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An Interview with Jaz Kalkat, Writer and Producer of Oliver, Stoned.

by Mike Haberfelner

July 2015

Films written by Jaz Kalkat on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie Oliver, Stoned. - in a few words, what is it about?


Oliver, Stoned. is about a down and out stoner thrust into a wacky heartfelt adventure.


Since Oliver, Stoned. is a stoner comedy - is that at all a genre dear to you, and to what extent can you identify with/have you researched stoner culture as such?


The stoner comedy genre is totally dear to me. It takes me back to my early teens and growing up in the late-late 90’s. We had these totally wacky stoner comedies like Dude, Where’s My Car and Half Baked that everyone at school would be taking about. That and American Pie were the risky must watch behind your parents' back to be cool type of movies.


I’ve researched stoner culture throughout my entire life. I grew up in Northern California, in an area that was specifically hit hard by the “Green Rush”. Naturally you experience your surroundings.


(Other) sources of inspiration when writing Oliver, Stoned. - and to what extent can you identify with title character, actually?


Sources for inspiration when writing Oliver, Stoned. came from all over the place. Most characters are based off of some of our friends smashed together. We could take a bit of personality from someone I grew up with, and we could mash that with one of Tom's skate park buddies. We wrote and shot the movie in Oxnard, California. Oxnard is really a magical place and it inspired a heck of a lot of the movie. Oxnardia!


What can you tell us about your co-writer and director Tom Morris, and what was your collaboration like both during the writing process and during the shoot?


Tom Morris is a machine. The kid eats, sleeps, and breathes filmmaking. During the writing process we would wake up, write 5 pages each, have lunch, clean up each other’s pages, mess around with a basketball, and then read the ten pages we produced that day. We did this for about a month, maybe less, and decided to go shoot the movie.


During the shoot Tom and I would communicate constantly. He would be directing one scene, as I’m helping all our fantastic departments with the next set up or location. Our budget was micro-micro, and our crew size was just a dozen or so. It’s all hands on deck at that point.


Do talk about Oliver, Stoned.'s specific brand of humour for a bit?


When we were writing Oliver, Stoned. we took the stance of it being a mumblecore film with a very open story to allow the characters to be as free as possible. We wanted to shoot a movie over time with no budget, and then luckily we found some money and structured the film a bit more. Some of the mumblecore elements remain, and I think allowing the story to be loose and free really broadened the comedy. I love subtle dialogue jokes and I think the movie is ripe with them.


You also acted as producer on Oliver, Stoned. - so how much of a say did you have/demand in the making of the movie, and how hands-on or hands-off were you during the shoot?


I did act as producer Oliver, Stoned. and I also acted in Oliver, Stoned.! I am one half of the Indian painter duo. Elliot Feld, also a producer on the film, and myself handled everything hands on as possible. Elliot took care of all of the financials and made sure we we’re on track. I did more of the ground and pound logistics. We were already spread thin as far as crew is concerned, so him and I both had to wear a lot of different hats. For example, Elliot had to AD for the pick up shoot days. I was in a handful of scenes so I would basically stay in costume those days while dealing with the public and logistics all over town.


What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


The atmosphere on set was amazing to say the least. We had a very very small crew, essentially just department heads, so it felt like a small family working together to make a movie. Most of the crew stayed at my house in Oxnard, as did Seth Cassell who plays Oliver. I gave Seth my room and slept on the floor in our guest room, which was also where Tyler the editor was staying and editing in, for the entire shoot.


The $64-question of course, when and where will the movie be released onto the general public?


The movie will be available on August 4th on video on demand on all platforms. That includes Xbox and the Playstation Network for my fellow gamers out there (Level 34 Hunter in Destiny here!). It is also available for preorders via iTunes.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


We are currently working on a really awesome horror/thriller called Tragedy Girls. Here is the short form synopsis: Two narcissistic teenage girls kidnap a local serial killer and set about terrorizing their sleepy midwestern town.



What got you into screenwriting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I went to film school at The Brooks Institute in Ventura. We had a great screenwriting teacher there named Brian Price who really taught me how to structure a movie. The character development came from reading a few books on the subject, and reading other scripts.


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Oliver, Stoned.?


Before Oliver, Stoned we shot an indie feature called General Education. It had a small theatrical run in 2011 and wasn’t very successful. I wrote and produced that film along with Elliot Feld and Tom Morris right after graduating film school. We raised the money for that one privately as well. Oh how much I’ve learned since making that film. I would definitely give it an extensive rewrite if I were to make that movie again today.


How would you describe yourself as a writer?


I think I’m still finding my style as a writer. Luckily the company I work with right now allows me freedom to write more when we are not shooting commercials or music videos. I like to write comedy that is fast paced, and visual. I think the attention of the audience is shrinking, and to make up for that I like to write quick jokes with visual elements built in to hold that attention.


Writers and filmmakers who inspire you?


I think my biggest inspiration for making films is Wes Anderson. I have always rated his films very high in my heart. Writer directors are always my favourite. I really enjoy screenplays from Charlie Kaufman. He tells unique stories that are very different than anything I see at the movies, and that to me is refreshing. From the visual style of Oliver, Stoned., I think it’s a bit obvious that we’re Edgar Wright fans as well. And of course Quentin Tarantino fills my heart with joy anytime I tune into one of his flicks.


Your favourite movies?


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My favourite movie of all time is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The mix of drama, surrealism, and comedy with an ensemble cast is just really fun to me. It’s a film that makes me feel all ranges of my emotion, that that is just fantastic to me. I also really like the film In Bruges and have been watching that a bunch lately. In Bruges provides for great dialogue and situational comedy.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


As much as I love video games, I don’t like movies based on them. I hope someone does a video game movie right!


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


The Twitter is @_OliverStoned

The Facebook is


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

Legal note: (re)Search my Trash cannot
and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.

Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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