Fayetteville filmmaker premieres Quitting on March 18

Back in the day if you were an aspiring filmmaker trying to get your movie produced, there were only a few ways to go about it.

Most of them involved moving to Los Angeles and either stalking or sleeping with famous people, waiting tables at Hollywood restaurants and hoping for them to come sit in your section, or breaking into their houses and leaving a copy of your latest script in their magazine racks.

These days though, the best way to get your movie made may be just to write it, cast it, film it, and edit it yourself.

That’s what Fayetteville filmmaker Chuck Meré did recently, and this week his hard work will come to fruition when he debuts his new movie “Quitting” at the Union Theater on the University of Arkansas campus Thursday.

We got in touch with Meré recently, and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.

Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Chuck Mere: Fastball: All the Pain Money Can Buy. It’s been my favorite band for a long time. The lead singer actually let me use some of his solo stuff for Quitting. He’s a really great guy! I met the entire band when they came to Fayetteville about two years ago. It’s was truly a dream come true for me.

FF: Tell us a bit about how Quitting came about.
CM: My buddy James (the writer of Quitting), my friend Mandy (production designer of Quitting) and I were in a terrible garage band. We couldn’t get a gig. We didn’t even have a full set to play, and we weren’t at all motivated. Eventually practice became hanging out at Asbell Park and smoking cigars. Smoking cigars eventually became smoking cigarettes, and before we knew it, we were hooked. This sparked the idea of Quitting, and eight years later here we are.

FF: How long have you been working on the film?
CM: It took James three years to write it, and it took me four years to make it.

FF: Give us a brief synopsis.
CM: The film follows the disastrous week of four friends in a garage band as they try to quit smoking seven days before their first gig.

FF: Most of the film was shot in Fayetteville, correct?
CM: Almost all of it. One scene was shot in West Fork.

FF: What has been your biggest challenge with the filmmaking process?
CM: Finishing the film. There have been so many times during this process that I just wanted to quit (no pun intended) but I made myself keep going. In making this film, I have set myself on fire, ruined my credit, turned my parent’s house into a set, and somehow convinced people to work for free. It was hard, but it was worth it.

FF: Tell us a bit about the cast, and the casting process.
CM: I was a drama major at the U of A, so finding actors was not a hard task. Rather than holding auditions we offered roles directly to the actors we thought best fit each character.

FF: The independent film community in Fayetteville seems to be growing. Would you agree?
CM: It seems to be, but I’ve lived in Fayetteville for 17 years, and I’ve seen the birth and death of a few film festivals. We’re definitely on the rise right now, but who knows if we’ll stay that way.

FF: Your premier is in March at the Union. What are your plans for the film after that?
CM: I am currently working on a distribution deal for the DVD. I encourage people to check www.quittingmovie.com for updates.

Quitting Movie Premier

When: Thursday March 18, 7 p.m.
Where: Union Theater, University of Arkansas
Cost: Admission is free
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