Edd Blott: A Tale of Delight follows Michael, an illustrator who’s living with post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing his wife tragically killed. It takes place during the holiday season a year later and explores how he is coping with grief while in the middle of what’s considered the most joyous time of the year. He’s longing to celebrate with his family, but he knows that he must first make himself vulnerable and share the pain he’s feeling with others if he has any hope of healing.
SWS: Where did you find your cast?
EB: Craigslist mostly. I was surprised at how much really good talent there is on Craigslist. I had the casting notice up on various channels, but Craigslist easily had the best and, actually, I think in the end everyone I casted submitted through there. I got over 200 responses in the first 24 hours. It was crazy.
SWS: What’s your goal with the film?
EB: Like I said, it really started out as a means of working through all the chaos in me. Throughout the development process, though, how that looked had changed. The core is still the same, because of the sheer number of people NOT talking about it, it’s now a project that wants to take the audience and for 90 minutes make them feel, really feel, like they are living with PTSD. It’s a project that wants to create a voice for those who feel unable to communicate what their lives are like. Shake people up, you know. Get them to see what is being turned away from. The fact is, mental illness still carries a very heavy stigma that forces feelings of shame and loneliness. I want to attack that and make people feel okay to talk about it. I want people to watch this and afterwards be empathetic to the hurting and, ultimately, now know how to more effectively love them.
SWS: A lot of people are more familiar with PTSD because of the soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Has that influenced you wanting to make this film?
EB: Definitely, but I don’t think in the way people would expect. When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was really surprised. Clearly, if you looked at my life, I had PTSD, but it was something I kind of associated with veterans and nobody else. I felt weak that I had this label because of an experience I felt was, by comparison, trivial. I do believe this film will be incredibly helpful for veterans, because the core of the issue (feeling like you’re being “raped” by your mind) is still the same, but because the tragedy in the film isn’t war-related, I think there will be a greater acceptance from the people who have PTSD that didn’t come from a combat-related incident (job loss, divorce, rape, bankruptcy, car accident, et cetera). We also don’t list PTSD by name in the movie, which I think also allows room for other mental illnesses to fit into it. Although not named, there are other characters who have other illnesses, as well.
SWS: Any distribution plans?
EB: Although we’ll be submitting the film to various festivals, that’s not our main channel. We’re at a really exciting time in filmmaking because how readily available the technology has become. So our plan is to self-distribute A Tale of Delight thanks to the support from some excellent companies who share our vision to make a social issue film.However, our primary goal is for the hurting to find comfort and we don’t want money to get in the way of that experience. That’s why we’re actually giving the movie away, digitally and in its entirety, for free. We want it to be a gift for anyone who sees it as an effective way to address these themes.
SWS: You’re on indiegogo trying to raise $25,000. What’s that money for?
EB: Although the movie will be free, it’s certainly not free to make. We want the quality of this film to be excellent. The $25,000 covers the budget for production, post-production, and all distribution and marketing costs. That doesn’t include equipment costs as we already own our gear, but everything else is included in that. We’re talking the food for the cast and crew, production insurance, labor fees, duplication, online hosting, and anything and everything else. Something that people don’t talk about when they mention Ed Burns or any other mumblecore filmmaker is that the budget listed on these projects is usually only the production costs. Ed Burns’ film Newlyweds actually cost upwards of $120,000 when all was said and done.