The Kondelik brothers both wrote and directed the Asylum’s soon to be released “Airplane vs Volcano”. They grew up watching classic 80s action and horror films and at an early age were creating short films with their VHS camera. Their working bond has been strong since the beginning considering they would team up and scare their sister, as Jon will mention.
James and Jon both were writers of “A House is not a Home” along with writer Victoria Dadi (2012: Ice Age & Airline Disaster). Both James and Jon have also worked in other fields. Jon as an actor, writer, and in the casting department, and James has been an editor and writer amongst other jobs.
Now, more than ever, they work together after they started up their own production company, Dual Visions. http://www.thekondelikbrothers.com Currently Dual Visions is producing Jose Prendes’ “The Divine Tragedies,” which they will talk more about.
Quick introductions, both of you obviously have been involved with film for years. Prior to your first films, what got you into the field?
JON: We have our parents and grandmother to thank for our love of movies! Our father especially he would show us the best of the best when we were young such as: The Terminator, Robocop, Conan the Barbarian, Tremors, The Hidden(we called it the ‘Worm Movie’), Army of Darkness, and many others in that realm! We’d also watch a ton of horror films on our own like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Pet Sematery, Stephen King’s It, and anything that’d scare the shit out of our little sister. The love for film was there, but it was never a realized possible career choice until high school in our film class. Of course, we made sketches and stop-motion shorts on our VHS camcorder. So I guess that love of watching and telling stories has always been in the deep recesses of our minds.
JAMES: We both started making short films at a young age. After realizing that I spent more thought on making my films then my school work thats when it hit me (and my parents haha) that my life was for filmmaking. Jon usually acted and performed in front of the camera where i was behind. After high school I sought a career in editing.
Dual Visions has been around for several years, what made you decide to start up your own company?
JON: It kinda goes back to the saying “If you want it done right–do it yourself.” We’ve learned a lot from working at a film studio and we’re applying what we’ve learned on to the films we want to make. This way the only people who we’ll be answering to are ourselves.
JAMES: I think Jon and I decided that we wanted to make and produce our own material after working on so many films.
We really wanted to make the films that challenges us as filmmakers while showing audiences something new and thrilling.
“Airplane vs Volcano” is the first Asylum film you both wrote and directed. http://www.theasylum.cc/product.php?id=243
How was the writing process, were you both on the same page, have completely opposite ideas and meet in the middle, or was it relatively painless pounding out the script?
JON: The writing process is very collaborative between development and the three executives. From conception to filming the span of time was 9 months. Both my brother and I passed on the idea at first, but when we heard no one could figure it out how to make it work we asked each other “if we did make it how would we do it?” That conversation led to a lot of questions which resulted in us laughing our balls off! Then, we made a beat list of problems and solutions. The direction we ended up aiming for was “SPEED” in the air! The script was pretty much there after draft 4 and from then on we just nitpicked dialogue. When it comes to my brother and I we’re both honest and we have no problem telling the other person the pages suck! My brother James quickly noticed the pages I wrote in the morning were terrible and the pages I wrote in the evening on no sleep were great!
JAMES: The writing process was really fun and challenging. When we were first given the title ‘Airplane vs Volcano’ we knew it was a challenge and almost turned it down…but we discovered an idea that we loved and asylum did too.
We went back and forth in development for about 9months till production began.
Jon and I usually brought different elements or ideas to the table that balanced the film out. Of course being twin brothers we can disagree but we always find a middle ground that is even better than previous ideas.
We knew throughout the entire process that the film we wanted to make was a fun, fast action packed film with some emotional scenes but not take the whole thing too serious. Challenging balance. Hopefully we’ve succeeded.
How was it directing the film together?
JON: My brother James and I have a protocol we follow on set. His main focus is the Camera and mine is performance. We’ll have notes for each other of course, but we did it this way to avoid confusion for everyone else dealing with identical twin directors. Several times on the shoot we’d turn to each other and say, “I’m so glad you’re here because I couldn’t have done it without you.” We’d very much lean on each other and cover the other’s back.
JAMES: Directing together was fun. We could divide and conquer as we liked to say on set. We can talk to other departments all at the same time.
Overall we liked joking around on set with each other, with the cast and crew. Everybody was serious but also knew to have fun. If every set we work on was like that we’d be forever happy.
Surrounding a set with laughter and enthusiasm certainly rubs off on everyone. You get better performances and morale stays up.
We also were encouraging of our actors to chime in with their thoughts and ideas. We love it when actors improv a line or make a choice onset that makes their character unique.
Jon and I were also challenged to shoot in these small spaces: the plane set and military control room. Both had us get creative with our DP Alex Yellen to keep shots fast, exciting and interesting. And i think we’ve managed to pull off quite alot considering.
Dual Visions is producing “Divine Tragedies” that was written and will be directed by Jose Prendes. Can you tell us about the film and what made this film so appealing to make you produce it?
JON: The idea has been in Jose’s head forever and it kinda came back to his mind when we watched the film “Compulsion” with Orson Welles. It was a great intense film about two college buddies killing for the intellectual experience of it! Afterwards, I knew we had to make this movie!
Divine has similar themes, but a different vibe in the vein of David Chronenberg or David Lynch. Plus, our cast is great! We have Ken Foree (Lords of Salem, Devil’s Rejects) as Detective Homer Gaul, Barbara Crampton (You’re Next, Reanimator) as the boys’ mother Mrs. Brubaker, Sean Whalen(Twister, Halloween 2) as the foul-mouthed drug addict, Druggie Dougie, Hannah Levien(Children of Sorrow)as the lovely waitress/target Genevieve.The thing that attracted me the most was the bizarre nature of it and the relationship between our two brothers that decide to commit murder, but are torn apart because of it. At the end of the day, I think after all the craziness in this film people will actually feel for our characters.
JAMES: The Divine Tragedies is a bizarre psychological thriller with hints of Cronenberg and Lynch. We’ve worked with Jose before and love his work! When he told us about his script we knew we wanted to be involved and make this film with him.
It’s a bizarre serial killer film unlike most. There’s a certain disturbing, unsettling tone but still manages to pack some dark humor here and there.
We wrap production on the 14th and will begin post production. So keep an eye and ear out for this one! Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on our progress. Thanks!
A huge thanks to Jon and James and be sure to check out later this month “Airplane vs Volcano” and follow the production of “The Divine Tragedies” on the films Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/divinetragediesmovie?ref=br_tf