He is the man behind The Passenger Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Alexander Bruckner: In 2004 Alexander Bruckner discovered his passion for film while shooting his first movie, a western, in lower Austria.
In 2007 he graduated from a film-directing program at the New York Film AcademyNew York Film Academy. After that he lived and worked in Los Angeles until 2010. In 2009 the movie “Addicts” which was co-produced and shot by Alexander Bruckner premiered at the Hollywood Film Festival.
Since returning to Austria in 2010 Alexander Bruckner continues his work as producer and started working as camera operator for various Austrian television broadcasters.
In 2010 his short film “Udet – never too late”, a movie about betrayal and loyalty during World War II, won the Kino5 audience award in Vienna and was also selected to be shown at the Cannes short film corner.
That same year Alexander Bruckner became a member of the Austrian Directors Association.
In 2013 his movie “Onatah”, a story about love and death spanning over 500years and two parallel stories, was again selected to screen at the Cannes film festival and shortly after won best drama award at the Hollywood short film festival.
In 2014 he graduated from Danube University Krems in Film & TV production and received the title master of arts and management.
The same year he founded a film production company with the name “Live Free, Live Film Productions”.
In 2015 he published his first book about producing movies with the title “Von der Idee zum Digital Cinema Package: Filmprojektentwicklung anhand der Case Study “Onatah” (ISBN-10: 3639873548).
In 2019 Alexander Bruckner became a member of the Austrian Film Academy.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Alexander Bruckner: When I in elementary school I wrote a couple of scripts and even made some short films with friends but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I decided that I want to pursuit a career in filmmaking. I was shooting an old west short film at that time and then it hit me: that’s exactly want I want to do.
SKSM: When did you make The passenger? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Alexander Bruckner: After receiving the filming rights from Stephen King’s office in winter of 2019 I contacted my good friend and Academy award nominee Tab Murphy and asked him if he wanted to write the script. We worked on the script together for a couple of weeks and I then moved to Los Angeles in February of 2020. We started preproduction a couple of weeks later.
Principal photography took place in October of 2020, we had four shooting days in Los Angeles and its surroundings. The production had a budget of roughly $40,000.
SKSM: How come you picked Rest Stop to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Alexander Bruckner: I am currently writing a feature film script that also has a main character with an alter ego in it so I was drawn to “Rest Stop” right away. Split personalities have always fascinated me therefor I was really excited to tackle “Rest Stop” and bring the short story onto the big screen.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Alexander Bruckner: A colleague, who is a huge Stephen King fan, told me about it.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Alexander Bruckner: We were shooting in October in Los Angeles, which officially is fire season. One of these fires was very close to one of our shooting locations and the day before we were planning to film all roads that we needed to get there were closed. Luckily enough the highways were opened again just two hours before we started our travel to location.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Alexander Bruckner: We are submitting to over 100 festivals in more than 80 countries worldwide. This will give many Stephen King fans a chance to watch our movie. We are also in contact with Stephen King’s office to make an internet release possible.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Alexander Bruckner: So far, so good: Our film has only be shown at a jury festival in Los Angeles as of now. The review was great as our film won 1st place for best thriller. We are having our first screening on Saturday February 1st: I am looking forward to see our film on the silver screen and to observe the reactions of the audience.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Alexander Bruckner: We are starting with all Oscar qualifying festivals first and we will then expand our festival route over the next two years in order to be able to show our film in as many countries as possible.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Alexander Bruckner: “The Shining” – both, the book and the movie adaption.
SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?
Alexander Bruckner: We have been in constant contact with Stephen King’s office during production and we have sent them a BlueRay copy of “The Passenger” recently. I will give them a call again soon in order to receive their reviews on our film.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Alexander Bruckner: I would have loved to shoot “Rest Stop” as a feature film but unfortunately Legendary pictures beat me to it as they secured the feature film rights to that story and are currently in development. Of course I am always ready to go if a director for one of Stephen King’s stories is needed.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Alexander Bruckner: I currently work on a feature film as Assistant Director and Associate Producer. Once we wrap I want to focus again on a feature film script that I am currently writing: the script is similar to “Rest Stop” as my main character also has an alter-ego. On top of that I am also working on a feature film about Anton Bruckner which is currently in development.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Alexander Bruckner: For all Stephen King fans, make sure to check out the film festivals in your home-town: this might be a great chance for you to watch our film “The Passenger” on the big screen.
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Alexander Bruckner: Thank you very much for the interview.
Live Free, Live Film.