Katie Perry, an adult size Scooby Doo costume and swing music from the early 1930s. When it comes to fantasies we each have our own thing. Quite a common fantasy is that of becoming a rock star. The fame, the music and of course the groupies. There’s even Adult Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camps where you can get taught how to act like a Rock n’ Roll God by the likes of Tommy Lee and Ace Frehley. But what if you don’t have thousands of pounds spare to spend on a weekend with one of the stars of Grand Funk Railroad? This month sees the release of a new local comedy detailing the journey of an indie rock band trying to do things the hard way. From the imagination of writer-director Andrew McGinnigle comes Ghosts of Rome.
The story surrounds Tommy Nero as he desperately tries to hold his band (the titular Ghosts) together amongst clashing egos, a talented new member and a competitive local music scene. Like the best comedies it steps on the borders of tragedy with the laughs coming at the expense of the band. The obvious comparison here is with Spinal Tap but whilst the all time classic mockumentary is cited by Andy as an inspiration there’s no main characters talking to the camera. Other influences include The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Peep Show. Apart from being three of the greatest shows in the history of television these three share a dark vein of rich character-based comedy that Ghosts hopes to emulate.
From the polished look of the finished product it’s hard to believe this is Andy’s first film. He has however been honing the premise for a number of years. With the name first generated on an American road trip a few years back the script has been through a number of drafts before Andy decided he’d reached a shooting draft. Still, not even the greatest of filmmakers can do it all alone and Andy wisely chose to surround himself with some of the island’s top film and music talent. Assisted by producer extraordinaire Toby Chiang WHC Productions managed to find a cast of islanders who don’t just act but who also have the chemistry to be believable as a group. With a grant from Jersey Arts Trust, Fortress Films were brought in to help with the technical side of things. Andy gives much credit to his namesake Andy Evans and the whole Fortress crew for helping him with the steep learning curve associated with any directorial debut. Providing added authenticity and a local flavour The Speedways chipped in to help with the writing and recording of the songs.
Though the local film scene has been going from strength to strength in recent years there has been very little in the way of comedy. I guess that’s because with comedy the fear of failure is greater. Like everyone has a unique fantasy, everyone has a different view on what’s funny. With greater risk what often results is a greater reward. The comedy genre has a greater potential to reach a bigger audience than the more niche offerings that are sometimes found at Branchage. Andy and the rest of the team certainly hope so with a big premiere screening taking place at Cineworld before the film is shipped off to various film festivals.
And what next for the band – the difficult second album? Though he remains tight lipped about future projects Andy will admit there’s potential for the story of the Ghosts to keep going.
Ghosts of Rome 2: When in Rome?
The Ghosts of Rome premiere takes place at Cineworld on the 5th of February. For more information head to www.ghostsofrome.com