Roasting the indies 

If the indie filmmaking community had a friar’s roast, Chris Gore would be its master of ceremonies. Creator of Film Threat magazine, host of IFC’s trivia show Ultimate Film Fanatic and author of numerous guides to the festival scene, the Royal Oak-born and -bred film geek has carved a niche for himself in Hollywood as a sort of Gen-X answer to Roger Ebert.

“I don’t feel like a superhero, but I know what it’s like to have dual identities,” Gore says. Now, after more than 20 years of covering the industry, he’s segueing into yet another identity: that of independent filmmaker. As the co-writer and producer of the raunchy spoof My Big Fat Independent Movie, Gore is gleefully biting the hand that feeds him, sending up the tropes that defined the genre: greasy, briefcase-toting hit men (Pulp Fiction), cutesy, lovelorn French girls (Amelie), convenience-store philosophers (Clerks, The Good Girl) and, of course, dozens of earnest lesbians (Go Fish).

“The film is like a love letter to independent film — in the form of a fart joke,” he says. It’s a genre long overdue for satire, but it’s Gore’s belief that the broad comedy will appeal as much to fans of Adam Sandler or the Scary Movie series as it will to devotees of Magnolia, Memento and Pi. Indeed, being one of the first publications to cover the festival scene in-depth and to give serious credence to burgeoning talents like Quentin Tarantino, Film Threat in part created the audience for My Big Fat Independent Movie. It’s an irony not lost on Gore, who says that his background — not only as a chronicler of the indie scene but as an industry outsider as well — has helped him cut through the clichés of the business, whether he’s working in TV, film or print.

“I found the transition to making films actually to be the easy part — in fact I was shocked, I wish I began making films sooner,” he says. “The difficult part has been the perception of the media of me as a game show host, or as a guy who’s done Film Threat for years.”

But Gore doesn’t care about perceptions, so long as he can do the things he’s always wanted to do: writing, producing and directing films. “If my career proves anything, it’s that I’m really good at shooting myself in the foot,” he laughs.


My Big Fat Independent Movie opens Friday, Nov. 4, at the Emagine Theater Canton, 39535 Ford Rd. (half-mile east of I-275); 734-721-3456.

Michael Hastings is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]

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