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Exclusive: Roadkill Superstar Talk Turbo Kid

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Fans of cartoon violence and post-apocalyptic mayhem are in for a treat tonight in Park City, Utah, where Turbo Kid starring Michael Ironside will have its World Premiere at midnight. Also starring Munro Chambers as The Kid and Laurence Leboeuf as Apple, the strange world of Turbo Kid comes straight from the minds of the Roadkill Superstar (RKSS) collective who form like Voltron into a twisted hive mind ready to offer up a taste of crazed, kinetic, joy-inducing cinema that’s helping to define modern exploitation.

Straight outta Montreal, filmmakers Yoann-Karl Whissell, Anouk Whissell, and François Simard blast off into uncharted territory with Turbo Kid, their first full feature together after ten years of making amped up, festival favorite shorts like Bagman. RKSS talked to us about the fun-filled journey of getting Turbo Kid made and how their short film T Is for Turbo led to a full-fledged feature film.

DC: How is the Sundance experience so far for you guys? I saw Jason Eisener’s Instagram, and it looks like you guys are having a blast.

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): Oh, we are having the best time of our lives; it’s fantastic. It’s the most incredible festival we’ve ever been to.

(François): Everything is surreal. It’s incredible.

DC: Being a part of the Midnighter section, does it feel like you and the other filmmakers in that slot are having your own twisted film festival while another, more sophisticated one is taking place?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): No, not at all. When we went to the Directors Brunch we talked with a ton of directors. We’re all creators and we’re all on the same level … it was so great. We met amazing people that have made totally different films and art, and we can all meet and have fun.

DC: So, how did you guys first get together and decide to join forces?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): We’ve been doing shorts for ten years and we’re actually a family. Me and Anouk are brother and sister and François and Anouk have been together for 15 years. We’ve been working together for so long, we’ve developed somewhat of a hive mind. We kind of share the same brain now.

(François): Yeah, that’s the question that we get a lot. Everybody comes to us, ‘What? You made a movie and you’re still friends? How’s that work?’ Yeah, we’ve always been working like that so we want to keep … we like making movies with the spirit of making movies with friends, and we want to keep that spirit.

(Anouk): Yeah, and it’s just natural now for us to work together.

DC: For those that don’t know, could you talk about the ABCs of Death contest that started the ball rolling for what eventually became Turbo Kid?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): Yes, ABCs of Death was super important to us.

(François): Actually, we didn’t want to be part of the contest because we’d just made one and didn’t want to bother our friends to vote for us. But we met Jason Eisener at Fantasia, and he told us we should probably participate because this contest is going to be huge. He convinced us, and the next day we were in pre-production.

(Yoann-Karl): Yeah, we finished first for the public vote, which was pretty amazing. We didn’t get into the actual feature, but that caught the eye of Ant Timpson, the producer of ABCs of Death, and he wanted to know if we wanted to transform our short, T Is for Turbo, into a feature. And, of course, we said yes. So, we had three weeks to come up with a script for the first Fantasia Film Market. We wrote it, we got in … and we started Turbo Kid.

(François): We were pretty sad that we didn’t win the contest; we thought we had a good chance. But in the end I think what we won is much bigger.

DC: It’s very interesting to me with Jason Eisener winning the trailer contest for Hobo With a Shotgun, it’s very much the same path for both of you guys.

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): It’s true! So true.

(François): He’s such a cool dude, and we’re so happy he’s on board and here with us at Sundance.

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): Yeah, he’s awesome. Jason is the best friend you don’t know you already have.

DC: He featured Rutger Hauer in Hobo in the lead, and now, for Turbo Kid, you’ve got Michael Ironside. As a group of filmmakers, you’ve both gotten two icons to go for broke in two insane movies. How was working with Michael, and was he game to do anything you asked of him?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): Working with Michael was fantastic; it was incredible. The coolest thing is that we wrote the character for him. We were dreaming about having Michael, and we didn’t know if it would be possible. We met him by chance in Toronto, completely random.

(François): We told our producer we need to talk to him about Turbo Kid, and he just took our hands and put us in front of him and said, ‘Those guys are filmmakers, and they want to pitch you a movie.’ And she left!

(Yoann-Karl): He loved the pitch, we sent him the script, he called us back right after he read it and said, ‘I love it and want to be part of it.’ Working with him on set was amazing because, you know, Michael has done more than 200 films. He has such a vast experience. I don’t know if people know, but he’s done many jobs on set. Working with him was just amazing, and he’s an amazing human being. He’s actually the funniest dude in the world. I know people see him as the big bad guy, but he’s the funniest guy in the world.

(François): Sometimes we had to adapt because we had ideas, and he has his own.

(Yoann-Karl): Both of us worked closely to create the character with him, and it was tons of fun. We love to do that with every character and every actor. We want them to be part of the creative process.

DC: Are you all storyboarding the same way you did for your short films, and did storyboarding for stuff like Troma’s Poultrygeist help prepare you for the planning involved for a full feature?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): Oh yeah, definitely, especially with three directors. We don’t have time to argue on set so we storyboard one hundred percent of everything. In the storyboards themselves we make escape plans in case things don’t go as planned, so everything is planned out.

(François): I went to animation school, and one thing we learned was how to do storyboards, and, yes, that’s one of our strengths.

(Yoann-Karl): We plan a lot because if you’re prepared for the work, then when the work happens, you’re ready.

(Anouk): Yeah, and even in prep it was very cool to show our team all that has to be done and all the effects that have to be prepared so everyone could see.

DC: Do you guys think that Turbo Kid could ever become animated?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): That would be amazing!

(Anouk): A Saturday morning cartoon with Turbo Kid… but for adults!

(Yoann-Karl): Yeah, we love animation. We’re passionate about animation so, if Turbo Kid would become animation in any form, that would be the dream. That would be incredible.

(François): But if everything goes well, we also want to do a sequel.

DC: Kids definitely would be pretty messed up after watching Turbo Kid growing up. As opposed to very life-like, graphic effects work from someone like Remy Couture, for example, you guys really seem to make the violence in your films as over-the-top and unrealistic as possible. Is the more fun approach to violence that comic books and animation can bring the way you prefer to see violence on film?

RKSS (Yoann-Karl): We want to please and entertain; we want people when they leave the theater to have a huge smile on their face. Our gore, we don’t want to shock with it. It’s like a Bugs Bunny for adults.

Turbo Kid is a post-apocalyptic, BMX-powered, blood-splattered love story that follows the epic journey of an orphaned outcast reluctant to be a hero in the wasteland of an alternate future. It was written and directed by RKSS: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell and stars Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, and Michael Ironside.

Here’s the Turbo Kid schedule at Sundance:

Monday, January 26, 11:59 p.m.
Egyptian Theatre, Park City
328 Main St., Park City, UT
Tuesday, January 27, 9:30 p.m. – TURBO27RN
Redstone Cinema 1, Park City
6030 Market St., Park City, UT
Thursday, January 29, 12:00 noon – TURBO29YD
Yarrow Hotel Theatre, Park City
1800 Park Ave., Park City, UT
Saturday, January 31, 6:00 p.m. – TURBO31WE
Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City
876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT

Synopsis:
In a post-apocalyptic future The Kid, an orphaned outcast, meets a mysterious girl. They become friends until Zeus, the sadistic leader of the Wasteland, kidnaps her. The Kid must face his fears and journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl.

For more info “like” Epic Pictures on Facebook, follow Epic Pictures on Twitter, and visit Epic Pictures on YouTube. Also be sure to “like” Turbo Kid on Facebook.

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