PERSON OF THE WEEK: A few weeks ago, MortgageOrb ran a Blog View titled ‘Are Foreclosures Funny?’ The focus of that blog was whether the foreclosure crisis could be seen as a source for comic material.
In the time since that blog was published, a new comedy film has been released on DVD that pokes fun at the foreclosure crisis, as seen through the experiences of an extended family that is suddenly forced to live together in very cramped quarters. This week, MortgageOrb speaks with Brooks Campbell, the director and writer of the independently produced feature film "Subprime."
Q: What was the inspiration behind ‘Subprime’?
Campbell: I was one of the unlucky people who was priced out of the housing market a few years back. I obsessed over buying a home to the point where every time I brought it up, the groans from my wife and kids could be heard down the street.
At one time, there were seven vacant homes on the street where we were renting a house. One day, my wife Nancy and I were talking about houses. Well, it was more like I was going on about the housing mess, and Nancy was trying to listen. I was wondering where everyone had gone to live after they lost their homes. I guessed that most people had to move back in with family or friends.
Then, a white lightning bolt hit Nancy. Not literally, of course! She said to me, "You're a filmmaker – why don't you make a film about the housing market and a family that has to move in together? I was blown away – what a great idea!
I thought this would be a good premise for a movie. So my wife Nancy and I, along with Jeff Wright – who is best known for writing the film "BASEketball" – went to work on the script.
Q: There is no surplus of comedy films about the economic crisis. How do you explain your decision to use the recession as the basis for a comedy?
Campbell: Years ago, I saw the 1941 Preston Sturges film "Sullivan's Travels." It was about the Great Depression and a filmmaker's quest to make a true-to-life movie about the blight of the common man. He came to find that people loved movies because they were an escape from real life. Sullivan ultimately changed his filmmaking direction and made comedies.
That movie has stuck with me ever since. Plus, I am a comedy guy. I like to try and find humor and a silver lining in all things.
Q: How have audiences reacted to ‘Subprime’?
Campbell: They laugh! At the first screening, I was so tense until I heard that first laugh. Then, I almost relaxed.
Q: In your opinion, who is to blame for the subprime debacle that fueled the collapse of the economy?
Campbell: I would like to say Wall Street, but mostly, it was because the government, banks and everyday people did not use common sense when it came to all the cheap money that was flooding the market early in the previous decade.
Q: Will there be a ‘Subprime 2’ or any other new films inspired by the recession?
Campbell: I have some ideas!