Filmmaker’s Name:  Bears Fonté

Film Title:  Roadside Assistance

Film TRT:  7 min.

Genre(s):  Thriller

In 50 words or less, what is your film about?

Don’t take a ride from just any passing car.  Also, don’t pick up just any hitchhiker. A cautionary tale about dangers on the side of the road.

What inspired you to make this particular film? 

The idea behind the film is based on the Indian version of the Succubus. Unlike the western version, which casts these female sex vampires in pretty negative light, in India, the ‘Yakshi’ is often a woman who has been wronged by a man (usually killed during rape), and wandered abandoned roads until they could have their revenge. This revenge was usually not on the person who wronged them, but rather some other male who just happened to be passing by. I took this legend and put it in a modern context, and made the women, well, not dead, and able to actually save someone in trouble. I wanted to spin the usual stalker and prey set-up and see how we could toy with the audience about who is good and who is bad. I also liked the idea of ‘sex as a weapon’ – which is always a part of vampire and succubus stories – and making that a force for good.

What’s the best experience you had making this film?  What’s the worst?  Why?

I think it had to be when our sound guy got a rock in his wheel rim and had to get Roadside Assistance. Or when the random stranger walked by with a bag over her shoulder, looking almost exactly like our lead actress, on this deserted road in the middle of nowhere.

In your opinion, what’s the best film ever made?  The worst?  Why?

“Demolition Man,” hands down.  You decide which. The reason for either is because you don’t know about the three seashells!

RE: a short bio… Tell us about your start in filmmaking.  Who are your heroes?  Did you get your start as an actor? A screenwriter? A grip?

I began as a stage director and directed over 50 plays and even got my MFA in directing before I realized that I was too much of a control freak to be happy with performances changing every night, and too much of an egotist to be satisfied with no permanent record of my work. I started writing screenplays and ended up in Hollywood as a script reader – I’m responsible for a few embarrassing films getting greenlit. My first feature iCrime (staring this same lead actress) was released on DVD, VOD and streaming by Breaking Glass/Vicious Circle Films in 2011. I served as the Director of Programming for Austin Film Festival for three years before founding my own SciFi film festival, Other Worlds Austin.  I also program the Midnighters for San Francisco IndieFest, am the Creative Director for St. Lawrence International Film Festival in upstate NY, and consult on film festivals all over the country.

Tell us about your connection to Mississippi.  If you don’t have one, why did you choose to enter Crossroads Film Festival?

This film was shot in Northwest Louisiana and so it has a particular connection to the region, Xroads appealed to me because of their support of short films, including genre films. This will be the film’s Mississippi premiere.

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