Freaks: Hope for the Ambitious Filmmaker
Updated: Mar 25
As a filmmaker myself it always nice to hear stories of individuals that have climbed their way to the top David F. Sandberg has his short film Lights Out, Andrés Muschietti made Ma Ma, and James Wan had Saw. Each of these shorts was made in feature-length films when producers took notice of their talent. Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky started out on Steven Speilberg's reality show On the Lot, finding some success afterward with a few small projects until the Kim Possible live-action film they made for Disney. This opened the door to get a few films green-lit but all were stuck in limbo, this is where Freaks comes in.
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The ambitious filmmakers sought to remove themselves from this state by making a film for no budget at all, what they found was as they moved along their passion and story would attract investors building their budget slowly from $2,000 to a little over a million. When reaching out for actors many passed until they got to Emil Hirsch (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) got on board after reading the script. Zach Lipovsky stated in an interview on the Film Riot Podcast, that Emil was so convinced the film would be good, actors would fire their agents.
Freaks debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to positive reviews and was sold for distribution, with a short theatrical run and now available on Netflix, what started as ambition has become a success. I have seen the passion project and found it to be exciting, fun, and interesting, while it is not a perfect film it is one worth watching. My opinion of the film is not the point though but the encouraging story of Zach and Adam which should light a fire in the belly of any filmmaker, it is not a matter of luck but ambition.