The Accomplice: Jon Hoeg, John F. Beach and Evan Peters create a masterpiece.
Director Jon Hoeg (Facebook) teamed up with actor and director John F. Beach (Facebook), as well as, actor Evan Peters for this comedy film. The screenplay was written by Martin Spanjers , Dustin Hahn and Greg Hahn. The Accomplice has been winning awards and recognition on the film festival circuit and beyond. The Accomplice, screened at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline on 11/14/17 and won the "Best Short Film" Award at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival Fall 2017.
Tagline and Review of The Accomplice
Tagline: “Arriving home from a long business trip, Jerry discovers a number of urgent messages on his answering machine from his impulsive and inept friend, Randy. Much to his surprise, Jerry is now an unwilling participant in one of Randy's boneheaded schemes.”
Review: "Austin Comedy Short Film Festival judges love the acting and writing in this film. The characters and story are very engaging. The film also has a great finale and punch line. Actors John F. Beach and well known Evan Peters work well together. Evan Peters is known for his work on The X-Men Films and American Horror Story television show. The Accomplice was the first film that screened at the festival and it really set the tone with plenty of applause and laughs."
The Accomplice: The Story Behind The Story
John F. Beach (IMDb) gave us the inside scoop and story of the production and editing of this film. Is there an inspiration behind the film and title? “Dustin and Greg Hahn wrote the script, and I read it and thought it was amazing and said I wanted to make it. It was originally titled 'Answering Machine Heist' and we felt like that gave away a little too much. The writers came up with this new title and we all thought that it worked really well.”
Why did you choose to submit to the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival?
"Jon Hoeg and I submitted and screened a previous short film, "Holloway Heights: The Grenade" in Austin a couple of years ago, and felt like the audience responded to our brand of dark comedy. I felt that 'The Accomplice' and the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival would be a fit.”
What made the actors interested in being a part of your film? “We sent the script to Evan Peters and I was thrilled when he responded. He thought it was hilarious and was generous enough to come in and lend his time and talent to the project. Furthermore, I was attracted to the challenge of playing this role. Most of all my character just listens to messages for most of the film. It felt like a unique acting challenge, to try and figure out a way to make the role interesting.”
Please talk about the challenges in making this film?
“The entire film was shot in Dustin Hahn's apartment. He was one of the writers, so we had an in, haha. Furthermore, it was challenging to have Evan record all of the voicemails prior to production of the film. We played the answering machine messages back with a bluetooth speaker. That was challenging for me as an actor, because we'd block it and play the messages. Then, we would have to get a take without anything playing. Basically, going through it, trying to remember the timing of everything. Editing was also a real challenge on this, as I felt like the timing of cuts, to and from the answering machine was critical to the Jerry character.”
Did something funny happen, that didn't get caught on camera?
“Evan Peters (IMDb) was on the balcony and screaming at my character through the window. People in the apartment building right next door were watching Sunday NFL football, and you could hear them cheering. Well, at one point, someone got tired of listening to Evan yelling the same thing over and over again as we did additional takes of the scene. A guy yelled at Evan from an apartment above us at one point to, "SHUT UP!!!!!" Evan turned around, in character, and yelled up at that apartment, "You shut up!," and turned around and continued the scene. We tried to use the take, but it just didn't work out that it made sense for the scene. It was really funny when it happened and we were all thinking that we had to find a way to use that take!”
Can you talk about your sources of funding and favors that you received to complete this film?
“Martin Spanjers and I produced the film and we agreed to finance it ourselves. We believed in the material and felt like it was an opportunity to create something we would be proud of. Yes, we had to pull a lot of discounts and favors. The apartment location and set belonged to one of our writers. Most of our crew came on board and worked for much less than normal. We were looking for people that were excited about the unique story and challenge that this script presented. People seemed to respond and wanted to be involved. Furthermore, we couldn't have done it without people agreeing to help us out and give us a break.”
The Accomplice on the Film Festival Circuit
So far, has creating this short film helped the careers and visibility of the people involved in any way? “Absolutely. We've been playing festivals for most of 2017 and it’s definitely been a piece that's opened doors for everyone involved. Except for Evan Peters, the doors were already opened to him, haha.”
Awards and Nominations?
As well as official selections and audience selections for this film? "Yes, we won the Audience Choice Award at the Lower East Side Film Festival and the Best Comedy Short Film at the Long Beach International Film Festival, as well as, the Best Short Film at the Los Angeles Lift-Off Film Festival. At the Tahoe-Reno International Film Festival, The Accomplice, won the Best Comedy Short Jury Award and the Audience Award for Best Comedic Short Film. Evan Peters also won the Best Actor in a Short Film Award. Jon Hoeg and John F. Beach were nominated for the 'Filmmaker-to-Watch' Award at the Atlanta Film Festival and we just received a Special Mention by the jury at the Amsterdam Lift-Off Film Festival.
Fantastic Fest in Austin and Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City and HollyShorts in Los Angeles. San Jose International Shorts and Sonoma International Film Festival. St. Louis International Film Festival and Tacoma International Film Festival. The Sydney Lift-Off Film Festival and the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival.