Oct 13, 2021
Onur Tukel is an actor,
screenwriter, producer, director, musician, painter, graphic
novelist, and children’s book author. His previous films
starring Sandra Oh and Anne Heache,
Black Magic for White Boys. His most recent film is
Scenes From an Empty Church, starring
Kevin Corrigan and Thomas Jay Ryan, Max Casella, and Paul
What you will learn:
- The hustle required to be an
indie filmmaker, and the uncertainty that comes with the job, even
with numerous successful projects under his belt. How he is able to
incorporate taboo or controversial themes in his films and still
find funding. Why he prefers New York over L.A., despite
potentially missing out on career and film opportunities in L.A..
- What it was like growing up in
North Carolina as the son of Turkish immigrants, making movies with
friends and eventually creating his first independent film,
House of Pancakes, at
age 24. The faith he had in his 2001 film
the harsh lessons learned about the film world when it was shelved.
Onur discusses his eclectic filmography and the challenge of
finding audiences for all of his work. [15:21-28:49]
- Talking shop, Onur reveals his
camera preferences and style of filming. What it was like to
Scenes From an Empty Church with quarantine restrictions, what inspired him
to make a pandemic-centered movie in the middle of pandemic, and
why the film was a conscious shift from his previous style of work.
- Onur reveals plans for his next
film project, an absurdist horror/comedy, and touches on the deeper
aspects of why he is compelled to express himself creatively. How
he is able to be so prolific creatively in times of darkness, when
other creatives tend to shut down and experience writer’s block.
How invaluable having a creative partner (or benevolent competitor)
can be, and how sadness can serve as fuel for art.
- How his personal views and
perspectives are reflected in his work. How Onur worked to
Scenes From an Empty Church a film that anyone, regardless of religious
belief, can enjoy and find common ground with the collective trauma
caused by the pandemic. How Onur weaved themes of the soul and the
afterlife into the film. [1:00:16-1:16:27]
- Onur gets candid about his
writing process, his struggles, and the creative tools he has
gathered over the years. His perspective on the importance of
geographic location as it relates to success in the film industry.
Onur also provides creative advice for aspiring filmmakers.
- The story behind Onur’s
infamous appearances on Doug Benson’s podcast, what led him to being kicked off of
that podcast (twice), and the lessons he learned from those