Interview with Peter Boiadzhieff about Braaking Newz
By: Darida Rose
We had a chance to sit down with Peter Boiadzhieff, the writer and director of Braaking Newz, a hilarious parody of a news program. The short has received accolades from numerous film festivals and Peter is in fact one of the characters. Thank you for having a chat with us, Peter.
Darida Rose, Phoenix Journal (PJ): In your work, you focus a lot on news parody and stand up. What inspired you to make this short?
Peter Boiadzhieff (PB): I tried to make very serious movie even love drama, but always ended up like a comedy or parody, also I am not a big fan of the true story movies. This is for another topic, what inspire me to make “Braaking Newz”, when I began filming I had just half page of the script and have no idea what I am doing, but with the help of my imaginary friend I was able to complete entire short movie.
(PJ): Could you tell us a bit about the stand-up routine we see at the Punchline Club? Was that staged or a real set?
(PB): The stand-up routine in the movie is a live performance at graduation night, where different people performed comedy. We got prepared for the stand-up routine, 6 weeks before that night by legendary father of comedy Jeff Justice. He is the best one in Atlanta who can teach you how to be funny, even when you are not.
The Punchline club is the famous comedy club in Atlanta, most of the famous comedians performed here in Atlanta, like Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Dane Cook, Jeff Foxworthy, you can check for reference in Wikipedia here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Punchline .
I still practice my comedy routine from time-to-time in open mike comedy in other places. (PJ): You focus on a number of popular American themes in this short: whiskey, Bigfoot, presidential elections, the commercialization of Christmas. Is this meant to be a sort of parody of American culture from the point of view of a newcomer?
(PB): The culture here is very interesting, but not so much different from the place that I am coming from. I do not feel like a newcomer, but more like a dreamer. It is more a point of view of a dreamer, that I came from a small-town Petrich, Bulgaria to USA in the capital of city Atlanta in Georgia. Some one can say I had a dream but for me is I am living the dream, drinking whiskey, playing as Bigfoot, running as President, Comedian. About the Christmas holiday this is a very bad topic for me, I had bad memories about it, but let say I wanted to make a point that you do not need to have expensive gifts in order to celebrate Christmas Day. By the way, why I need to wait for Christmas day, in my opinion, when you are healthy, had enough money, and great friends every day is Christmas day! In other words, I don’t want to be normal, I want to live for the moment! (PJ): A number of the most popular shows on American television are a sort of crossover between news and entertainment (I’m thinking of shows like Last Week Tonight, etc). Is Braaking Newz making the point that a lot of news in the US is treated more like entertainment that as something serious?
(PB): Well this is very interesting question, yes there is the entertainment part always in any show, even in the news. For example, the news from tv like 11 Alive, or CBS News are very serious, I did not saw any gimmicks, just great news. However, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a show and I love it, and he talks for very interesting topics, where the comedy and entertainment became a naked truth. To make point of what news is serious or what news is not, was not my goal, lets the audience decide that. Even the “Braaking Newz” is as parody there is some truth and if you are watching carefully the movie you might be able to see it. For example, Chris Boiadzhief is running for president it is more of a metaphor that he can be whatever he wants to be, and so do you, only if they give you a chance. (PJ): Can you tell us about the production? How long did it take? Were there any surprises on set?
(PB): Even the film is short up to 30 minutes, it took almost a year to be completed. I filmed in few locations like Chattanooga and Ocoee, Tennessee. There were not a lot of surprises because I filmed just with few people the different scenes. Pretty much one person camera and crew. One of the surprises was that the actors showed up and Moli as (Anna) and Shaina (Lorra) are very talented actress. In fact, the original idea was to have man and woman, I talked with casting agent that I met in one photo shoot, she promises to find the actors, but they simply did not show up, then I found Moli as (Anna) and Shaina (Lorra), modified the script and the rest is history.
(PJ): Molly and Shaina do a great job as dysfunctional news anchors. Was all of their material scripted, or was some improvised?
(PB): The material was script for both Moli as (Anna) and Shaina (Lorra). However, they did a fantastic job and they added their own ideas and made it to look more authentic.
(PJ): What are your plans in the near future? Do you have any plans to turn Braaking Newz into a series?
(PB): Yes, I do. I finished another episode with Stephen, where we are talking very serious, and I am working on episode with Paul and Brittany Black, very talented actors. (PJ): Why do you think Americans are so interested in Bigfoot?
(PB): The Bigfoot is a huge in America and people love to talk about mysteries, even we have Expedition Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum, that is located in 1934 Hwy 515, Blue Ridge, GA 30513, I am not making this up it is a real place just 50 miles from my house. I visited the museum several times and I am fascinating with the information and with the stories, I love it. One day I will create very realistic BigFoot in my next movie.