Mixing genres for film with ‘edge’

A former student wrote and produced the film “Dollface: The Road to the Apocalypse.”

Former student Bob Kaplan is directing a superhero comedy film titled “Dollface: The Road to the Apocalypse.” | ANNA STERBENZ FOR THE TEMPLE NEWS

Adam Iezzi said his upcoming role is complicated.

In “Dollface: The Road to the Apocalypse”, Iezzi, a 2012 history alumnus, will play The Doctor, the antagonist of the film. He said the film is like “a vertigo comic strip made into a movie with Hannibal Lecter in it.”

“Dollface” is an indie superhero comedy set in a mental asylum in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The film’s heroine, also named Dollface, is known for killing criminals. She is placed in an asylum and fights to prove her sanity throughout the film, which will be released later this year.

Bob Kaplan, the writer and producer,  studied at Temple before transferring to West Chester University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2013.

One day, Kaplan called Iezzi on the phone and said, “I have a role for you.”

“I just said, ‘Okay,’” Iezzi said. “Anytime he has any kind of crazy film idea or what not I go along with it.”

Kaplan was inspired to write the script of “Dollface” while watching “Tank Girl,” a superhero comedy whose heroine fights a mega-corporation controlling the world’s water supply.

“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if she were fighting zombies?’” Kaplan said.

Kaplan said he’s “obsessed” with other female superheroes, like Hit-Girl from the film “Kick-Ass.” “Dollface” was a way for Kaplan to bring his own version of a strong, female protagonist to life.

The film is a mix of movie genres, including superhero, comedy, action and horror, creating a film unlike anything else, Kaplan said.

Kaplan, a lifelong movie fan, enjoys indie horror as a genre not only because of its content, but also because of the fans who support the films.

“The fans have such a huge input on the way things are,” he said. “It’s more of a community than anything.”

Community has been essential in the making of “Dollface,” Kaplan said. The film is being paid for by fundraising, meaning it is not guaranteed any cast or crew members will be compensated.

Being a part of the process is the only guaranteed reward, Kaplan said.

Chris Schramm, a 2014 film and media arts alumnus who directed “Dollface,” wants to create projects that will make people laugh.

“I like having a sense of humor on set,” Schramm said. “If I enjoy it, other people are going to enjoy it.”

Prior to working on “Dollface,” Schramm directed “Killerz” and “Brains.” Both shorts incorporate dark comedy, an “edge” Schramm recognized in Kaplan’s longer script when he read it for the first time.

He also admired Kaplan’s drive to combine multiple movie genres.

“I like to take those ambitious steps toward a more interesting film,” Schramm said. “You don’t see much out there like ‘Dollface.’”

There are about 30 cast and crew members working on “Dollface” and Kaplan estimates about 80 percent of them are alumni.

As producer and writer of the film, Kaplan has a hand in almost every decision made in regards to the project, from casting the crew to making final cuts.

As the “overseer of all things ‘Dollface,’” as he puts it, has its perks, but the most gratifying aspect is watching the film go from “nothing to something.”

“This is probably one of the most amazing processes to witness,” Kaplan said. “Whether it’s working on set or being in the editing room, it’s amazing to help get to that final product.”

Grace Shallow can be reached at grace.shallow@temple.edu.

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