Fresno Swede Fest founders help pitch 'Pacific Rim' DVD

The Fresno BeeOctober 14, 2013 

Roque Rodriguez and Bryan Harley create shot-by-shot low (or no-) budget "swedes" of major motion picture trailers. One of theirs caught the eye of the "Pacific Rim" moviemakers.

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Bryan Harley and Roque Rodriguez are the kings of the swede — the low- (or no-) budget parody film style spawned by Michel Gondry's cult film, "Be Kind Rewind."

Harley and Rodriguez started "swedeing" in 2008 and elevated the cardboard filmmaking — they use it to create everything from props and costumes to entire city-scapes — to an art form.

Their shot-by-shot remakes of block-buster movie trailers, including "The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises," "Iron Man 3" and "Pacific Rim," gained them a viral online following.

The "Pacific Rim" swede in particular has proven successful for the pair.

It caught the eye of the film's creative team, including director Guillermo del Toro, who personally invited Harley and Rodriquez to the film's Hollywood premier in July.

Legendary Pictures — the company behind the film — even asked the pair to create a series of sweded scenes to use as promotion leading up to today's DVD/Blu-Ray release of the film. The scenes can be seen on Legendary's Instagram account. Search @legendary or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/legendary.

We caught up with Harley and Rodriguez — who are getting ready for another local Swede Fest on Nov. 9 at the Tower Theatre — to talk about the project and what it means for the future of the swede.

When did you get the first inkling that Legendary was interested in working with you?

Rodriguez: We received an email out of the blue, which led to a conference call with them in which they told us they were big fans of our stuff and wanted to work with us to help push the release of "Pacific Rim" to the home video market.

Harley: We had a very short amount of time to produce the videos, so we immediately started planning and building props.

Did you change your approach any for this project?

Rodriguez: Nothing changed. We handled this no differently than something we would have done for Swede Fest. They saw what they liked. Why change the formula?

We ended up creating three new scenes from the film, each specifically designed for release on Instagram, which is a different medium than what we're used to over on YouTube.

It was a fun way to develop our skills for other social media formats. The real difference between the two was aspect ratio, because of the square shape on Instagram versus YouTube's letterbox.

The real challenge came in the editing. Basically, we had to cut it as if we were cutting for an old-school tube television format.

Does this kind of exposure help legitimize your work?

Harley: It's very cool to get feedback from the people whose films we are lampooning. I'm not sure it legitimizes what we're doing. It's still pretty goofy stuff, but at least it means we know they enjoy it! That's good enough for me.

Any plans to parlay this into other filmmaking opportunities? Perhaps a full-length swede?

Harley: Well the Legendary guys said they'd like to work with us on more projects, so we'll see what happens. I don't foresee a full-length swede.

Rodriguez: Making original films has always been our goal and we're definitely working towards that.

We're pretty excited about the direction we're headed right now, but a full-length swede is probably not in the cards.

There's only so much silliness one can take before it becomes ridiculous.

Harley: Our time limit for Swede Fest is four minutes for a reason.

Event information

Swede Fest 12 is Nov. 9 at the Tower Theatre. The deadline for entries is Monday, Nov. 4, at 11:59 p.m. Go to swedefest.com for details about the event and how to enter your own swede.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, jtehee@fresnobee.com or @Joshuatehee on Twitter or Instagram. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com

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