Indie film

Rudy Calizo

Photo By David Robert

Five Beans in a Cup won the Reno Film Festival/GAMMA Indiefest’s award for “Best Nevada Film.” The festival took place Nov. 6 to 9. More than 100 films, one from as far away as Israel, were submitted as part of the competition. Rudy Calizo, owner of the Reno-based company May 34th Films, produced, wrote and directed Five Beans. Calizo graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with an interior design degree but since then has taken many different paths. Five Beans won’t screen again in Reno until early spring 2004, when it will be shown with Sacinaw. Five Beans is May 34th’s second full-length film. Calizo sees these small films as “stepping stones” to making it to the big screen some day.

What’s Five Beans about?

I can’t tell you. It kind of gives it away.

Can’t you give me the gist?

It’s about this character named Jay Mitchell going on his first big business trip, and he gets into a car accident. He runs into an angel of death and her apprentice, and they take him on a journey.

So the angel of death is a female?

Yeah, that’s different. Most of the angels of death are predominantly male roles. It’s just a different twist. I can’t elaborate any more on what her purpose is. But her title gives you a bit of insight.

Had you been stewing on this idea for a while?

How it came about is, I was driving to Bridgeport for a little Sunday getaway, and I noticed there was no one on the road. I thought, “What if I got in a car accident and no one was there, and I just kept going along?” That was three years ago. It’s been three years in the making.

What does the title have to do with the film?

It’s within the story itself, but I can’t give it away. It could throw things off. Actually, it wouldn’t make any sense—there are too many twists and turns in this one.

Was it all shot in Reno?

It was shot in the span of Reno, Sierraville, Markleeville, Truckee and Dayton. There are a lot of exterior shots. Of course, the interior shots were shot here in Reno.

What does it mean to win Best Nevada Film?

It gives us a little booster and a bit of recognition in the industry now that people are aware of us.

What’s the best piece of advice you received from industry veterans who saw the film ?

There were a lot of vague comments like, “I liked it.” The celebrities didn’t want to get into specifics. They were surrounded and were getting a lot of other questions, but based on their decision, it speaks for itself.

Is filmmaking profitable in Reno? Will you make money?

There were lots of movies shot in Reno two decades ago. But they always threw in the Las Vegas thing when they were shooting in Reno. I didn’t get that … Can you be successful? I don’t know. So far it’s working out all right. It wasn’t our intent to make any money out of this one or to show it on a big screen. If someone wants to buy the story, we’ll go from there, but it’s not meant to make profit.

What films do you look to for inspiration?

If it’s going to be my favorite, it would be something like Top Gun, but most guys would pick that. Also, something like Groundhog Day. I know it’s oddball, but it has that little twist to it. Something like Sixth Sense, and epic films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

What’s great about Groundhog Day?

It’s thought-provoking. I like conventional stories, as well, but for the most part, I like ones with twists and turns. Five Beans has the combination of twists and turns, and it’s got a conventional approach to it.