Allie Loukas is an aspiring filmmaker who hopes to make it a dream to become a full-fledged filmmaker. She makes her film debut as star, producer, writer, and director of the indie comedy Kathryn Upside Down, which debuted in March. The film is known for its vastly improvised dialogue and the overall result is that Loukas is a star on the rise.
World Film Geek had the chance to speak to Loukas about her film debut.
Allie, this is exciting. Kathryn Upside Down was quite a film that is truly funny. I’m glad that you are taking the time to talk about the film.
I’m so excited that you like the film. It always feels nice to hear someone enjoyed the film. So, thank you!
What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I originally wanted to be an actor. However, I realized that it would be great to write and learn the business side of filmmaking. I will say it is not easy at all. I did so much with Kathryn Upside Down. I am the lead, director, producer, writer, helped with the editing, wardrobe. I practically did it all and got great support from my parents. My mom is a producer on the film. My dad was the hair stylist on the film and they both have small roles. My mom is the grandmother and my dad plays my boss for a seconds in one scene.
What motivated you to use improvisation as opposed to dialogue? What cracked me up were the performances by Carlton McBeth as Ray Ray, especially the hair straightener bit and those nouveau-riche people at the social function, in addition to Gustav himself as if he just comes out of nowhere.
As we were shooting the film, I started to realize that some of what I had scripted wasn’t working. I thought what if we could just wing it and just come up with something natural. So, I decided to just ad-lib through some of the film and have some of the cast do their thing as well. The funny thing with Carlton is that his hair straightening bit is something he did off the set during our lunch break (laughs). And those people in the party scene? This will sound a bit shocking, but those people are actually my parents’ neighbors and they were basically really good sports playing themselves. That’s the great thing about improvisation, it comes off as natural.
As this is your first film, there was bound to be some insane stories on the set. What were the difficulties you had to endure during production?
Oh where do I begin? It took me 10 total years to make the film from 2009-2019, including funding, shooting, editing, marketing, it’s a long, long road. There are some people who don’t get that making an indie film is a lot of hard work, it’s not a fly by night. There were so many problems I had to overcome on the set of the film. A particular crew member didn’t do their job properly and I think had their mind made up on being difficult, so I had to pretty much had to pick up the slack and it just got worse and worse in terms of this person, who I definitely will not work with again, but it was a part of the process and in the end and I learned and grew from it. I know so much more now and what and who to steer clear of thankfully. There was also an issue with the lighting so we had to go through color correction and I knew I had to fix it and get it done right, I met up with the color team who did another indie film, Bad Johnson. Luckily, they let me use their facility for a discount and I did all of it with a colorist and tons of notes so we could move more quickly.
With the difficulties there must also be some fun anecdotes. Got any to talk about on the set?
Hmmmm are there any good things about making the film? Hmmmm, let me think. I don’t think there are (laughs). Kidding. Well, it was great to be able to use certain spots around the Chicago area. One of my favorite places to shoot was the Parthenon restaurant. It is closed down now, so it felt like an honor to be able to shoot the dinner scene there. I’m also an avid Cubs and SNL fan, so to be able to include the Billy Goat and the Cheezborger aka “The Olympia Restaurant” skit from SNL made famous by the great John Belushi was a treat.
I have seen and heard people who have seen the film and there have been those who would love to see you do another film. Have you been having ideas on a follow-up to Kathryn Upside Down?
I do have another script that I’m still attempting to polish. It’s called Lucy Wall’s Ex-Mas. It sounds like a romantic comedy, but has a twist. It’s about a temp who finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her and this all happens around Christmas. She meets her new co-worker who offers her to join his family for the festivities but they are a loud Irish drinking family and all these shenanigans happen. And if that’s not crazy enough, her now ex-boyfriend becomes the victim of the girl he cheated with, who happens to be a witch. It has the feel of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation meets say, Teen Witch (laughs).
I think indie films are very important for cinema today and I feel that Kathryn Upside Down is definitely an indie comedy that film lovers should check out. And I am one of those who hopes you will make a return to films soon because I think you are a face to look out for. Thank you so much Allie for talking about the film.
Thank you so much and I hope so many more people will see the film as well! Hopefully we can have a follow-up going soon thereafter!
A special Thank You goes out to Allie Loukas for making this interview possible. Kathryn Upside Down is now available on DVD via Amazon, VOD, and Digital.