Film Courage: What was your first job in film and television when you got to Los Angeles?
Brad Sykes, Filmmaker: The first job I ever had was on a movie called KISS THE GIRLS which was this Paramount Pictures movie that I worked on in 1996 (summer of ’96). It was between my third and fourth year of film school.
The director of that movie was Gary Fleder who was from my home town and I knew him. He also went to Boston University where I went to film school. So we also had those two things in common.
I had gotten in touch with Gary a little bit before that. I’d just written him a letter saying I’m this young film student and filmmaker from Virginia Beach and he’d actually had gotten back to me and had been very encouraging. He actually called me and he said I’m going to be making this little movie with Morgan Freeman. Would you like to work on that? It was perfect timing because it was the summer and it was essentially an internship for school but it was like a real working internship because it was a big movie, too. A 35 million dollar movie. And it was just a very cool experience. Gary was great to give me that opportunity.
I learned a lot about I would say things that I think are good and I would say bad in terms of the wastefulness of big studios and sort of the standing around and not much going on. But it was just such an invaluable experience to see how movies are made and the Paramount Pictures lot and all of that. It was just really cool. I loved being on set. I had made short films and even features with my friends on video up to that point but that was the first time I’d…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Brad Sykes got his first hi-8 camera at age fifteen, and hasn’t stopped shooting since. Growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Brad made eight features on video (many of which involved Karo syrup, red food coloring and stunts of dubious safety) while still in high school. He attended Boston University’s film program in 1993 and by the time he graduated cum laude in 1997, he had already worked for both Paramount Pictures and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. After moving to Los Angeles, Brad continued to work in film in various capacities both here and abroad (a stint at Castel Film, Romania) before landing his first writing-directing job in 1998. By 2000, he was writing and directing full-time, with many genre credits such as DEMON’S KISS, MAD JACK, and the well-known CAMP BLOOD. Brad has continued to make his mark in horror with more recent projects like DEATH FACTORY, GOTH, WITHIN THE WOODS and MUTATION. His films have been distributed worldwide and can be found at rental outlets like Blockbuster and Netflix. Brad’s films have received attention in many publications including Fangoria, The Dark Side, Indie Slate, Rue Morgue, Videoscope, LA Weekly, Mad Movies, and Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies. Brad lives in Los Angeles with his wife, producer Josephina Sykes, where they operate Nightfall Pictures, a full-service development and production company.
Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest by Brad Sykes
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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.