On October 21, 2010, my father found out he had three weeks to live. I was coming home from an artist residency in the Netherlands, and I immediately flew to him in the hospital where I stayed until he passed away on November 18th.
My inspiration for this project is the strange but fantastic relationship I had with my father, Ludwell Wallace Denny. A Vietnam pilot who left the States when I was 10 to live and work in places like India, China, the Philippines, and Colombia, my dad loved to tell dirty jokes, court young women, and eat too much. Being a queer vegetarian feminist myself, you wouldn't think we'd get along as well as we did... Cut to: Movies! My dad and I loved to watch movies together, and that's one of the most fun activities we were able to share while I was caring for him at the end of his life.
After spending so much time sharing a room with my father in the hospital, I suddenly felt the need to move. I worked in Mexico, Germany, Denmark and Lithuania. One May morning on the Baltic Sea, I woke up and knew I had to make a film.
I figure making my first film is like initiating a dialogue with a whole
bunch of strangers. I can't think of a better way to start that conversation
than by getting naked and talking about my family!
Determined to honor my father's memory through art and storytelling, I gathered my best friends from USC film school and hit the road, this time with a little crew and a couple of cameras. I asked my good friend, Sundance-featured director Clay Jeter of JESS + MOSS (http://www.jessandmoss.com), to co-direct with me. His girlfriend, the lovely Sarah Hagan (featured on this season of 90210 as well as Freaks and Geeks and Buffy the Vampire Slayer), came along and the rest of the family fell into place.
Shot on Super 16mm and the Red, “The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had With My
Pants On” tells the story of two childhood girlfriends who
drive from Los Angeles to Austin, TX. My character, Andy, must fulfill her father's will after his sudden death by scattering his
ashes across the Southwest. Sarah plays Liv, a blossoming young actress riding along to Austin to audition for the role of a vixen spy in a noir film to be cast and shot in Texas.
Between LA and Austin, we scramble across the Mojave desert, skinny dip in Sedona AZ, make sand angels in White Sands NM, climb oil rigs in West Texas, and raise hell in Austin. We perform mini funerals within these epic landscapes, pretending to be spies as we attempt to escape the heat of the hottest August in recorded history...
"The Most Fun I've Ever Had With My Pants On" is an exciting escapade between some of our country's most beautiful State and National Parks. The story is a mix of dark comedy and romance, incorporating a lot of improvisation and encounters with strangers into the script. During these difficult times, we found that folks we met along the way were incredibly supportive and willing to participate. So far, we've shot at the Mojave Airplane Cemetery, Red Rock Canyon State Park, Sedona AZ, White Sands National Monument, the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup NM, an oil field in Lost Hills and Austin, TX. We have been incredibly inspired by our locations and the people who've helped us create moments of surreal and profound beauty along our way.
We started shooting the film in August with a 7-person crew, the money in our pockets, and a 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that kept breaking down. To get back on the road and finish the film, we have turned to Kickstarter. With your help, we can complete the movie and make this vision a reality!
Items in our budget include equipment rentals, location fees (primarily National and State Parks), props, costumes, food and lodging for our cast and crew as we travel across the country... And, of course, fixing our car and filling it up with fuel! We're shooting Super 16 mm film as well as digital, so we'll need funds to process the film. Once we've got all our footage, we'll be editing, recording our score and original soundtrack songs, mixing, and submitting our film to festivals worldwide.
I've embedded into this film many aspects of my personal life and artistic practice - from my love of movies, handmade crafts, and performance art. So we're offering a variety of rewards for different pledges, from a soundtrack featuring some of the best unsigned musicians from the LA indie scene to a copy of the movie in a handmade DVD case featuring photographs taken on our trip to a private live performance by myself and our composer Morgan Gee. Check out the rewards- There's something for everyone, and many of them will be delivered just in time for the holiday season!
You might be wondering about the title. It's a reference to one of my
father's favorite things to say.. But you'll have to watch the movie to
find out just what it was!
Born in Texas, Drew Denny chose her name at thirteen when she escaped boarding school to explore Austin’s music scene and work as a carhop at Sonic. Drew dropped out of high school twice before striking off on her own to rove the globe at eighteen, working as a documentary photographer researching the Movement of Landless Workers in Brazil and the relationship between sweatshop labor and the sex trade in Southeast Asia. Drew's interest in documentary led her to the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she graduated from the Production program with Honors. This is Drew’s first feature film!
Clay Jeter grew up in Tennessee riding go-karts off-road, converting abandoned houses into skateparks, and organizing extremely dangerous firework-battles in the outskirts of his neighborhood. He started acting as a kid and quickly became obsessed with filmmaking. While guest starring on an episode of the cult classic WALKER TEXAS RANGER, he learned how to execute the sleeper hold from WWE Legend "Hot Rod" Rowdy Roddy Piper. After attending film school at the University of Southern California, Jeter went on tour with Brooklyn-based rock band The Hold Steady to direct the documentary A POSITIVE RAGE and traveled to Africa as the co-director of photography on BOUNCING CATS, a feature-length documentary about break-dancing in Uganda. Recently, he returned home to the family tobacco farm in Western Kentucky to direct his first narrative feature film, JESS + MOSS.
Sarah Hagan is best known for her beloved recurring roles as “Millie Kentner” on the cult series FREAKS AND GEEKS and “Amanda” on the hit series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Born in Austin, Texas, she began acting at age 6, when her mother first signed her up for musical theater, and has since appeared on ALLY MCBEAL, Judd Apatow’s UNDECLARED, BOSTON PUBLIC, GREY'S ANATOMY, and MEDIUM, to name a few. She played the voices of “Lola Llama” and “Jungle Girl” on the Cartoon Network series MY GYM PARTNER'S A MONKEY. After a hiatus from acting to study painting and sculpture, Hagan has returned with a supporting role in the Warner Bros. comedy SPRING BREAKDOWN alongside Saturday Night Live cast members Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch, and the lead role in the 2011 Sundance selected indie, JESS + MOSS.
Steve Drypolcher grew up in the heart of San Francisco where he spent his childhood surrounded by artists and obsessing over movies and technology. Steve attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts where he fell into the world of music videos, working as a Director of Photography and Visual Effects Supervisor.
In 2009 Steve co-founded Bonnie Brae, a creative collective and boutique post-production studio dedicated to creating new and unique methods of making film and media. Bonnie Brae has garnered much acclaim for their work on projects for artists like Bruno Mars, Bon Iver. Lupe Fiasco, The Fray, and Bloc Party- including 5 2010 MTV VMA nominations for B.O.B’s “Airplanes”.
Will Basanta was brought up in the woods of deep southern Illinois. He became interested in visual media at an early age, restoring a deserted darkroom and teaching himself black and white photography. After studying film at the University of Southern California, he split to the mountains of northwestern Wyoming to work as a painter, explore the backcountry, climb, camp, and otherwise bum around.
Since returning to California, Will has shot music videos for artists such as John Fogerty, The Fray, Five for Fighting, Bloc Party and Bonnie "Prince" Billy, among others. He was co-director of photography with friend Clay Jeter on BOUNCING CATS, a feature documentary about break-dancing in Uganda, which is currently playing in festivals worldwide. Deeply influenced by his adventures in the woods and mountains, he has developed an organic aesthetic and an unflinching desire to explore the magical nature of moving pictures. He plans, one day, to move to Big Sur and live in a treehouse.
Born in 1984 in Lost Nation, Iowa, filmmaker and photographer Isaac Hagy chooses to focus his lens on the fringes of culture- His career in film editing began while he was still enrolled in USC when he was brought on as an editor for AN UNLIKELY WEAPON, a feature documentary about famed war photographer Eddie Adams. The film played at over 50 festivals worldwide and won numerous awards including Best Editing.
In 2009, Isaac traveled to Africa, where he produced, co-wrote, and edited a feature documentary about the positive effects of hip-hop culture in the poorest regions of Uganda. The film, BOUNCING CATS, is currently making the festival circuit while preparing for a theatrical release. Isaac’s first narrative feature is JESS + MOSS, which premiered at Sundance 2011.
MORGAN GEE is a Los Angeles based composer, sound artist and performer. Her works range from collaborations with film, theater and dance to sound installations and songwriting. Her current performance projects include Lola Loshkey (co-founder) and Erlkönig (co-founder), both projects collaborate with other mediums and create site-specific ceremonies. Past projects include Big Whup, Slumber Beast and Voice On Tape. Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA and preparatory training in Viola Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. She is currently on the faculty at the Santa Monica Conservatory of Music in Santa Monica, California.