Updated (September 4, 2018): The following interview originally took place in July, 2018. We’ve updated the information at the bottom of the article ahead of the film’s Shanghai premiere at The Pearl later this month.
EastIndie: Your latest film, Little Milo, what is it about?
Drago Lazetich: It’s a story about character named Charlie living in Berkeley, California who gets caught up in the debates and conflict surrounding the 2016 US presidential election.
EI: Why did you want to make this film?
DL: For me, as an artist, I believe our voices are the art, so with this film it should speak for itself. I wrote it about a year after the whole Trump election and what was going on in the States. I wanted to shoot something that wasn’t the usual and I wanted to hold up a mirror—that’s all I wanted to do to everybody—as a reflection of society.
It’s the real deal, like let’s go down the rabbit hole.
EI: You’ve billed the project as something you call a ‘red pill genre’ film. What is a red pill film?
DL: It’s borrowed from the red pill and the blue pill in the Matrix. It’s kind of like a reality type of film—what people think in their minds without any kind of censorship, just being real, just being human. The blue pill is just to continue with what you’re doing the way it is and the red pill is reality-based—it’s the real deal, like let’s go down the rabbit hole.
EI: Are there other red pill films out there?
DL: There are some videos that are kind of red pill films and I’ve encountered a form of red pill film before, images or ideas, but that’s it. I don’t know any other film that’s doing the same kind of stuff. For independent film, you’ve gotta push the envelope as a filmmaker. You have to come up with something that will draw attention to your art form. At the end of the day, as an independent filmmaker you need to be able to be recognized just to give your thoughts.
EI: Where did you come up with the idea for Little Milo?
DL: We had a group of friends together and we were coming up with some ideas and thinking about politics and the global village. All of a sudden this idea, it just popped into my head. It came out very quickly—I wrote it and then one thing led to another. It was just a smooth ride actually compared to my other projects—it was just meant to happen. That’s the only way I could describe it. I wrote the script, found the right people, went out and shot it, edited it, and I was just lucky enough to make it happen.
EI: What was the initial response from the cast and crew what you handed them the script?
DL: I didn’t show everybody the script. I just gave it to the above-the-line guys. Everyone liked it. Everyone said it was edgy and current—it’s what art is for.
I think people were just excited to be part of something that was different and to push their talent and make it artistic.
EI: How long did it take to make the film?
DL: It took us five days of production and a month-and-a-half of post-production of editing. We shot it in Shanghai, but we cheated a bit as it was supposed to be set in Berkeley, California.
EI: What was the most challenge part about making the film?
DL: Hardest part was just the first day getting everyone together and getting them on the same page. But, they went with it. They went with my vision. The main actors had to approve of it and I rehearsed with them for a whole month before. When it comes to the actual subject matter I think people were just excited to be part of something that was different and to push their talent and make it artistic.
EI: Many of the scenes in the film involve characters debating about numerous hot-button issues. Why did you take this approach to the subject matter?
DL: I always look at the debates like this—you have two cases, you’re the judge and all I want to see is evidence to support your position. If you’re saying something to me and you’re trying to convince me, you can’t base it on, “I feel…, I feel…, I feel…” You have to say, this is the evidence, this is the smoking gun, these are the numbers, this is based on what we know. You have to show me evidence and proof. And, I think in debates, people lose that.
EI: What has the response been from people who have seen the film so far?
DL: So far the reviews have been very good even from friends regardless what background or political perspective they have. If you’re for free speech, that’s it. If you’re for free artistic creativity, free thought process, then you’ll be OK with it. If you have your own agenda, then you might be triggered, but I think good art should be able to do both—to make you think and to trigger you. I’m not triggering people with gore or shock value. I’m just triggering them with thought process.
This is just the beginning part of Little Milo’s journey.
EI: What is the plan for the film now that it’s done?
DL: The first year we just want to enter the international film festivals and after that first year launch it to the public. We’ve entered about twenty of them. They’re on-going in the next nine months or so. We’re at the start of the whole process. This is just the beginning part of Little Milo’s journey.
EI: Lastly, what do you want to work on next?
DL: I’d like to do a feature version of Little Milo and possibly shoot it in Berkeley, to try to raise capital for something like that. I guess that’s the next step. It depends on how much interest it gets. You know what—let’s do this as a feature or let’s do this as a TV show, if there’s interest I’m all for that. We’ll find out as we start screening at the film festivals.
Little Milo is set to premiere at the Action on Film Festival as part of the Las Vegas Megafest in August. Visit their website here for details. For more information about Little Milo, or to watch the trailer (VPN required), check out their FilmFreeway page here. You can also view Drago Lazetich’s director’s reel right here.
Updated (September 4, 2018): See Little Milo and meet with the cast and crew at a special event hosted at The Pearl in Shanghai on Thursday, September 20, 2018. Doors at 7:30PM. Screening at 9:00PM. Check the poster for details and scan/extract the QR code or contact Daniel Drescher via WeChat at DDresch to find out how to buy tickets in advance.