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INTERVIEW with Legendary AD Director Leonardo Corbucci

Many of the racers featured on My Life at Speed, including our own CEO Greg Tracy, have ties to Hollywood. Many of the racers and personalities on our site have their “day job” as stuntmen, providing the drifting, the falls, the slides….you name it….. in feature movies and commercials.  I feel lucky that on any given day, I have a small connection to the world of Hollywood and feel connected to what many believe is a “dream job” of working with some of the biggest feature films or commercials.

The elements that create continuity in a scene or shot is one of precision and being very detail orientated. So when a chance conversation with good friend, Kern Dillard who owns a local automotive repair shop told us about his son-in-law, Leonardo Corbucci, I was intrigued. Leonardo is the Director of a feature film called Legendary AD and the more I heard about the film and Corbucci I knew he was perfect for a My Life at Speed feature.

Leonardo Corbucci has a passion for film. He also has a passion for Directing and is in the process of funding Legendary AD which is more than 50% shot and they need only $10,000 to complete the film.

So, what is Legendary AD?

“There are so many stories and facts behind the most famous movies in the history of Cinema. Donate and be a part of something Legendary… a story that deserves to be told.”  – Leonardo Corbucci

 

The Kickstarter description for Legendary AD reads, “What do Star Wars, The Godfather, Lord of the Rings, Batman, Inception, Saving Private Ryan and Pulp Fiction all have in common?

Simple: Amazing First Assistant Directors. They are the experts on set that allow the director to focus on his job while keeping the movie machine moving forward. These AD’s have collected numerous stories from the legendary films they have worked on. These inspirational film veterans have the best advice that a film-maker would never be able to learn in film school. A legendary documentary from the mouths of the ones that ran the sets on legendary movies”.

As I heard more, I was even more intrigued and wanted to help. Here is the link to Legendary AD Kickstarter campaign. Please donate – they don’t need much more to make this film.

Here is the Legendary AD  Kickstarter trailer and after the video, please find a My Life at Speed “5 Minutes With….” exclusive with Leonardo.

Thanks for the support! Let’s get Leonardo’s film funded. CNaz.

5 Minutes With….Leonardo Corbucci

 

MLAS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with film making.
LC:
Part of my family in Italy comes from the film business. “The Great Silence” I think is the best movie and is by my uncle Sergio Corbucci. It is one of the best Westerns I ever watched.  Together with the original “DJANGO” that Sergio Corbucci directed and where Quentin Tarantino made the remake. The funny part is that I interviewed the first AD of “DJANGO UNCHAINED” too and we have become friends.  He is the AD for Quentin Tarantino and his name is William Paul Clark. Definitely a Legendary person!

I started to be interested in movie making around the age of 14, when I was watching the TV Show “Twin Peaks” from David Lynch, and that let me really think “How is that possible that I get so much emotionally involved in a movie that is a fake representation of reality?

What is there behind movie making?” Then I start to do my first short films in Super 8mm because I was fascinated by film. With digital it is easier, but is also easier to quit a project. With Film once you start the process, you don’t want to waste that “physical material” of film rolls!

I did a few film schools, in Italy and in USA, but honestly I don’t think they are the most important element if you want to become a Director. For how romantic people think is the “job” of the Director.  In the end the definition is one and one only:

“A Director is an individual that is able to convince other people to give him money to produce his movies”

Period. It is really this simple. It is up to you how you convince producers to invest in you and your movies, and how many you are able to do.  Determination can do everything.

MLAS: Can you define what an AD is for a film?? What do they do and why are they important to the film making process?
LC:
Almost no one knows what a First Assistant Director does, but if you were to watch a First AD in action, you’d notice he is the busiest person on a set!

Set of Legendary AD "David H. Venghaus Jr."
Set of Legendary AD “David H. Venghaus Jr.”

The First AD knows everyone and have their hands in all departments. He officially helps the Director to make the movie in each detail (outside directing the actors, for example). They need to have social and organizing skills and knowledge of all elements of movie making. If there are stories to tell, they always have all the details.

Legendary AD "Burt Bluestein"
Legendary AD “Burt Bluestein”

We know everything about actors, directors and even the producers and directors of photography but nobody ever thought to interview First ADs of legendary movies to obtain their tips, advice and the stories about these classic movies that we love so much such as: “Star Wars”, “The Godfather”, “Batman”, “Superman”, “Lord of the Rings”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Mission Impossible”, “Saving Private Ryan” and many more.

Set of Legendary AD "Nilo Otero"
Set of Legendary AD “Nilo Otero”

This project, Legendary AD, it is unique. The title Legendary AD, is to remind people that these individuals are the core part of a movie, and the stories that they can tell have never been told before. The extension of this is also the fact that people now have the possibility to be part of this project, in the production of this documentary, thanks to my Kickstarter Campaign of “Legendary AD”. Included in the prizes, is even the opportunity to become Associate Producer.

Legendary AD interview of "Henry J. Lange Jr." on the set of the TV Show "Raising Hope"
Legendary AD interview of “Henry J. Lange Jr.” on the set of the TV Show “Raising Hope”

MLAS: Was there one particular person, film or situation that inspired this film on AD’s?
LC:
Yes, it is “Day for Night” by François Truffaut.  It is an old Classic movie about a crew making a movie. From there, I mixed my experience of First AD and mixed my friendships to some Legendary First AD’s, so I decided to make a movie about them. They deserve it, and it has never been done.

MLAS: How did the crew come together for Legendary AD? Tell us more about Embassies of Cinema.
LC:
Embassies of Cinema is basically a group of Film Makers that come together because they share the same passion “making movies”. The particular crew of this documentary is volunteering for Legendary AD because of the incredible stories, tips and advices of these Legendary AD’s. But of course, as soon as I sell the movie or finish this Kickstarter Campaign, I will give a good prize to each of them.

They are anyway very happy just to be part of this adventure. Embassies of Cinema also produces Fiction Feature Films, Commercials, Music Video, Corporate, Web Series and Pilots. We are like a big family that makes movie 360 days per year.

MLAS: The budget for the Kickstarter campaign seems low for a film. Is it enough money??
LC:
I already shot half of the Documentary (10 Legendary AD’s) and we need to interview 10 more that are already scheduled. A lot of work is already done, but without that money for me it is impossible to finish it.   I already invested all the money and resources I have and Kickstarter will be the real deal for us to finish this amazing project. We must make it, no options. This documentary needs to see the light.

Set of Legendary AD "Burt Bluestein"
Set of Legendary AD “Burt Bluestein”

MLAS: How will the film be distributed?
LC:
For now a few film schools have asked us for a copy for evaluation when is finished.  Plus a few other independent distributors have asked to do the same thing. We will go to Film Festivals first, then we will do the process that everybody does for Independent Documentary. The good news is this Kickstarter is already giving us a big amount of audience interested, these people will demand the movie, and helpfully a distributor will give them a right way to watch it (like Netflix or iTunes).

MLAS: I believe you know that My Life at Speed’s CEO, Greg Tracy, is a Hollywood stuntman and was named “stuntman of the year” for his work on the “Bourne Ultimatum“.   He is part of Driver’s Inc. You briefly mentioned a series of films.  What other films are you envisioning for the “Legendary” series?  Would there be a Legendary Stuntmen movie?
LC:
Yes! We had producers coming to us and ask to help to continue the Legendary series, that was an idea that we already had. They asked what will be next, and in these days we were debating what to produce next, but first we need to accomplish this first one! In the end we agreed that Legendary Stuntmen or Legendary Music Composers should be next. After a long meeting we decide the next will be Legendary Stuntmen. I am already very excited to hear the stories of these amazing people! It is such a cool job, but at the same time so dangerous. Really a unique job that is not for everybody, this make them really, really Legendary for my opinion. I can’t wait!!

MLASl You are working with some very influential AD’s, who have worked on some of the biggest blockbuster movies. Based on the trailer, the AD’s have big personalities. Are there any interesting stories or experiences that you can share with us regarding the filming of the AD’s?
LC:
It is extremely difficult to reach these people. First of all, for privacy purposes. Their emails don’t exist. No phone numbers and only agency contacts, that are not very easy to deal with.  In the beginning it was really frustrating to see this Hollywood attitude and so many “no’s”. But then, once that I met each of these Legendary AD’s, I was amazed of what beautiful and easy people they were. I was really surprised, but then I thought, if they are the most famous AD’s of the world, they must be really good in social relationships. And they are! Now it has become a bit easier because people in the field of First AD know about this documentary and they are more comfortable to meet us for the interview.

Embassies of Cinema Crew on set of Legendary AD "Burt Bluestein"
Embassies of Cinema Crew on set of Legendary AD “Burt Bluestein”

MLAS: Do you have a film that is an all-time favorite? If so, why??
LC:
Yes, “The 400 Blows” by Francois Truffaut. I have watched the movie so many times and each time I get touched so much. I can’t explain why and how, but it is happening each time. Is one of the first movies that I watched deeply when I was 19 and I am sure it is one of the last movies I will watch deeply before I die. I feel like it’s about the fact my soul is a kid, and it will never change even when I will be very old and close to pass away. I really recommend for everyone to watch this movie.

MLAS: Is there one quote that inspires you?
LC:
Yes. Actually 2 of them…the first one is from Francois Truffaut “Is cinema more important than life?” and the second is “We don’t argue if we will make movies, but how we will do it!” by me.

MLAS: Is there an AD that you wish you could meet, interview…but for whatever reason, can’t interview them??
LC: Yes many! The list is long, but for example the ones that are in Europe. We didn’t have the budget to go to Europe to interview them, and I wish we did.

MLAS: Ultimate dream as a Director…what is your passion that keeps the fire in your belly burning every day?
LC:
Even if is not really easy to admit it, because it maybe a kind of vanity… The idea to leave something in this world forever, that my kids and the kids of my kids can watch and remember me and what I did… It is my ultimate fire inside me, that drive me.

MLAS: If there was one thing you could share with our My Life at Speed audience, what would it be?
LC:
To never give up your dreams. Nothing is impossible.

The Director Leonardo Corbucci in the set of Legendary AD.
The Director Leonardo Corbucci in the set of Legendary AD.

A Final Word

Leonardo Corbucci is an Italian-born American International Award winning film-maker: director, producer, writer, editor, operator, DP and actor who worked his way from Italy to become the creative force behind the production company “Embassies of Cinema”. His feature film “Black & White in Colors” won more than 10 International Film Festivals. His complete filmography is on IMDB.

Written by CNaz

CNaz

My Life at Speed Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Chris Nazarenus, had a chance meeting with key executives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1998. It would be the "Jerry McGuire" moment that would change her life forever. Although she knew nothing about motorsports at that time, the chance meeting would influence her passion for all things fast, great stories and interesting people. That's what you will find here at My Life at Speed.

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  1. Finally a documentary about these guys! AD! I love it! Can’t wait to watch the documentary! Where can I watch it?

    • I hope the Documentary will be released on DECEMBER 2014…. 🙂 (we are doing a Kickstarter Campaign -> http://www.legendaryad.com, if it goes well it will be out on December!).

      First of all we will go to Festival and Special Screens, then hopefully we will have a distributor for TV, Home Video and Video on Demand (I wish a distributor like PBS will distribute it, ….I think it will be perfect, because this Documentary is a good balance of Educational (Who is the First AD?) and Entreatment (The Stories of the most successfully movies in Hollywood)… We will see what happen! 🙂 Stay tuned!

      -Leo

  2. ohwow! Thanks for the quick reply! I can totally see PBS distributing this movie! You should ask! Good Luck with the project and I will keep looking into!