Independent filmmaker Julian Grant’s latest ultra-ultra low budget feature film is called FLOST, which translates to FuckLoad Of Scotch Tape. It is a story of a young man’s descent into his own personal hell, and the mistakes he made to get there. Julian calls the film a “musical Neo-Noir drama where a patsy is set up to take the fall for a kidnapping that leads to murder.” The project is true to the indie ethos in that it is spare; everything is stripped down to its essence. For lovers of pure character- and plot-driven film, this is stripped-to-the-bone storytelling at its best.
Julian based the idea for FLOST on the writings of pup-fiction writer Jedidiah Ayres, whose works include the compilation noir “D*CKED: Dark Fiction Inspired By Dick Cheney.” Ayres is one of the unsung heroes of contemporary neo-noir, a literary throwback to a time which seemed simpler – when a strong right hook and a bottle of rot gut could help keep the nightmares at arm’s length. FLOST has successfully tapped into that genre; the pulp influence is there in every dark, gritty frame as well as in each artist’s performance. FLOST recalls that simpler time with a hard-edged truth; someone is always waiting to fuck with you.
Mixed with the music of Kevin Quain, FLOST‘s score not only feeds the pent-up fury in these desperate characters, but provides an added dimension to their mania. The words to the songs are often mouthed by the main character, “Benji,” which might be a little confusing at first. But stick with it and you will see how the effect grows on you.
And speaking of actors, each individual artist turns in a compelling performance. From the moment they appear on screen, it is obvious just how much each of these talented actors was invested in the film. Of particular note, Graham Jenkins’ “Benji” provides the spine to the story and all other characters and plot elements grow from his storyline. I would guess that he is on screen roughly 80% of the film, and yet we never grow tired of his presence. His conflict becomes ours as we watch his confusion become realization and the inevitable become reality. Additional actors include Louie Lawless, Hannah Phelps, Bobby Rafferty, Holland Noel, James Munson, Shannon Edwards, and Brian Shaw as “Mr. Kent.”
Julian Grant wrote, directed, shot, and acted as sound recorder for the film. Essentially the core of the on-set production crew. How’s that for indie? Here’s what he has to say about his own personal history. “For twenty years I made low-budget TV movies, mini-series and straight-to-video projects that were all at the request of the distributors or network. I was a gun-for-hire for Lionsgate, HBO, Lifetime, Syfy and more – and you basically have to follow the party line and produce movies in keeping with their mandate. It’s a market driven machine and I was able to make good-looking pictures at a reasonable rate. When I became a college professor, I was determined to return to my roots as a way of showing my own students how to do it for cheap. My goal has always been to demystify the filmmaking process and with the advances in digital technology, home editing and the support of the college, I can pretty much well make anything I can afford to produce.” I know Julian to be a true independent, a believer in the art of film. FLOST expresses this independent spirit beautifully.
You can read more about Julian Grant and his work at his website, juliangrant.com. And find out much more about the superb independent feature FLOST by clicking here. There is also a comic book version of the film. You can find out more about that here.