Ghostbusters is my favorite film of all time. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid. It was my favorite film then, and it remains so today. Heck, my second novel is greatly inspired by the films, and the monster hunters motif they employ.
Claire and Anthony Bueno are a brother and sister team of professional filmmakers who, like me and so many others the world over, love Ghostbusters – and they even enjoy Ghostbusters II (which I also love). That makes them alright in my book.
For over eight years, they’ve been working on an independent documentary about both of the classic Ghostbusters films, and have taken their efforts to Kickstarter to finish the project. They’ve amassed an impressive amount of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with the cast and crew, and are poised to deliver the ultimate documentary on the film franchise. Anthony agreed to answer a few questions about the project.
What do the Ghostbusters films mean to you?
Anthony: Well, it’s a representation of our childhood and it really is everything you expect from a film when you go to the cinema. You go on an emotional journey, it scares you, it makes you laugh and ultimately you have a story and characters that you 100% invest in.
Why start a project like Cleanin’ Up the Town?
Ghostbusters is my favorite film and I have always loved making-of’s; I particularly admired the depth Peter Jackson went into with the Lord of The Rings behind the scenes, it was fascinating. I’d obviously seen a lot of other retrospective documentaries and I thought, why not do one about Ghostbusters? I know it like the back of my hand and there hasn’t been an in-depth making-of about the films, particularly Ghostbusters II. I’m a filmmaker, my sister Claire is a film presenter and interviewer, so once we decided to embark on the project there was no turning back.
What will this documentary bring to the Ghostbusters fan community?
A step back in time and re-visit these films. As you can see from the trailer, we’ve gone to great lengths to capture that same aesthetic and mood that transports you, that reignites your love for the films. It’s an opportunity to provide answers to questions and to delve deeply into the inspirations of the film from the creative and technical aspects of making it. They’re such a big part of 80’s popular culture. The fans will have the opportunity to hear from the horse’s mouth (over 70 interviews in fact) the funny stories and in-depth details of the productions. We also have a plethora of unseen footage and photos that are truly going to wow the fans. We can’t wait to show you!
How did you get access to the stars for interviews, and how did you get access and rights to use the archived footage from the films?
IMDb pro came to the rescue. We literally went through the list of cast and crew and reached out; then prayed that someone would say yes! We were also fortunate that people enjoyed the interviews and therefore contacted their colleagues and urged them to be on board.
Rights, that’s a very good question but difficult to answer at this stage as we’ve not yet completed the doc and haven’t yet decided what, if any, of the films will be included, however we do have access to a lot of the crew’s private collection, which we hope audiences will really respond to.
When did you interview Harold Ramis? How long was it before his passing?
Ah dear, dear Harold. One of the genuinely true highlights of making this film. We interviewed him back in May 2009 in his Chicago office before he became ill. It was five years before he passed.
What was it like speaking with Dan Aykroyd about the films’ “real-world” supernatural and occult influences?
Speaking to Dan was fascinating, he had brought his Dad’s book The History of Ghosts by Peter Aykroyd, which details Dan’s grandfather’s involvement in the Spiritualist movement. After speaking to him it was easy to see why these films were a success, because the story comes from such a genuine place.
I’m thrilled you’re covering Ghostbusters II as well. It gets an (undeserved) bad rap. Were the cast and crew more kind to it in hindsight?
For the cast returning to the film feelings are divided, but for the remaining cast and crew they remember the film very fondly as it was the springboard to their career. The effects guys speak proudly of what they were able to achieve in a very short space of time.
Do the interviews shed any new light on Ghostbusters 3? The videogame (PS3/Xbox) seems to fill that role.
Yes, where the Ghostbusters visit hell and hell looks just like New York.
Does the documentary cover the different cartoon series?
No not really, we touch on it, but with no great detail.
Is William Atherton a good sport about being called “Dickless” all the time? I figure it would get old after a while!
Yeah he still laughs about it a lot!
Who did you enjoy meeting and interviewing the most?
It’s a difficult question to answer as many of the people interviewed have become friends and each interview is unique and precious to us in its own way. But being called a Ghostbuster by a Ghostbuster (Harold Ramis) is pretty special.
What’s a secret or two of the Ghostbusters lore—cut scenes, abandoned ideas, production secrets—that you guys discovered?
LOL that’s what you’ll have to find out by watching Cleanin’ Up The Town!
What can fans expect from the completed documentary? Why should they support the Kickstarter? Free coffee mugs, and balloons for the kids?
Tons of insightful interviews from people, some of which have never spoken on camera before about their involvement in the films plus never before seen footage and images.
The reason for contributing to Kickstarter is so we can pay for additional crew for post-production (in the eight years there have only been two of us working on this), licensing, marketing / distribution, and festival entry.
Oh, you have to check out the Kickstarter page, we really do have some cool incentives, yes we have t-shirts, posters, etc., but we also have Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hands. And if we exceed the £40,000 (about $58,000 US) we would really like to upgrade everyone’s Blu-ray / DVD to a collectible steel book. It’s on the site, Anthony Zart our graphic designer has done an amazing job.
Please consider supporting the project on Kickstarter.