FANTASTIC FEST Interview: Brad Abrahams & Matt Ralston, LOVE AND SAUCERS


While at Fantastic Fest, I was lucky enough to meet and spend some time with the director and producer of LOVE AND SAUCERS, Brad Abrahams and Matt Ralston respectively, the lovely documentary about one man’s life long experiences of close counters told via impressionistic paintings. Please check out the conversation that I was blessed to have below.

Film Classics Virgin: I had a chance to watch LOVE AND SAUCERS, and from the trailer, I thought “Wow, this is going to be wacky! And then when I watched the film, I found it be no nonsense, a level headed look at his life. I’m a super skeptic, so I wanted to know where you both at in regards to that (level of skepticism)?

Brad Abrahams: For me personally, going into it and before meeting David, it was similar to you. All I had known from him sounded utterly bizarre and unbelievable. And then as soon as I met him, like within the first 5 minutes, that had changed. He completely disarms you with how down to earth he is, how matter of fact he is, and genuine. Within the first day of meeting him, several years ago, this is a guy that’s not making anything up, as it pertains to his genuine experience, and he’s so generally an honest person. So I felt that I need to document the film that way. With the trailer, on its face, it sounds so unbelievable so you have to walk it back and present it as it is.

FCV: How exactly did you come across David?

B: It was actually just by chance, listening to a random podcast on a cross country bus trip through Thailand. I knew that I had hours and hours to kill, so I loaded up my iPod with podcasts. This happened to be one about alien abductees. And they mentioned him, but just one line. But it sounded so unbelievable that I made a mental note of it. And then I began the difficult process of tracking him down as he has little to no internet presence, and I guess he didn’t want to be tracked down. But I pitched him the film project idea and he seemed open to it. But our very first Skype conversation started, as the film does, he said “Well, Brad, I don’t know much, but I do know for certain that I lost my virginity to an extraterrestrial at seventeen.”

FCV: …And it was downhill from there. Helluva way to break the ice.

FCV: When you first met him, was the film always the plan?

B: Yeah, when we first talked, we heard from him that he actually had something to explore for a fiction film. Years back, he had written a one-man play called “UFO.” A theatrical play that was rejected immediately out of hand by everyone that it was submitted to. They would send it back to him torn in half. So, as we were doing the documentary process he started to realize “I’m not sure about how the film is going to look or how I’m going to be portrayed. So I’m going to write a script that’s 100 percent faithful to what happened to me.” So he’s just been writing and writing, all by hand. In about 10 or 15 tiny notebooks. It all would be a great starting place for a fiction film for sure.

FCV: Beside this film, I did see that you’ve done one other documentary. What has led you more to the documentary side as opposed to narrative films?

B: We both come from the commercial production side of things. Where everything is slick, precious, and there is so much pressure. If there is one little thing wrong, it’s catastrophic. There is so much pre-planning. Like if you’re doing a beer or a soda commercial, you’re working on every little bubble on the side of the glass. In the advertising world, documentary style started to catch on, and it was so liberating. And eventually I was able to start expressing that outside of the advertising world. I’m 100 percent convinced that truth is stranger than fiction. Everyday there is an untold wealth of stories, ideas, people, or movements to unleash upon the unwitting public.

Matt Ralston: I think that with documentaries, you get to discover the story as you go. Not everything is planned out. You’re not executing off of a script. You’re talking to people and finding out interesting things while in that discovery process. That’s what I love about documentaries. You just put yourself out there.

B: Like that movie ICARUS about bicycling and doping. The story just keeps changing and changing.

M: So, who knows? David’s story may end up continuing and we’ll have to do an addendum.

FCV: That would be amazing!

M: He did tell us that the aliens approved of the film! Yeah, he said that they contacted him and said that they liked the movie.

FCV: Was it Crescent, herself?

B: It was just the beings. That’s what he said. So I’m not sure if it was just a vague impression that he got.

FCV: Well, that has to feel good.

M: I think that we’re the first film to be approved by extraterrestrials.

FCV: That is glowing praise. Probably literally GLOWING praise.

B: Well, we also don’t want to incur the wrath and become potential abductees.

FCV: The artwork itself is so inspirational, and with your advertising background, you were really able to focus on the miniscule aspects of the work. There is just so much on the paintings, and it gives you such a strong idea of where he’s coming from. There is such a perspective behind it that isn’t explained anywhere else. That is another thing that I loved about his story was that it was so personal and it was his truth. I’ve always felt that a lot of abductee stories were explainable, via mental illness or other things that can be explained. But from his story, it didn’t come across that way at all.

M: It’s really nice having a built in story telling device for the project. It’s about his story, but it’s also about his paintings. To focus on the paintings, it had to be the right way to go.

B: It’s a gift. Truly. When we first walked into the room, at first I didn’t know how many he had done. But we were quickly aghast at his body of work. It’s such a tiny studio that is just stacked five deep, with a hundred or more of these paintings. And every time that we go back, there’s new ones that we’ve not seen, and he’s forgotten about. Just an endless gift, these paintings.

M: And he doesn’t hang up anything or display them at all. He paints them and then puts them against the wall.

FCV: And that’s one thing that I love. He’s not doing this for fame. He just needs to get his history out.

M: It is very therapeutic for him. That’s the main goal. To get these memories out of his head so he can process and deal with it.

FCV: To wrap things up, what are you guys working on next?

M: So, our new project is about cryptozoology. Are you familiar with that?

FCV: Like Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster…

M: Exactly. Our take on this is that we are going to hang out with the cryptozoologists themselves, instead of the monsters, or cryptids as they are known. We’ve secured the top people in this field that make a profession out of it, and we’re going to document their research and how they go about their work, their careers and how they’ve got into cryptozoology. Tell the story through their eyes, because it’s never been portrayed on film in a serious manner that we have ever seen. Most TV shows don’t even take it that seriously. And it’s always about the FINDING. Finding Bigfoot, the search. And don’t get me wrong, I like those shows, but there is definitely another side that hasn’t been taken seriously.

B: And as you can imagine, all of these studiers are very serious, but they are also extreme characters. They are all fascinating people to begin with. And to devote your adult life to something that fringe, you have to be a bit out there.

M: And they are all pretty self aware too. They embrace it and understand that there is a fun side to it, but there is a serious side to their research.

Check out cryptozoologist.org for more information on their next film and see how you can get involved in the Kickstarter to get it up and running!

And if you’ve fallen in love with David’s artwork, as I have, they are also offering limited edition prints of some of his paintings on the film’s website here.

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