Interview with Sushi Girl’s Destin Pfaff, Kern Saxton, Neal Fischer & Suren Seron

Assembly Line and Level Up Productions are responsible for the new film “Sushi Girl”.  The film stars Tony Todd, James Duval, Noah Hathaway, Andy Mackenzie and Mark Hamill. The men behind the film are Destin Pfaff, Kern Saxton, Neal Fischer, Suren Seron.  Destin is known for his work on “The Millionaire Matchmaker” TV series.  Kern Saxton is the director of the film but wears many other hats on this film (read more about that below).  Neal is a producer of the film, as well as Suren.  Media Mikes has been covering this film extensively with interviews from many of the cast and crew and had a chance to chat with the guys to find out some cool behind the scene stories about making the film “Sushi Girl”.

Mike Gencarelli: You all produced the film “Sushi Girl”, how did you divide up the tasks? Anyone the leader of the group?
Neal Fischer: I don’t think that we really had discussed about a leader during the film. I think we each brought the characters to life. For me, I really didn’t want to make this as a smaller movie. So I brought in the financing to make the movie the way it should be made. But also at the same time we wanted to make a movie that would be respected and for us to be proud of. It just got better and better along the way.
Destin Pfaff: On the topic of leadership, the amazing thing that Kern (Saxton) did was bringing the four of us together. I like to think of us like Voltron. We are these four individual robotic tigers that come together to form this giant. We had this wonderful magical synergy working together, like brothers. I think we would be happy if we only make movies with each other for the rest of our lives.

MG: Kern, you not only had your directorial debut, you also took the role of Editor, Producer, Co-Writer, was it hard to juggle?
Kern Saxton: They all grew out of necessity. I wanted to do a project like this. Destin and I had this crazy idea and we were actually working on another screenplay. A couple of years later…here we are. I knew that budget-wise, I was going to have to take on many different roles in order to make it happen. I think that being the Co-Writer, Director, Producer and Editor, it is not out of some place where I creatively have to do those jobs. Editing is easier for me for projects that I have directed. It is just quicker at the end of the day. We had to do every stage of production very quickly in order to save money and time. It was decided by the group that I would take on the editing. That is the whole game we are playing with this film is to get the biggest impact with the least amount of resources.

MG: What was your biggest challenge to overcome in the process of shooting?
KS: For me it is getting the project funded. I knew once we got a budget we could do some damage. I have worked with Destin on a bunch of short films. It was apparent to us that we were doing very ambitious things with no money. Once we got in the right direction…we were off!
DP: I think think the biggest challenge for me was working with an ego-maniacal director like Kern Saxton that we had on the film…I am kidding [laughs]. I think every hurdle that the four of us faced was handled in such an amazing way.

MG: Destin, during filming having co-wrote the script, where you able to assist with each scene?
DP: Kern and I luckily share a single brain as for what something is suppose to look or feel like in a particular scene. Even if I wasn’t on set, I knew that whatever Kern was doing would be exactly what I would do. I’ll give kudos to Kern.

MG: Tell us about how to got Noah Hathaway to return to acting?
Suren Seron: We had a couple of interesting stories from how we got a few people in this film. Noah is a good one and Mark (Hamill) is also a good one. We had an actor on board who previously was set to play the role of Fish. At the last minute we decided to go another direction and I said out loud “How about Noah Hathaway from ‘The Neverending Story'” . I just happened to be Facebook friends with him, since someone suggested I friend him since I was such a big fan. He accepted and we actually talked. He was living in Amsterdam and working as a tattoo artist. I sent him a random message outlining the cast we already had on board and to see if he would be interested. I ended the conversation saying that we were working with “so and so and oh…Sonny Chiba”. He wrote back “Sonny Chiba…I love Sonny Chiba.” I sent him the script and a day later he wanted to do this. We did the audition over the internet from Amsterdam. We were really excited to get him on board. So he got a plane, came down to California and that was the end of his life in Amsterdam.

MG: During post production, who was the most involved?
NF: Yeah that would be Kern!
KS: If it comes to editing, color corrections, sound design, music…yeah I think I had a hand in it [laughs].
DP: We have successfully destroyed Kern Saxton’s life during the post-production process. He has become this completely nocturnal creature that can’t even look straight anymore.
KS: Due to scheduling with the studio, we had to write music from 2am to 10am. I became completely nocturnal.

MG: Neal, this was your first go as producer, what do you have planned next?
NF: Well for me, it was a really interesting experience. I work for a larger company. I had access to all these tools from working on films like “Resident Evil” and “Silent Hill”. I had this experience but it was all for a company and with big producers and so they weren’t mine. For me making “Sushi Girl” was a way to not only get to use these tools that I have been learning but also show what I can do. I used to live in Japan and I had some experiences with the Japanese mafia.  That led me to write a couple of scripts from those, so that is one of my top priorities and definitely in my future.

MG: After “Sushi Girl”, what do you guys have planned next?
SS: “Calaytic” is hoping to be one of our next projects with Tony Todd. Tony told us about two scripts he wanted to get going on. We definitely wanted to do it and he always wanted to direct. We are most excited about getting that started and work with Tony Todd again.

Interview with Destin Pfaff

Destin Pfaff is the writer and producer of the new film “Sushi Girl”.  Destin is also the COO of the Millionaire’s Club and co-star of “The Millionaire Matchmaker”.  Media Mikes had  a chance to chat with Destin about his new film and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you come up with the idea for the film, “Sushi Girl”?
Destin Pfaff: Alcohol [laughs].  As much good idea usually come from alcohol.  Kern Saxton, my writing partner and also director of “Sushi Girl”, just came off a thriller project.  It was this rock n’ roll good time but when we were about four or five days into production, we had to shutdown.  The crew walked out of the set and the producer pretty much said “Hey guys I am out of money you should just go home” and that was it.  We wanted to do something that would be more contained and we could just do ourselves and not have to depend on anyone.  I have been lucky enough to option some script but nothing every gets made.  You don’t have a career if nobody knows about it.  So we decided to create this intimate little movie that we could fund and make ourselves.  We both like sushi, we both like naked girls and we both like bad guys.  All three of those put together and out pops “Sushi Girl”.  It just kind of got bigger and bigger…I bugged Tony Todd to the point where he had to do the film and he made it even bigger.

MG: How did you get such a great cast including, Noah Hathaway, Sonny Chiba, Mark Hamill, and Tony Todd in “Sushi Girl”?
DH: I loved our cast.  Not only did we have so many genre heavy and very cool people that I grew up watching, but I am honored and blessed to be four or five months past principal and they are all still my friends.  I was at Mark’s house for a BBQ and hanging out with Noah this week and Tony literally just called me before this interview.  This never happens on a film set and it just blows me away.  They are just good people.  Noah is back full force from being retired for like two decades.  He was tattoo artist in Amsterdam when we brought him back.  Mark Hamill said no to the project a few times until his daughter harassed him into doing the movie.  He was an amazing professional and he really got his hands dirty.  Jeff Fahey came on board for a couple of day from out of nowhere.  He said he wanted to be in the movie, so we went it and expanded a role.  He turned this little thing that I wrote into this amazing and memorable character piece.  Everyone will remember Jeff Fahey from this movie.  Andy McKenzie and Jimmy Duval were them.  Tony Todd deserves an award for his performance in this film.  He is a really brilliant actor.

MG: Tell us about juggling the role of writer, producer and actor in the film?
DH: My first passion is writing.  Anything that is pulpy, juicy, delicious and fun…writing is an event.  It is where you can put all those nasty dirty ideas in your head on to paper.  That is my therapy.  Producing was kinda of cool but nobody likes to crunch numbers and be responsible to force things to happen.  We were able to problem solve and actually work with other people that we trust.  We always made sure we had a clear path and democracy…and it works.  Producing doesn’t have to be madness. On this film producing was more of a breeze than a headache.  I love acting also.  In my opinion you cannot be a good writer, director or producer…unless you can act.  I love it all man…life is too short to just do one thing.

MG: Tell us a little bit about the production of the film?
DH: We were lucky enough to shoot at Universal Studios. We shot for just over three weeks.  The special effects company, V.G.P., they came out they did shit for us that was so beyond what our little movie was anticipating to get.  They would come on days when they didn’t have to be there…show up and just make sure everything went smooth.  We had car crashes and it was really amazing.  We got to do some really cool stuff.  I mean they let us play with fire.  The whole thing was just so much fun. We are hoping for a release in early 2012.

MG: How do you go from COO of the Millionaire’s Club and co-star of “The Millionaire Matchmaker” to working on a film like this?
DH: I have been writing for close to twelve years now and producing shorts.  I have been around the game enough to know that making movies is a blessing.  No matter how big your film is it is just a blessed to get it made.  Everyone has to have a day job and in this industry.  I started helping out helping Patti Stanger with the company and then there was a pilot for the reality series.  It was this whole kind of entity.  It has been a good time and also good exposure.  It is a lot of work to run that company plus it is a lot of work to do the TV we do. In the end, we are very tired but it is all worth it.

MG: Tell us about your script “RIPP” and what is happening with the feature?
DH: “RIPP” is on the back burner right now by choice.  We are working on a top secret script right now.  “RIPP” would also involve Tony Todd, as I am his biggest fan.  It something that he wants to do and I want to do but maybe next year we will revisit that one again.


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