Learn about film distribution and financing from two of New Orleans most prolific and successful indie filmmakers.
The Swider Brothers are a seasoned team of real brothers, John Swider and Joe Swider who have been making movies for over ten years. Their first movies involved the synchronization of underwater cinematography with music which culminated in the “Vistas in Blue” series. With this behind them, they moved on to their first narrative project, the featurette “Zephyr”. At 42 minutes, Zephyr was a high seas caper following a tomb raider in his search for a golden idol. The movie was filmed in several locations to include Buenos Aires, Argentina, Washington, DC, and the small Puerto Rican island of Mona.
Upon the completion of Zephyr, the Swider Bros. felt they now possessed the know-how to compete with other filmmakers in the making of short films. The 48 Hour Film Project (a competition held in multiple cities around the globe) offered them the perfect opportunity to do just that. Always mindful of getting the highest production value out of their cast, crew, and equipment, they entered the short “Alien Expose” in 2007. It won the Audience Choice Award in the New Orleans competition that year. A defining aspect of that film, was their use of underwater cinematography, which had not been seen in the competition up until that time.
Following this accolade, the brothers decided to push the limits again and teamed up with cinematographer John Lands aka John Latier (Tell Tale Heart), in the making of a feature film. Together they decided to attempt something extraordinary for an independent outfit – making a full feature on the revolutionary Red One camera system, the system previously used to make high quality commercials. Having realized that their strong suit was comedy, the Swider Bros., with the help of Collette Delacroix, wrote the comedy “Girls Gone Gangsta”. A sample of the script was pitched to comedic legend John Goodman, who signed on for the role of Mortimer J Hamm. Avoiding many pitfalls from limited budgets, productions house problems, pesky middlemen, and so forth the brothers successfully finished the film, brought it the American Film Market, and eventually inked out a favorable distribution deal with Phase 4 Films. “Girls Gone Gangsta” has been shown through out North America on numerous cable providers as well as iTunes and Amazon. The foreign distributor Meridian Films saw the comedic potential, and reworked it for the Japanese market where it was shown under the name “Samurai Angels”.
After the success of “Girls Gone Gangsta”, the Swider Brothers continued to compete and hone their skills making short films for the 48HFP. These included such titles as “Grindhouse Day” aka “E=MC Dead”, “The Ripple Effect”, “Night Shift”, and “Theraphobia”, which won the Audience Choice Award in the 48 Hour Film Project for 2011. All together, these short films won more combined awards than any other team in the history of the New Orleans 48HFP. “The Ripple Effect” also went on the win the prestigious Directors Choice Award at the Rincon International Film Festival in 2009. The Swider Bros. recently won the Directors Choice Award again in 2012 with their short road film “Lighthouse To Lighthouse”, which featured a father and son team as they set out to break a land speed record in a 1929 Ford Model A roadster.