May 25 | Author: Mike Plante
Jerry and Mike Thompson were born and raised in Las Vegas and have written and directed over a dozen award winning short films together. THOR AT THE BUS STOP is their first feature and was inspired by two of their more successful shorts.
Every story is a chain reaction, this one starts with Thor, the God of Lightning at a suburban bus stop.
This interview was conducted with Mike Thompson:
Tell us briefly about the film’s story, and what that means to you.
I’d say the Thor at the Bus Stop story line is best described as a chain reaction of story lines. Every character in the film has their own story, and as the film progresses the stories mix. The structure of the film is set up like a relay race. One character interacts with another and the baton is passed, which starts a new storyline. Similar themes pop up in each story: Themes about goodness, how content we are to be strangers, and the power of cool.
Why did you want to make a film in Las Vegas?
Me and Jerry were both born and raised in Las Vegas, so the Las Vegas we know is very different from the one people see on TV and in the movies. When we started THOR AT THE BUS STOP we really wanted to show that other side of our home. Vegas is a very strange looking town when you break away from the strip, the suburbs here have a very unique look. It’s this kind of half desert, half faux-utopian greenish, stucco, industrial wasteland. It looks like someone trying to recreate the American Midwest on Mars. I think it’s beautiful, and I really wanted to make a movie that captured that. I think we did with THOR.
Tell us about your cast and crew.
A large part of our cast had their parts written specifically for them. They are extremely talented actors we’ve known a very long time. Most of the crew was family and friends, and a lot of film school buddies… We pretty much called in every favor we had to get this movie made.
What is the role of a film festival to you?
I’d say the role of a film festival is to show people movies they most likely would never even hear about.
Do you gamble?
I don’t gamble, growing up with it everywhere killed the magic a long time ago.
From producer David Schmoller, a longtime director on his own and professor at UNLV:
Tell us briefly about the film’s story, and what it means to you.
Growing up, my mother, who was a profoundly unhappy person, had this expression: “People are just no damned good” (which is a cousin to another
popularly accepted expression: “No good deed goes unpunished.”). As I developed the basic fundamental values of my own life, I adamantly rejected
the tenents of these expressions – even as I began to see why they are
widely held beliefs as I grew older. At the core of THOR AT THE BUS STOP is
an affirmation and confirmation of the better side of human nature. Yes,
THOR is upset that he is going to have to die to save the world, especially
because he believes that no one will care. But, if fact, they do care.
Lolly gives him a flower to make him feel better – and she thanks him for
saving the world. Most of the main characters are changed for the better,
directly or indirectly because of THOR. But, never-mind all that – it’s a
comedy. Have a good laugh.
How did living in Las Vegas affect the film?
We intentionally did not want to identify our location as Las Vegas. People
make too many associations with Las Vegas that we didn’t want to let in and
interfere with our story. One brief aside: unfortunately, the only time
the four partners could film was in the dead middle of summer – when it
averages 115 degrees. Shooting the film was physically brutal.
What do you think the role of a film festival is?
1) It gives the film a public screening and a public acknowledgement of some
worth – and affords many people who worked so hard to be rewarded.
2) It possibly gives the film additional legs to pursue more opportunity for
public exposure; either via more film festivals or even distribution of some
Do you gamble?
You can’t really live in Las Vegas – and gamble (although, obviously, many
people do). The house has the odds.
2009 CineVegas Film Festival screenings:
Saturday June 13 – 5:30 PM
Monday June 15 – 6:00 PM