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April 3, 2016

Interview with Michael Grodner of The Icarus Line Must Die

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With news surfacing of a “narrative feature film about LA freak out rock and roll group, The Icarus Line“, it was only appropriate that someone would try to find out a little bit more about Director Michael Grodner’s forthcoming project. And with this in mind, the co-founder of Honor Roll Productions was more than happy to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions. Enjoy!

What was the inspiration for making a feature film about The Icarus Line? Why them as opposed to any of the other bands circling the LA music scene?

I wanted to make a rock and roll movie inspired by the films of New York’s Lower East Side during the late 70s and early 80s such as ‘Blank Generation‘ (with Richard Hell), Amos Poe’s ‘The Foreigner‘ and early Jim Jarmusch like ‘Stranger Than Paradise‘.

According to the project’s Facebook description, ‘The Icarus Line Must Die’ is “a narrative feature film about LA freak out rock and roll group, The Icarus Line”. Can you elaborate on this and explain as to what people can expect from the finished product, as well as what your hopes and aspirations are for the film?

The story is based on real-life events. Joe Cardamone plays himself, leader of The Icarus Line, as he navigates his way through the ups and downs of the modern music landscape.

The film is set against the backdrop of the current LA indie & punk scene. The film features a lot of great musical performances from the Icarus Line, Pink Mountaintops, Retox, Annie Hardy of Giant Drag, Obliterations, The Aqua Dolls and Together Pangea plus appearances by Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks/OFF!), Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches) and Raphael Reyes of Prayers among others.

We’re all super-proud of the film and hope it reaches as many people as possible.

What is the reason for calling the feature film The ‘Icarus Line Must Die’ and is this the film’s final title?

The title touches on some of the themes of the movie. So, yes, it will be the film’s final title.

What difficulties did you have in gaining approval and access to The Icarus Line as well as some of the other people that are associated with the band and film (ie Keith Morris of Black Flag fame)? How did this factor into your ability of gaining meaningful footage for the project?

Joe was involved in the project from its inception – so access to The Icarus Line wasn’t a problem. He also has a lot of ties to several of the artists featured in the film. I brought in some people as well.

What other trials and tribulations have you encountered in making ‘The Icarus Line Must Die’?

Just the usual trials and tribulations one encounters when making a film for little money and without a huge crew. This was definitely guerilla film-making in the truest sense of the word.

From pre-production to recording footage to final edit, how long do you think the production cycle will be for the film?

A year in total.

Judging by your website and Vimeo account, it seems that you have an illustrious background in working with music bands? What inspired you to forge this path and what advice would you give to budding film-makers and directors who want to follow in your footsteps?

Been working with bands for a while, first as a music video director, then more directly in different capacities – so directing a film about a band seemed to be a natural progression. My advice to budding film-makers is just go out and make stuff – whether you have money or you don’t.

What equipment did you use for the filming and editing of the project, and how large was the production crew?

We shot on Canon 5DS and are editing on Premiere. Our production crew was usually less than ten people.

When can fans expect to see the final product and what will the release strategy be – ie will the project be headed for film festivals, cinema and home release?

We plan on submitting to festivals at the end of the summer and hopefully will be coming to a [cinema] theatre near you sometime after that.

What are your future plans and do you have any other projects in the pipeline after ‘The Icarus Line Must Die’?

Two films in the works: A science fiction film based on the cult classic novel ‘Beyond Apollo‘ by Barry Malzberg and an original suspense thriller called ‘We Are Here‘.

Thank you.

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  1. erik Wheeldon

    Awesome interview!!! Can’t wait for this movie…

  2. erik Wheeldon

    Do you Know if this is even happening anymore?

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