This Saturday, the red carpet will roll out at the Tower Theatre for the premiere of “Brick MADNESS,” a feature film about the cut-throat world of competitive brick building—and you’re invited.
Hundreds of hours dedicated to ‘Brix’ creations
“Brick MADNESS” is a mockumentary, which means it’s a documentary-style movie about something that isn’t actually real (though I wish competitive brick building was). Think “Best in Show” or “This Is Spinal Tap.”
Local director Justin McAleece and his crew spent eight years fine-tuning an alternate reality where grown adults try to out-build each other using “Brix”—a product that stands in for the trademarked-in-real-life LEGO®. The brick creations in the movie are extensive and required an epic amount of man hours. (So many hours, one of the behind-the-scenes builders, Carl Merriam, realized his true path and is now a set designer working for the LEGO Group in Denmark.)
Says McAleece, “The LEGO creations that we used in the film fall into three categories. The vast majority of the builds outside of competition were already at the Bricks by the Bay convention in Santa Clara. We worked with builders to be able to capture them for the movie.
“The ones featured in [character] Max Grand’s house and elsewhere are, in general, things that were already built by Carl Merriam and a few of his friends. Then you have the actual competition builds and title treatment that were created specifically for the movie and those were masterfully done by Carl and Jason Wada and probably a few others. Those were great because it was like Christmas every time they brought them in to show me.
“I would say that things that were built custom for the movie probably took 500 hours or so. The other prebuilt things that we see represent hundreds of thousands of hours worth of building.”
Local faces and places
Chances are, you’ll recognize someone or some place in the film. Lots of locals fill the scenes as extras. You may even recognize some of the cast, which includes past and present Blimprov actors like Anthony Taylor and Magnus Chhan.
In fact, the people were the best part of the process for McAleece. “My favorite part was the camaraderie on set. I got to work with people I love and together we created something that we all believed in. Usually a project is all about the director and producer and then everyone else. In this case though, because this was an ensemble cast and all the producers and writers were also actors and everyone was doing everything, we had very little of that hierarchy. It was incredibly fulfilling to see how much passion everyone put into a project they were getting paid very little for and that didn’t have the perks of a normal ‘big’ set. We really believed in each other.”
Don’t mistake ‘local’ for ‘amateur’
Saturday’s “Brick MADNESS” premiere is a one-night-only event. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range from $10-$15. Although the rating of this film is roughly PG-13, there’s no sex or violence in it. There are, however, a lot of cool block-built creations, and one giant reason to see the film: according to McAleece, it’s good.
“If you’re on the fence about seeing this movie, I want you to know that it’s better than you think. I’m not trying to hype it up, I just know that ‘local’ means amateur to many people and I think the final product here is light years aways from amateur. People from the invite-only premiere have told me they went in trying to support a ‘thing that their friend did’ and walked out realizing they forgot that they were even watching people they knew—that it was a real movie, in the best way possible.”
And if that doesn’t convince you, “Here’s the deal: if you buy a ticket and watch the movie and think it sucks, then I will personally refund your money, no questions asked. You can’t get that at Maya!”
So there you have it folks, a one-night, guaranteed chance to see a project full of
LEGO Brix and laughter.
To purchase a ticket to the Saturday, Sept. 9 “Brick MADNESS” premiere, click here.
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