perfect fit for this role.”
Some say to write with famous actors in mind for the characters but Demarko said, “Instead of doing that, I associated it with all my friends.”
“I was in the character a lot. A lot of my friends were in the character, and then I used a lot of stereotypes to their fullest.”
Besides Andrew, the speaking roles are played by Filipe Medeiros, Chase Arrington and Jana Barros.
Arrington and Medeiros play the frat-like guys who are the villains to Davy’s plan. “[Mederios] did very well. He drives a lot of it.”
Demarko said, “I had struggled between casting someone who was a true-to-life frat boy or someone with acting experience and so I guess I went with both. So, Chase has acting experience.”
Barros is the only performing arts major. “After I saw her, she impressed me and she was really tall and confident and kind of fit that femme fatale persona.”
To get this big production done, Demarko had a lot of people to help make it happen.
“Pieter Ribbons is only a sophomore, but he is going to be an amazing director of photography. When he agreed to help me with it before the quarter even started over the winter break, I felt really confident in the project,” Demarko said.
“Lauren Adams was our assistant director and was very aggressive in getting things done. If you’ve got professional people like that who can adhere to deadlines and kind of put your creative focus on a time schedule, then that’s when you can get things done.”
Since the film’s production, Demarko is still doing work to finish up the project.
“I think that if I could go back, I’d change some shots. I don’t know who said it, but they said, ‘A project is never finished, it’s just abandoned,’ and I believe that.” Still, Demarko said the film was “a wild ride.”
The film is registered on Withoutabox for exposure to film festivals, and from there Demarko hopes it will gain some attention and be entered into film competitions.
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