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IFH 312: FBI Witness Relocation Interview with Boris “The Cinematographer” from Shooting for the Mob

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Today we have a very special episode of the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. My guest is coming from an undisclosed location somewhere in Los Angeles. His code name is BORIS: The Cinematographer. We changed his voice and image for his protection. Boris was my cinematographer on the film I almost directed for the mob. I met him while prepping the infamous feature film discussed in my book Shooting for the Mob. If you want to learn more about the story of the book take a listen to this podcast. (Click Here)

Alex Ferrari, Shooting for the Mob, Shooting for the Mob book, Shooting for the Mob audiobook

Here’s a summary on the book:

A bipolar gangster, a naive, young film director, and Batman. What could go wrong? Alex Ferrari is a first-time film director who just got hired to direct a $20 million feature film, the only problem is the film is about Jimmy, an egomaniacal gangster who wants the film to be about his life in the mob.

From the backwater towns of Louisiana to the Hollywood Hills, Alex is taken on a crazy misadventure through the world of the mafia and Hollywood. Huge movie stars, billion-dollar producers, studio heads and, of course, a few gangsters, populate this unbelievable journey down the rabbit hole of chasing your dream. Would you sell your soul to the devil to make your dream come true? Alex did.

By the way, did we mention that this story is based on true events? no, seriously it is.

If you want to watch Boris’ interview check it out in its entirety below.

I asked Boris, an industry-recognized cinematographer if he would be willing to do an interview on his experience working with Jimmy the gangster, the craziness that happened all those years ago and what it was like being in the center of that filmmaking tornado with me.

Boris jumped at the chance but he asked that we change his voice to protect his identity. He doesn’t want to put himself out there at this time. Trust me you are going to love this episode.

Boris lets loose on all things Shooting for the Mob and even tells me stories I didn’t know about. If you want to know what it’s like trying to shot an indie feature film for a bi-polar, egomaniacal gangster then perk up those ears cause you are going to love this extremely entertaining episode.

Enjoy my EPIC conversation with BORIS – The Cinematographer.

Alex Ferrari 0:00
So guys, today we have a very, very, very special guest. Today, we have Boris the cinematographer. Now this is a cinematographer that worked with me on shooting for the mob in the in the movie inside the book shooting for the mob, and we've been friends for about almost 20 years now. And he is the main reason I actually got off my butt and wrote this story and told, wrote this book and decided to tell my story because of him constantly beating me up over the years to do so. And I wanted to bring Boris on the show to talk about the story from his perspective. And it is done in a very deep throat, FBI witness relocation program kind of style, so his voice will be altered. So his identity is not revealed. He does sense a little bit of worry about putting himself out there publicly right now I told him, he shouldn't unless he really really wants to, for obvious reasons. I mean, we are talking about a gangster a mobster, you know, all that kind of good stuff. I on the other hand, decided, hey, what the heck, I'm just gonna do it anyway, because I need to get this story out of me and out into the world. So that was my decision. But again, I want to have Boris on. Because his perspective and his storytelling is awesome. And this is going to be a very, very interesting episode. So if you guys have not heard, I have written a book called shooting for the mob, it is now officially available on Amazon. So please go buy it, tell people about it, share it, just go to shooting for the mob calm, it'll take you straight to Amazon. Or you could just go to indie film, hustle, calm Ford slash mob, and it'll take you there as well. And if you have read the book, I really really need you to stop what you're doing. And go leave a review on Amazon it really, really helps us out a lot. We have, believe it or not become bestsellers already on Amazon in the in certain category. So we are an Amazon best selling book, which is insane to me. And I'm humbled by it. So thank you guys so much for buying the book and continuing to buy the book and please spread the word and tell anybody and everybody about the book, I really, really appreciate it. And if you guys are in the LA area, April 25, we will be having a screening of on the corner of ego and desire at the Chinese theatre, the world famous Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a q&a for the movie. And then I'm going to be doing a talk about fear and breaking through your fears to make your first feature film and talking about this my story and what I went through with shooting for the mob and then afterwards we're gonna have q&a and then a book signing and we'll be selling books there as well. So If you want to get tickets to come out and see the tribe visit with the tribe and myself, just head over to indie film hustle.com Ford slash screening to check it out. And I promise you, it's gonna be a pretty epic evening. But this episode, this interview is fairly epic. It's nothing like I've ever done before on the show. But I want you to remember that we altered the voice for Boris to protect him. And I just didn't feel comfortable putting him out there, exposing who he is, and putting his name out there at this point in time, because I really care about Boris and I want anything that happened to him. So that is the reason why we have altered his voice. So bear with it. So it is just amazing. Really, I'm so happy to bring this to you guys. I'm like you can tell in my voice. I'm so like, giddy, because I can't wait for you guys to hear this story. So I've told you a little bit of the story. But now you're going to hear a whole bunch more about the story from behind the scenes episodes of what's going on things that were happening at the time. And I just I'm just excited to get it to you. So without any further ado, please enjoy my deep throat witness relocation program interview with Boris the cinematographer. Okay, Boris. So you've read the book. And and you were let's take it back to the beginning. You were the reason why I wrote this book, you were the one that kept hounding me for years to tell this story. And finally came to the point where I could not argue with you anymore, because you wanted me to write a screenplay originally. And I said, No, I can't write a screenplay. I don't want to write a screenplay. This is just not I'm not gonna go chase money. And then you said to me, Well, why don't you write a book. And I was like, dammit, I can write a book. And it's your fault that this has happened in the first place.

Boris 6:58
Yes, we do this. in Eastern Europe, you know where I come from, we read books. Also very important part of your education. And books are also something that stays as a document for the history for posterity. So having the book on having the book debates, it's more than just like doing your own personal soul searching or making the journey or read it experiencing everything that you went through. But think about it, this is like something that generations and generations of aspiring filmmakers or if there is any films, something in the future, they may be doing something else. But they will be finally this is a very, very interesting and inspiring abusing educational format to whatever else people will find in this book.

Alex Ferrari 7:52
Yes, it is. It was all of that. And then and then some question. So you've read the book, I want to ask you straight. Is this book true to your experience? Because you were with me on this journey for about three months out of the year that I was involved with this project? What is your feelings on the books, truth, authenticity? And did I exaggerate anything?

Boris 8:16
I don't know, comes down to exaggeration. I don't think there is any level of exaggeration in the book. I think. That's what the biggest, I think that the real value of the book is that there is really no exaggeration. It's real. It's all real and truly 100% of the truth what really happened. And that's what I think is going to be the most intriguing aspect of the book. To me, I think, was really interesting to read the book because not only that, I was part of this for all this several months we spent together on it, but learning all the background stories, learning about you or learning how you get into this morning about some of the people that I had the chance to interact during our pre production so this is all combined together. Give me hold your perspective on our experience back then.

Alex Ferrari 9:11
Right because you didn't know the whole story you only knew a parts of the story it was patchy and then you only knew the stories from your perspective. You never saw all the stuff that I went through behind the scenes A lot of it before and after you left

Boris 9:25
That's right when you are in pre-production you don't have time for to travel although we did have a lot of time later on down but but at least you know, we ended up we ended up doing I think very very interesting work with an interesting group of people really talented people and and going back and thinking about this. I really wish we made this movie because aside from all the experience that we went through, I still wish that story is told somehow about about Judy's life and everything that

Alex Ferrari 10:00
It's about the story is obviously about redemption. redemption, there's no, there's no question that the story is not about Jimmy. It's all about redemption. No, it was always from the beginning all about. Now, you actually coined that phrase, you're the one that said redemption to him. And then from that moment on, I apparently he looked up the word. And he, and he started spouting that. And you turn to me, like I just told him that yesterday.

Boris 10:27
Well, as we all know, Jimmy had the standard shoe because he's a newcomer to the world of film. So he does not understand really the the language, the lingo that we use in business and industry. So I remember, one of his favorite phrases was favored nation in the contract, because many times he would get any kind of draft of the contract. Well favored nation is a term he was normally in a contract in a legal language, basically, explaining that everybody's equal, every nation. But so for me, any any, when we had this production meeting, I still remember vividly. pep talk pep rally, and Walter wanted to hear how everybody is so excited about the project and everybody. I remember the production meeting we had, Jimmy was so eager to hear from everybody, like one of the first meetings like how great this all film is going to be. And what we think about it, and for me, well, he was kind of just like, war that came out of our, it's about redemption, because as much it was all evil in the project, he was very sensitive, not to make it obvious. So I think redemption was a perfect excuse for him to find the real catchphrase that explained, explain really the meaning of the film. So it's about redemption. silverbolt, of course,

Alex Ferrari 12:13
Very much so was all about it without question. Now, a quick question, Before we continue, we obviously have blacked out your face here and changed your voice to protect your identity. I obviously cannot protect my identity, because I'm the author and the subject of the book. Do you fear for yourself? Is that the reason why you you know, agreed to do this? I mean, is it a reason why you wanted us to block out your face and change your voice you fear for your life in any way?

Boris 12:45
Well, I don't feel for my life, to share my fear for my life. But I think it's better to not to be too public about this, at least for me, you know, maybe one day, I may say really, who Boris really is and everything, but that remains to be seen. I think what is more important that you tell the story because this is your story. And we are all just part of that wall that happened during the during the production. So I think at this point, it's still better for me to stay kind of in the shadow and have to drive to protection

Alex Ferrari 13:24
Literally in the shadows fair enough. So when one of the one of the the moments that I loved in the in the book and us when we when we met was the the espresso the cappuccino events? Can you refresh for the audience for people listening? Because people a lot of people who are watching this have already read the book, can you talk from your perspective about the cappuccino machine?

Boris 13:55
It's very important coffee is not to just adjust the drink that you get in the morning and get your day going. has more social meaning, you know, we will sit and enjoy coffee while having a meaningful conversation or just kind of having a little chat and just a warm up before we really get serious about whatever we want to do that day. So for me, having this ritual is really essential. And I still keep this ritual first thing in the morning, even at my walk here, economic opportunity machine and then gradually embark upon the day and see what's gonna happen but I never drink coffee by myself. It's kind of boring. So coffee is a social event, coffees and coffees are part of the cultural ritual. And I wanted to bring this culture into the cultural production successful.

Alex Ferrari 14:52
You actually, if I may quote you said what are we savages we will have cappuccino

Boris 14:56
That's exactly my point is to be in production. front office, coffee maker organized with a bit more sophisticated. So coffee maker call, after all, we have $20 million budgets. It has to be best, we cannot just go for some whatever, you know, folders.

Alex Ferrari 15:13
And let's talk about that $20 million budget, which we never saw in the budget kept getting dropped daily, or weekly, and rescheduled and all this kind of stuff. When you showed up to the production offices the first day, what was your thought when you were dropped off at a racetrack?

Boris 15:33
Well, from what even before I showed up on on the racetrack in our production office, I knew this is not going to be your typical normal production. As we all used, we knew there was already so many things just that just the way I was brought in, it was so out of the ordinary being hired without reading the script and was being brought because I said I liked the script to read. And that was enough for me to be hired that was that spoke the volume, they just want to be very interesting, unusual journey. So for me, the fact that I was picked up by the producer and his wife and couple other assistants and brought to some Italian restaurant in south side of the city. And, and, and immediately presented with my key rib and the gaffer as people who are already hired as a lot of things and given week, Lexus SUV to drive around to me these old signs out of something very much out of the charts. And then of course, coming to horse Truck Race truck, which I've never been in my life. It was yet another world that I had to learn experience and no API and it was quite interesting experience. But then seeing the vastness of production office. It was something that I did on Apple bigger and smaller production productions. But I've never seen anybody having production of this of this scope

Alex Ferrari 17:08
For such a, you know, an unknown.

Boris 17:11
Right. Right.

Alex Ferrari 17:12
Now, I want to I've always wanted to ask you this question. What did you think when they told you Oh, it's a first time director, and he's a young guy and all that kind of stuff? Because this was I mean, you had already been directed deep being a cinematographer for a few years. I mean, we're not few years, you probably about 10 years by that point. So you were an established cinematographer, you know, working your way up the ladder. What did you think when you saw the trailer that I shot and everything like that, in general before you even met me?

Boris 17:42
Yeah, the truth is, yes, I was by then I was I say, my career was nicely on on on steady, rising direction. And anyway, as a cinematographer, we always have to be open minded about the projects that we are working on. And, and I always find it exciting, meeting new people to work with new people. Working with the first time director, that was the first time that I work with the first time director. So for me, it was not something out of the ordinary when it comes to my approach to working with first time director. As a cinematographer requires a little bit more, I would say patience, and time. Because the COP is much as creatively, you might have some great ideas and in some ways how you see this bill is one of the cinematographer who just had to bring it out to reality and consolidate and figured out how to basically deliver the vision and sometimes if the reference have no experience, they might be dreaming big and way beyond what is really feasible and impossible. But after seeing the problem that you got shot before I came aboard, that I definitely recognize a talent that will be was like, Okay, well, that's somebody who I think I can work with and we will be able to communicate. You know, when we started working when we started our pre production and everything else, we quickly established our way of communication, as we all know, and it's really been described in the book. But the I would say the the gap that we had was just a natural gap women already identified like maybe six seven feature films and much wider projects. So I felt it's my duty to bring you up to speed and take you out any possible like expose normally first directors tends to get on. So of course, I enjoyed the fact that we could, because we had a time we could actually watch a movie.

Alex Ferrari 19:51
We watched many,

Boris 19:54
Many movies. So for me it was kind of like having the beginning of basically personal History almost built history, cinematography, personal class, just for you to be able to find referencing something. So it can be a little short. And so it's easy or if I say whatever, course, or whatever it was being able to throw around, which is also good because we know what you're talking about,

Alex Ferrari 20:23
Because it's all about redemption. Now, have you ever been on before or since a project that had well been in pre production for nine months?

Boris 20:37
That is such a rarity. Honestly, when I think about I just personally think of agreements. It's a separate Rarity, unless you're really unsure of somebody's product, it's normally the cinematographer will be part of or part of the pre production for several months. Traditionally, in typical Hollywood productions, cinematographers always brought well depends on the budget for six, maybe eight weeks, that's all you like getting into video, we do battery productions. And if you're in any larger size, well, there is a reason if you have too much pre production that's like the scope of the field. And the scope of the pre production is far bigger than having enough time to really watch movies for 40 hours every day, during cappuccinos, and Scout, endlessly, endlessly, all over the state. That's kind of luxury, which I never had,

Alex Ferrari 21:33
When we were traveling around Louisiana, looking at all those locations. I mean, we must have had, how many locations that we we look at hundreds,

Boris 21:42
I don't know I stopped, I stopped counting because I know after initial scope, and initial digital locations, we will go again revisit them. And then again, revisit them just to make sure that maybe something might change. Or maybe let's check another prison or check another strip bar. And, or another house or whatever. I don't even know how many places we started. It was kind of just like almost a baby routine. Get in the morning, get a coffee, get a breakfast, watch a movie and then get in our Lexus. The 480 SUVs with navigation lady in the truck will guide us to our design. That was Space Age technology back then. It was unbelievable what it was like to return these SUVs every week

Alex Ferrari 22:37
Because of the mileage. So can we talk about that really quickly. We actually got a product placement for move for these Lexus's from a local dealership not from Lexus, but from a local dealership. So then we could actually, you know, return it after 100 miles

Boris 22:58
Another week, or two weeks, whatever. And we would just replace the new word because the new cars otherwise.

Alex Ferrari 23:06
Needless to say, this was a period piece film, so there was no place for a 2001 Lexus.

Boris 23:15
I remember what I asked who, what I asked her to give me about it. He said don't worry, don't worry, it will be a word we're gonna put a bit of background knowledge. Nobody's gonna recognize but I don't remember even in the movie, which ends up in I think 1990 was the final scene of the film of the screenplay, at least. They had this kind of cars as you please. So I just didn't want to argue, hey, who would argue if somebody gives you I have to say this was the first and only time that I had such a car is my vehicle to drive around in production? That's like that's really like normally I see director or producer so they drive this up, not to the end. So other people on production.

Alex Ferrari 23:57
Yes, exactly the production designer, our location scouts, and our first ad who was generally on on the journey with us every time. Now, you you heard a lot of these stories of what Jimmy was doing as far as yelling and threatening people and screaming what was the one time that you heard or saw something that you that sticks with you still to this day?

Boris 24:23
Um, well, I have to admit, having driven around was always fun. Because he is definitely one of these kind of characters you see like in this movies about gangsters and mafia. I think I think he was definitely trying very hard to to impersonate either Joe Petrie or one of these guys. And I mean, these guys are always very charismatic, very talkative, for stories are predictable on every moment. You never know what's happened to them. And that's what kind of a simple mystery to each of these guys. So with a Jimmy Well, I think he liked me right away from the beginning. I think he trusted me. And that was a big deal. I think on an instinctive level he, he felt that he can, he can rely on me which is, which is fine. It's such a good place to be when you're dealing with ads like this. But his, his impulsiveness is something that was interesting to me to observe. And I've seen him a couple times in production office, I remember one occasion that he was talking to agent to the agent, one of the prospective actors, but it was actually a real I think we had somebody who was attached, attached Well, not really attached to somebody who said that he's interested in reading the script. Well, if you're in the film business, john said, somebody says, Well, I'm interested in reading the script means nothing. It has no commitment has no obligation to read it when I have time. Well, in his mind, that meant we got this guy, he's reading the script he's interested in she's gonna do the movie. And I think that was a basic, basically, like a stopping point for him to even pull the trigger in production. So that's why he brought all of us and started production, because he has a guy who is interested. And it was quite known actor that I think I happen to be in the office when the agent of that particular talent, but the movie star basically passed on possible impossible, partly because he couldn't do it because I think schedule conflict or or something was not really quite, as we say, kosher. So. So I think that's what created this rage in Jimmy and he was yelling and screaming and cursing and threatening This is gonna break this guy's kneecap next time he sees him. And he slammed the phone off great. Just like there's a whole, like, there's something if you're head of big studio, and you're doing some big movie in 40s. I think that's how they used to act. Like, probably, but not if you're someone who's never done anything. And to me there was like, okay, they just want to be very, very interesting. Of course, I called my agent right away. And that's also what's happening. She said, Well, the word is out already. That is, she said, Lowe's Canada. Nobody wants to commit to this project, no matter what associated all be here. As long as you can, but I don't think this movie ever gonna get made.

Alex Ferrari 28:09
Do you think that Jimmy was the best thing and the worst thing to try to get the movie because the door, you would have never been able to crack the door into Hollywood without Jimmy and his story. But because of Jimmy, it will never get made.

Boris 28:25
There was one thing? I think maybe when I told you that, at some point, what I realized from all this experience is that maybe subconsciously, you never want to make really, and why people don't do that. Well. It's not about money. I don't think you needed money. Well, it's about redemption. It's about you. So the process of making being acting as a producer, having people around him, making him so important of daily basis was what he needed. In his mind, as long as he can, he can live this life of importance. He is ready, but he that's what gives him really, really like like, like the film is made. Well, that's it. He doesn't have an edible, which is his one only crop. This is the story. It's great story. I think and I'll go and I'll start developing another whatever I doubt that he will be able to, even if he made the movie. So for him, it was more important to the dream of making it never making it and as we conceived this movie was ever made. And I thought it was reasonable.

Alex Ferrari 29:53
It was while it was his dream. It was our nightmare.

Boris 29:57
Well, it was a roller coaster of emotion. All right, we're for sure because you you were bested in the film, far more than that our snare just kept. So you know, kind of like, record, perhaps one of the props, we are just kind of like a supporting supporting extras were extras really like in all this in all this drama as much as much it was all really close to for me. I enjoyed every moment. I enjoy being with you I enjoy being with Jimmy and all other people that actually became friend for life, which is great, this kind of experience really bonds you but but one thing that I knew right away from the beginning, especially after that episode in his office and slamming the phone and yelling and threatening, and you're just gonna be so calm. And so for me, it was like okay, like, just just enjoy the ride. And it was a roller coaster, for sure. But if I think about anything bad that happened to me, not really. Nothing really got an actual great time. What I think about it is fantastic time we will hang out, do the things that we like to do except we will never make the movie. I think in my mind you remember I told you that in my mind after we finish all the scouts after we finish endless talks, discussions about the sea and shortlisting it and storyboarding it and everything. Basically like I feel like your scope. For me this movies that this movie I already made it just made executed in front of the lens. But I had every possible beat on worked out what kind of like where what lens, what, what movement, everything was. So as far as I'm concerned.

Alex Ferrari 31:55
Now you being there for the three months that you were you caught me at towards the tail end of my journey. out from your perspective, I wanted to ask you what you thought of me and what you witnessed in my, my day, my day to day life, then because you were pretty much the closest un. And the first ad were the closest to people to me on the production who I leaned on the most. What did what was your take on? What was that, like your impression of what I was going through and, and kind of tell the audience that?

Boris 32:30
Well, right away from the moment when we met, I realized that you are the tremendous pressure. That's why you're so so you're like a completely understand and relate where the pressure was coming from, it was obvious to me, after two minutes in production of is, it's clear, who's tightening the grip, and pressuring everything, but you have different responsibilities than anybody else in production. So obviously, for you the pressure was far greater. And then later on learning about all this background story that you had, prior to me stepping in was explains everything even more. So my take was okay, I can see. He's under pressure. How can I help? So I'm gonna be focusing mostly in creating the helping you to to, to to kind of keeping away from Genie. Ensuring Genie, and I did a couple of times I would say to me, don't worry. Otherwise, it's fine. It's okay. We'll ask anybody. Good question. Anybody? I'm sure. Okay, something like that. It'll just, you know, I can understand also for Jimmy was also he was probably he was probably reporting to some high higher authority, I don't make a true. So he had somebody to report. Somebody was giving money, obviously, we are getting our bags and being paid almost good. Cash mostly. But clearly going back to, to our connection, really, I think my main main goal was to use the pressure. And yet you're really into the world of what is important to make. This movie never gets made. I felt it would be great value for you to go through the process to prepare you at least, what's the proper way and the next time you get into the production office, how we do it this way, that way, that way, and not the other way. And I think we've made

Alex Ferrari 34:45
You basically were my film school, a second film school with with this whole project, and I was it's a film history core class and also a production class on how to actually between you and the first ad Frank They you to taught me how to make a movie, like how to actually make a feature film. And I could have done that if Jimmy wasn't around.

Boris 35:10
Yeah, well, Frank was fantastic like to have around, you have to say you have to reconsider that you're so lucky to have that knowledge and experience and also the calmness the way he was handling any situation like a really good season at work. There's nothing that can take him out of his balance. That was the greatest thing to have. Anybody else I would say he would freak out and run for his life up Frankie Frankie's who know how to do it right away. And well, for me, it was really like a kind of growth of enter, which I do nowadays, regularly with Gemma prefers. And I enjoy doing that I enjoy sharing knowledge, because I always find out. It's the two way street and working with somebody who does not have maybe that much experience. Well, the value of somebody who doesn't have much experience is a freedom. You know, as much as getting an order to getting education or learning the craft, learning what you do is great, and gives you confidence and knowledge and skill. But I've had a little bit of naivete gives you far more freedom to be unconventional. And I think for somebody who gets a little bit season, it's always good to be reminded that there is another purpose, a structured approach to do the same thing. So for me, it was like, Okay, well, I think between your freedom in doing things, and between my pragmatic, logical way of planning, because at the end, that's also what I think we can find nice balance, and I think we did exactly that.

Alex Ferrari 37:00
So basically, you were the spark to my Kirk, shoulders.

Boris 37:05
As we say, back in Eastern Europe, yes.

Alex Ferrari 37:09
What What was the worst day you saw? First of all, your worst day and my worst day that you saw, from your perspective, I'd love to if you remember anything specifically.

Boris 37:21
I think my worst day was not really necessarily my worst day, but people's worst day for everybody. Not 11. Yes. Yes, that was the day when we knew things will be different. That definitely set the tone for quite a lot of things.

Alex Ferrari 37:43
But you weren't on the production during 911. Yet you came after I came off, right. So on actual production on the actual production

Boris 37:49
Actual production, you know, there was just

Alex Ferrari 37:52
A week a week away before. Yeah, that happened a week before, it was still in the year.

Boris 37:57
But he was very much, I would say the worst. The worst always say, more like bringing Dell to reality day was the fact that when our production designer went first to Jamie's office, to ask to be released to know some other project and when to return and almost punch him for daring to ask such thing. Because obviously, we saw this as a personal betrayal. I guess in his mind wanting commitment at all. That's just how it is. So basically, I realized that he owes us we are really props were really like, like extras in the drama in the wall that he created for himself to tell the story about himself. So that was a thing like, okay, that's gonna be interesting. How do I get out of this?

Alex Ferrari 39:01
Yeah, because I think that was the moment that it dawned on you like, oh, wait a minute. I can't leave. Like I was having fun. But like, all of a sudden, like, wait a minute, I I have to figure out how to get out of here cuz you're in a different state. I mean, it would have been, you know, you just can't walk away. You know, all that kind of stuff. So it must have been, it must have been interesting for you. Because you and Frank were the only two la guys were at the time everybody else was local or so you guys were in a unique situation. You were living out of a hotel. You know, you you were making your sandwiches and bringing them in for lunch because there was no catering.

Boris 39:40
Yeah, that was that was very interesting. To me. It was very Yeah, he owes me a frank. There's the only two guys and we've been talking about okay after that, like, frequently we do. Practice like I really don't know, you know, I'm sure in There must be some kind of scenario. And we just have to find a moment that has to be perfect storm so to speak for the audience for Jimmy to be open for the idea. But seeing how he reacted on our production design his request to let him go and barely managed to get the vibe of the office to be there was a sign I was going to be using it I was thinking about it because obviously realities are not as fun as we had any we had a fun, it was fun we doing things but Okay, that's enough. Let's close this chapter. Let's move on. I have other projects lined up and careers to take care of. And I can also send out in beautiful, sweet, sweet on top top of the hotel, penthouse. I mean, it's all nice. I'm complaining it was all great, obviously did really well. Even the sandwiches I was making because like I get tired of local pools I got life. So my friend. European,

Alex Ferrari 41:02
Yes, you cut your you cut your sandwich with a knife and fork

Boris 41:07
And so that was a kind of all these elements to finally get to an idea that Christmas was coming. And that's like, that's the opportunity that's like, say for me any day, a whole year, if any opportunity can be worth it, excuse the example. It's a Christmas. And that's what I did. I went to the office, try to be as calm as I could imagine, gets to mean more than Chat Chat and chat and kind of in passing measure that you know, the Christmas is coming will be so nice if I could benefit my family. And he looked at me like what are you telling me? thinking what would happen? Would it be so nice? If I could maybe spend but but of course I'm committed to your part of this American project. And that, you know, you can count on me and you wanted me kind of like I have never ever my word committed to this. But you can count on this that the moment you leave me I'm there for you. And if you said well, if you really want to go see your family, I can understand it. You know, I'll be back when there was a moment when I had everything packed and ready. Just in case it works. I get in a car drove pick up my stuff and I was on the flight like what was ready.

Alex Ferrari 42:40
And Frank was right behind you

Boris 42:42
Frank was right behind me. So I guess Frank realize all this maybe the moment when remains soft. Because of us that same kind of like opening for him.

Alex Ferrari 42:56
I tell you though, that was I'll never forget you guys getting in the cab and driving the light. I will never, I remember we were right up front of the racetrack. And you guys got on the car and you said, you said to me, I'll be back. Don't worry, I'll be back. And I knew you were never coming back. I knew. And that was honestly the saddest day out of all the craziness that happened. That to me was the saddest day because then I knew I was alone, again, and I had no one to really protect me or guide me or, or anything to be a barrier between me and Jimmy. It was it was the saddest day of my existence on a project.

Boris 43:38
I knew that I knew that I knew this was gonna probably happen. But we didn't feel like we're leaving you hanging out there. And we really hope that our leaving the project will help with the other kind of open the door really wide. So the flood of people dropping the ship will really just happen. And then eventually, Jimmy, my disciple, put everything on hold and like you're kind of off the hook. We hoped for it because it was clear lbos especially when you realize a $20 million became 15. They became incredible thinking about it and started getting smaller and smaller. And then we realized, well, there must be some issue there. Obviously the biggest issue was Jimmy, which he will never realize.

Alex Ferrari 44:30
And what was the worst day that you saw in me. From your perspective. I'm really curious to hear that. If you remember any worse specific day.

Boris 44:41
I don't know if it was really specific day but I think there are moments you have the days coming at are usually these days of hyped up expectations for you. I know that you'd be you'd have to take a trip to meet some big actor and that multiple multiple Yes, so. So I could see that every time, you'll come back from any of these trips, meeting actors that your spirit was broken, or more, and I can see that you're realizing that the dream that you'll be dreaming for months and months and months, is further further away have ever been realized. And then I've also realized, I've been realizing that you're basically cropped, without any any way out. So to me, it's not one event, but there's been several then as especially if you have to deal with your coming back from these meetings with the actors and realizing.

Alex Ferrari 45:46
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. Those were the those were tough times. And what was the one thing that you told me about moving to LA?

Boris 46:08
Like we could all do? Well, if you really want to if you're serious about making movies, comfortable, Hollywood,

Alex Ferrari 46:14
And what was the one thing you always told me was the biggest regret you will ever have? Is that you didn't do it earlier?

Boris 46:19
Yes, it was. A lot of people told me Yes, I remember, we had to do it right away. But it always right away. Because yes, you will have the biggest regret. If you don't do this, you will have biggest regret not doing it. If you do it later, well, you're probably not doing it earlier. But at the end of the day, I believe that things always happen where they're supposed to happen. You know, there's a, there's a there was a moment when you have to act on your instinct, or if something tells you this thing to do that you don't like it maybe too early, can be also damaging is maybe more than not doing it at all. So I think you'll do the right thing you did. You evaluated everything that you You came here, when was the right time for you to be here.

Alex Ferrari 47:12
So reviewing everything that we've gone through, you're one of my oldest and dearest friends. We went through war together, as these kind of relationships are built up on on locations on productions. They're pretty intense. Ours was probably one of the more intense ones you've ever dealt with, with another director, in this sense, looking back at it everything, what is what is the feeling that you have about the whole experience? That really kind of just rings to you, at this point, looking back with the perspective of almost 20 years back now, I mean, I can't believe we're saying 20 years, but it's almost 20 years that we did this? What's the thing that that you know, comes to your mind when you kind of look at Jimmy and the experience. And now the book, and how the story is finally going to get out there to people what's what's your feeling on it

Boris 48:15
Never fails to really amaze me, when it comes down to film industry, the range of people that this business attracts, that's really To me, it's most fascinating. And the experience, particularly its brilliance on our film world was so much different than than anything I've ever experienced before or after. But proves my point absolutely, totally to the core. And really it's a case study of the madness, the mayhem, but also the termination. And I don't think any business that quite off brings people with so much determination and also I think it's following the dream. Dream about being anything being chef being I don't know, I don't being a doctor, his dreams, but the intensity or the dream that people in the Philippines say it's exponentially higher. So no business I think other than really the cause experience what comes down to bonding. Just being a break from production. production. The level you see what Bond's people I think it's being being it's, it's really seen Best and Worst on everybody because the pressure creates environment, but you can afford you cannot cheat. We cannot lie you You are who you are. And the pressure really enables people to get to know each other, a much different level than you would normally do. And that's why everybody says, Well, that's kind of causes you when you're in a war, when you're in the trenches, you really get to know it, because you rely, you're part of the team. It's not only you, it's about everybody. So you know that if a person next to you, does not trust you, well, it could affect on everybody else and everything. So. So I think it's about the ultimate team building experience, when you're in production, that creates this unity creates a connection, especially when you come across people that are on the same wavelength, so to speak, and they're on some different level connected. That's the biggest thing that you get out of out of this.

Alex Ferrari 50:51
The one thing I mentioned this in the book, but I wanted to hear from your point of view you when you came back to LA, you would tell anybody who would listen about this story and have been for the last 20 years. Is this true?

Boris 51:06
Yes. This was the conversation that sparked the conversation I had almost 20 years. Still going, it's still they're still going going every time, you know, we hang out the pill people and everybody shares the horror stories from the set and like, oh, let me tell you my story. I'm going to drop off this. Absolutely. Nothing comes close to this one. And so far, I mean, I never heard anybody that to talk to this story. But any dinner or party conversation, because every time I mentioned GBM, what we went through and what all happens, everyone off, that's not possible, like, well, trust me. Because if I told him Yeah, it's really it's true.

Alex Ferrari 51:47
And now you actually are going to be handing out books to everybody.

Boris 51:50
I cannot wait to get the books. And that's what I told them at the party was actually there. And it's and here it is.

Alex Ferrari 51:59
Now, it's also true that anytime I would show up to one of these parties, your friends would would find me and it will come to me and go your Is it true with a Boris was just joking. Is it true? And I would have to sit there and like validate your story.

Boris 52:14
That's right. That's right. And that brings even even, like expression of confusion and disbelief on everybody level. Also, that really must be the truth. And then how is this possible for? Yeah, for sure. That's very, very, quite few things off of this?

Alex Ferrari 52:32
Oh, no, there's many, many good things that came out of this experience, obviously, a great friendship over the years. And it made me who I am today. And it's also made me the grizzled, independent filmmaker that I am now because of it. So, and it was probably one of the reasons why I wanted to launch indie film hustle, because I wanted to help others not to do the same mistakes that I did.

Boris 52:54
I think this will be perfect. For anybody who is in the film hustle world as well as anybody who is just for sheer amusement quality of the book itself. I think that's that's gonna be just amazing.

Alex Ferrari 53:09
And without question, please explain to people who are listening, because a lot of people were like, Oh, this must happen all the time, or this situation can't be this unique. You've been now close to 30 years in the film business. 20 odd years. Close it there. Let's let's round it up. round it up. You're younger man, sir. But yes, let's just throw it out there. In kindergarten, you started

Boris 53:37
With my first films. We know that we make movies in kindergarten and elementary school. And that's why we have such good cinematographers. That's the key.

Alex Ferrari 53:48
That's right. That's right. But please explain to the audience how unique and ridiculous this in that this does not happen.

Boris 54:02
Well, it's really hard to explain ridiculousness of all this experience. I mean, every detail you bring telling the story. In my case, just if I see how I get the film, it's only like, come on. If there is more than ever, there is no way. I don't want to say oh, by the way, at all, no accounting possible. So the level of ridiculousness in this whole experience, it's something that is really hard to hard to match. And that's why all the US who really lived and experienced with this, can really, truly understand how this was possible. As we went through this, as well, whatever happens to us, but I think for everybody who reads the book, I'm sure there will be people who say no, that was all No way that was all like born out of proportion. And it's okay to think that it's fine. It's fine, because for other people, there will be no point of reference in their own personal experience to say, Oh, yeah, I seen that. Maybe I didn't recognize the episodes and say, Oh, yeah, I remember also that. When we ended up scouting for a strip club in our scouting entire state to find out the best report for Pixie, I'm sure there will be people like that only I will also be the producer who hang up on the fall. Yeah. All these puzzles all these owners together, it's something that's I think, very hard to match. But it's also what I get out of this experience. is nothing ever surprises me anymore. And I've been to some productions since then. quite few. But that's okay. Let's go to like, Okay, once you have this experience, when you hit a point that is hard to make, she's like, been there, it's worse. It's nothing like in wag the dog. That's nothing. Oh, we shot the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, we will still do the bad. That's nothing like dusty Hoffman's character. It's nothing. So for me that kind of That's nothing. And that's great place to be like, whenever you get in production. And things are really tough. And they don't, they will be so so because I know. I've seen that I lived through. And I see worse. I live to worse.

Alex Ferrari 56:30
Now there has been already there's going to be this question after the book comes out. And it's already you know, from the few industry people that have read it before it comes out about the movie. The movie version, it is a question that's asked constantly in any of my interviews, it's constantly asked by anybody, is it this would make a great movie. Originally, your idea for me was to write a screenplay. I said, I didn't want to write the screenplay. And the book came out, I think it's much better that the book came out first, because I got the whole story out, the screenplay can't encompass the entire story. So what is your feeling of the movie? idea, first of all, getting made one day. And secondly, if the movie does go through, obviously, I'm the only director that I will allow on the project. And you are the only cinematographer that I will allow on this project. What's your feeling on first of the movie? And then us being part of the movie?

Boris 57:30
Well, here's the thing. The movie itself, I always say, this is still one of the best scripts I wrote

Alex Ferrari 57:37
The movie of the of the of Jimmy's movie.

Boris 57:42
The script itself. It was great. It was a free rated. If we made it, it could have done something about something. I think it had the potential. The story's interesting. And it's very colorful, and the characters are colorful, and setting is colorful, and it was unique. It was a unique take on it. Very, you know, yes, it is kind of like a mafia movie, but with a little bit more personal family. So I would see, I could see that I could see that what would set this game apart from anything else. All film making of that film will be something that well, you remember I kept telling you during the pre production that the worst thing that we are missing here, but we don't have surveillance cameras, broadcasting 24 hours what's happening in production, that it could have been the best film ever made about making off of the movie that was ever made. But we didn't think about it. We just joked about it. But now in hindsight, when we think about it, like wow, I wish we had the cameras. Well, it'd be so great to have cameras and get all these precious moments recorded. So if this movie ever gets made, making off the movie, I think it could be so interesting, because I remember back maybe around the same time, there was a movie called rope about crazy filmmaker, who coincidentally couple friends of mine worked on it when they told me when they told me what was experienced working on this film, which is probably as crazy as it can get. I will not either ended up seeing the room after a couple of times of studying for the screening. And it was the craziest the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. But it became a cult following. It still has a following without screens as a whole. And then somebody heard about it. And they made movie disaster artist about making a movie about how they made the movie The role with the crazy guy who was the director, producer, everything It was successful, it was really successful. So for a lot of people who have not even seen the movie, it was just enough to see the movie about making it to make it really great film. So I feel the same way about this film that if, if we will make it one day, well, that will be fantastic to which time.

Alex Ferrari 1:00:25
But the question I get, I always tell people this, that, you know, I always use a critique Jimmy, and you did to that this movie, he was an ego maniacal maniac, because he was making a movie about his producing a movie about his own life. And I had never really seen a producer produce a film about their own life, generally speaking, it's not something that's done. But then of course, I would take it to the next level where not only would not only produce, I would direct and write a movie about my life, have me in the scene, and then you would be there next to me. So then now, how surreal and meta would it be that I would be directing a scene with you and me as the characters and then you would be there where the the actor playing you, which would obviously saw Sacha Baron Cohen,

Boris 1:01:18
This will be so unique. I don't think he's ever in history of cinema. So there is a point that we have to break new ground here it is what it is. And as far as such a bottom coin? Well, I have to think about, I have to look at the resumes and do the screen test. I've been cinematographer in this particular story is the second crucial part, it's almost as equally as important as more important than director I would disagree, but go ahead. So we have to really think about complexity of the character, and how it is possible to bring all these nuances. Bonus is very complex guys, Jesus, because we communicate his his historic background, education, his cultural heritage, aside from his artistic skill, and whole philosophy, when it comes down to telling the story visually. So our point will be as close as we can get to get the character of polish. As really true to the life

Alex Ferrari 1:02:25
I'm rethinking the whole Boris character in general, we might have to tone it down a little bit, you might just have one or two scenes there. You should make it on the poster, you should be the poster. Without without question, I think it would be it would obviously be a very unique experience. I couldn't even I can't even think about making a movie like this without you. So it just has to happen. If it has, I mean, I can't have another cinematographer do this. It has to be you. Frank is no longer with us. He has since passed. But I would have loved to have Frank on this on this project as well. But But between I mean, having you would be there would be so surreal, I think we might break the space time continuum,

Boris 1:03:19
I have a feeling the right way to do this would be to go back to the original location to the crime scene and go to the same restaurant, get back to the same production of this as we had a lot of makeup Katrina and start production there, which will also serve as a location for the movie. And it will show you and I think everybody who participated in the original movie will be great. So bring them all back into the amazing, fantastic by now. I'm sure many of them have very good successful career. So maybe a major stepping down but doesn't matter. They can still be a better than anyone. All right. So I think that would be a really wise way to do this. Question is, how would we be?

Alex Ferrari 1:04:03
That was a question. What do you think? What What do you think Jimmy is going to do when he sees it? Because this will eventually get to him.

Boris 1:04:12
Well, it's hard to predict. As we know, it is very hard to pick the type of guy he might have his own idea. And I think the biggest problem, the biggest issue people have is that he will be taken out of equation, the whole process. So he will not like that. On the other hand, in whatever capacity even just to play himself. Who knows? That might open all possibility. But it won't happen.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:43
No, it will not happen. Not on my set, sir. I'm sorry. That will not happen. We are not casting Jimmy to play Jimmy

Boris 1:04:50
But we can bring him or we can bring him as a consultant.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:54
Absolutely not. I don't want there's no consulting. There's nothing I want Jimmy to do on this film. nothing whatsoever. If anything, we might be able to give him a ticket to the premiere

Boris 1:05:07
I think we need a beef of security for anything else for the product,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:09
or that I give that I guarantee you, we're gonna have beef up. But you and I will have personal bodyguards walking around with us. But in all honesty that what do you think Jimmy will do when he when he sees this?

Boris 1:05:24
I think here's, here's the thing. He would, of course, be very happy because he is important part of the story. So for him, it will stop us really nicely. in Monterrey, immortalize him as a as a genie forever. And that's something I'm sure he would love. I think that he would not love Well, it will not be filled. If you wanted to make about himself, it's about us. It's about the process, where he's just important part, but not the key player in all story. Show modularizing Jimmy as a character in all this story structure will be something he will not be happy about call me

Alex Ferrari 1:06:05
He won't be the star but he is the main protagonist, excuse me the antagonist.

Boris 1:06:09
He is also starring currently starring Boris

Alex Ferrari 1:06:16
Okay. Boris is not fulfilling. Can I have please? And you think that he would? That would be the problem he has

Boris 1:06:37
I think to find out to make it as soon as possible and to what really reaction?

Alex Ferrari 1:06:42
Well, he didn't hear the book before the movie is made? I that's no question the book will get out before the movies. I mean, no question. Because we are recording this prior to the release of the book. You know, we haven't spoke we'll maybe we'll do another one. When we speak after the book has been released. Maybe after it gets a little press, we'll see what happens. But right now this is being this has been recorded before the book is released. So we have no idea what will happen to the book. What what what will go on, we have no idea. So this is a very interesting place to be.

Boris 1:07:15
Oh, yes, definitely interesting place to be. And I'm very happy to be in this place. People we don't know. Reports. But

Alex Ferrari 1:07:25
I think that one day will I think the real Boris will step out of the shadows one day,

Boris 1:07:29
I will probably be proud one day to bring the cue light with me and finally release the ideal voice.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:38
And one last question. Or two last questions. They kind of similar. What did you feel when you first read the book, but the whole thing from cover to cover? When you first read it? What was the first thing that came to you.

Boris 1:07:59
Rereading the book was like, because a quarter as much for you was also quoted away for me. Because I remember, we are more before that. When I made a phone call and call you and told you, Hey, I just heard Jimmy on the radio, can't believe is not still around and still doing the same thing. something needs to be done about it. And I told you when you did it, because I knew that you need to get it out of your system. That's important. There was something that was always like we will always over years. reference it make joke always crappy jobs kind of revisit the moments and but I knew that there is far more to the story than what you and I went through. And you and I joked about. So for me, finally, when I read the book, I get the whole picture, I get the whole picture like okay, that's what's about you, that was a chapter that you needed to close for your sanity for your sake of mine. And it's also I think it was a good place to go to revisit where you started and where you are right now. Can you kind of do some kind of validation of your personal existence, your personal life. So to me, that was the thing I love. I love the book very much for the beginning when I started reading a chapter about boys. That was really very, very inspirational. And for me, it was really like I don't know what you know, like, in one continuous chunk of time. That's how I think compellingly it is regardless if I was part of it, that I could relate to many characters to many events, but it's a journey that takes people the pitch reader on even if it's hopelessly fictional. I think it's it's great to be diverse in uniform porn from porn.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:02
And when you held the book in your hand, I just did that recently, I gave you a full book because you read the digital version, when you saw it with the cover and everything. What did you feel?

Boris 1:10:15
Well, you know, there's a document. And it's a real. And I hope this book is going to stay in somewhere in some archives in the Library of Congress. So whatever is going on, others want to keep his book for generations and generations. So for me, it was a, it was a real final closure. For your, for us, for anybody who was part of this, it was like, Okay, this thing is not real. And now this thing is wonderful out there. And become part of life's of many, many people out there. So now you have the real thing in your head. And that to me was like, great moment of,

Alex Ferrari 1:10:55
Boris, thank you so much for, for the inspiration to write the book for the nudging that you've been giving me for the last 20 years. Every time you give, and you tell me to do something, it takes me a little bit to get around. You told me to move to LA, it took me about six, seven years to do that. And you pushed me for 17 years or so to put to write this book, or to write to tell the story. But it finally got it done. So I want to thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to that you did that. And for everything you did while I was going through the most difficult time of my entire life.

Boris 1:11:33
Well, thank you for taking me along on the journey. And I'm very happy that I can, I can push you in the right direction. And then when you listen to me, always results in something that you appreciate. It makes me feel good to solid things are not as crazy as I might be autos received back in all countries placebo. And thank you and hope to see you again, something exciting.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:00
I truly want to thank Boris for putting himself out there and doing this interview for not only me, but for the tribe. And to kind of you know, set the record straight that this this is not. This is not just me, guys. I mean, I have proof. I have people who say that this, this is a true story. So I really, really want you guys to read this book, I really want you guys to get into it. And again, Boris, thank you. Thank you so much, my friend, you are one of my best friends in the entire world. And I truly, truly, truly appreciate everything you did for me then, and everything you've done since so thank you again, Boris. Now, if you enjoyed this episode of Boris and his interview, if you want to actually watch this interview, just go to the show notes at indie film hustle.com forward slash 312. And I have posted that interview on YouTube. And at the end, there's a video in the show notes if you actually want to see Boris, in live in action. Definitely check it out as well. There'll be links there as well for the screening, the book signing and the talk that I'll be doing on April 25 at the Chinese theatre. I'm so so excited to get this out there for you guys. And the reviews that have been coming in on Amazon and privately are amazing. And I really, really, really am humbled and thank you so so much for this if you guys have purchased the book, guys take some pictures, send them to me, I want to post them I want to put them out there if you want to do a video review, send me a video I will post it on YouTube, I will post it on Facebook, I will post it throughout all of my social media I really want to get what you guys think out there I want this to be I want this book to be not only about me and about the story but about the tribe and how it's affecting you guys and how it's hopefully bringing us together and helping you guys on your own journey. So please send me anything and everything you guys got pictures, videos, audio, whatever, I will post it I will get it out there as much as I can. So thank you guys again. So so so much for the support. I truly appreciate it. As always keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.

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LINKS

  • Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob (Based on the Incredible True Story) Book- Buy It on Amazon

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