Borscht Corporation Remaking Scarface, 15 Seconds at a Time
When it comes to representation in film, Miami's not L.A. It's not New York City. It's not even Toronto. Compared to these overused movie locales, Miami has just a handful of productions under its belt: Chef, Pain & Gain, Bad Boys, There's Something About Mary, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
But the greatest of all these, as everybody knows, is Scarface.
The classic Pacino film has been embraced by Miamians ever since its 1983 release, and it still represents Miami to the rest of the world. What's not to love: cocaine, guns, mobsters, hot tubs, hilariously oversized lapels.
Still, a lot has changed in the three decades since Tony Montana first introduced you to his little friend. Maybe the original Scarface needs an update. And maybe you're the one to do it.
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That's the idea behind Scarface Redux, a project by the Borscht Corporation filmmaking collective that asks filmmakers and fans, both in Miami and across the world, to re-stage every damn scene in Scarface -- 15 to 20 seconds at a time. Cuban kingpin wannabes can select a short scene from the exhaustive list at scarfaceredux.com, film their own version of it, then submit it to Borscht; the collective will then choose its favorite version of each scene and splice them all together. The new, crowdsourced update to the original will be screened at the Borscht Film Festival in December.
Lucas Leyva, Borscht's Minister of the Interior, filled us in on the rest.
New Times: So you're leading a project to remake Scarface. What's wrong with the original?
Lucas Leyva: Nothing! Scarface is perfect, sublime. Scarface presents an interpretation of Miami that a lot of people still picture when they think of the city. We thought it would be a fun experiment to see how Miami would interpret Scarface in return, over 30 years later. It's our logo: the gator eats the snake eats the gator and so on and so forth forever and ever until we are under water. Instead of one persisting cinematic expression of Miami, we thought we should present 636 different ones in a context where all of them are equally valid.
Fifteen seconds is a pretty short time to make an impression. How do you suggest filmmakers set their submissions apart from the pack?
I would give filmmakers the same advice we give people applying to the festival at large: make something only you can make. If you happen to have a pet tiger, shoot Scene 407, "Come See My Pet Tiger," or Scene 408, "Tremendo Portrait." If you have a sweet '80s indoor hot tub, go for scene 436, "Head Up Your Culo." Also, don't stress about production value. The short time frame is a deliberate way to make it accessible to people who may have never made a film before that want to shoot it on a cell phone or something. It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it just needs to be fun.
Are you looking for faithful reproductions of the film, or weird remixes of the scenes? A bit of both?
Ideally the scenes stay somewhat true to the script/story so when we put all the pieces together the movie makes some sense. Aside from that, they can be as weird or faithful as they want. Personally I'm excited to see different aesthetics applied to the same source material.
How many different scenes are available in total?
636, but each scene can only be remade twice before the website prevents any more uploads. Which means people have to hurry if they want specific scenes. You know which ones I am talking about.
Who designed/created the website? Because it's gorgeous.
We went with a fantastic local company called Artisan Media. Obviously we were inspired by Casey Pugh's awesome Star Wars Uncut, but I think Artisan in collaboration with the project manager Danielle Bender made some really smart tweaks and adjustments that were true to the material.
This is the first news we've seen in awhile about the Borscht Film Festival coming up in December. Besides Scarface Redux, is there anything else you can share about this year's event?
We have some big fun announcements coming up in the next few weeks and months - if people subscribe to our mailing list [at borschtcorp.com] they will be the first to know. The only thing I will say is something we've been teasing on Twitter -- that our job on the mainland is done; we are definitely taking our talents to South Beach.
Visit scarfaceredux.com for rules (Borscht kindly requests you not use actual yeyo on screen) and to see the clips that have already been submitted, including scenes by local artists Domingo Castillo, Bleeding Palm, and even Pepe Billete.
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