Blood, Sweat, and Slimers – Bueno Productions & Ghostbusters
by Joshua Copus – Oxland
Two Devonshire siblings, Anthony and Claire Bueno, worked over the course of 12 years to share their passion for the film Ghostbusters. On the 3rd of March, Bueno Productions came to Exeter Phoenix to share Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters. The documentary, marginally funded by Kickstarter (launched in February 2016, hitting its goal of £40,000), made its debut earlier in the UK this year.
Ghostbusters itself needs no introduction, as its sharp-wit and inventive premise about the supernatural haunting New York has captured the hearts of filmgoers since its 1984 debut. Despite such a following, the film hasn’t had such an in-depth look into its production until now (previous documentaries such as Ghostheads have looked more into the fandom side of things), and this documentary not only goes into the writing process of the film, but also explores how its cast came together, how its crew created such iconic monsters as the Slimer and Stay Puft, and what the responses were by audiences. The full listing is available on Bueno Productions’ website, and the uncut film is available on Prime Video for purchase.
The story behind the documentary proves just as interesting as the documentary itself. The brother-sister duo behind Bueno Productions grew up in Torquay, with Anthony attending Steps Cross School. Throughout the years, Anthony’s interest in film-making built up, from filming with cassette tapes at school to appreciating the media he watched, including Ghostbusters (of course), Knight Rider, and He-Man. He then went on to work at Torbay Hospital for the computer services department for 6 years before finding an Empire magazine advert for a film-making course in London.
The paths the two went down followed these interests as Claire studied with the London School of Journalism, and Anthony studied with King’s College as run by the New York Film Academy. Claire had interviewed celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, alongside making contributions to the film-centred news-site Premiere Scene. Anthony’s skills in film landed him a job as editor for the ‘Beware The Moon: Remembering An American Werewolf in London’ documentary, getting in touch with director John Landis in the process. Then, it was John’s connection to Dan Akyroyd, writer and starring actor of Ghostbusters, that led them to the info-gathering process of Cleanin’ Up the Town.
From there, their contacts list expanded, and by the end of production, the two had amassed 46 interviews with the cast and crew.
“What we found,” Claire says, “was that you’d interview somebody, they’d have a really good time reminiscing and they’d go ‘have you spoken to so and so? Oh, (they’re) a friend of mine. Here’s his/her email address!’ So it was like breadcrumbs.”
Anthony, directing and writing the script for the documentary, reflected on his experiences with the writing process.
“A lot of that is partly what you know, and a lot of it was also things that come out in the conversation through the interviews, and then you go, ‘okay, we’ll meet up with this person’. It’s the kind of narrative that evolves a little bit more through the process, and that’s the joys of documentary. You can’t say, ‘no, this is exactly what it’s gonna be and that’s what it is’, you’ve got to be open for flexibility because it could change direction completely.”
However, there were times when it felt like it was raining cats and dogs, mass hysteria, for the two. Barring the elusive Bill Murray, getting access to the main cast proved to be difficult. Dan Akyroyd, for instance, took 4 years after much persistence as well as a telling-off from his agent along the way. After the film was finished, clearing the copyright also put pressure on the documentary’s release, with all the music, footage and archival material having to be checked.
“This last year has probably been the biggest learning curve,” Claire says, “because once you start to get into the world of sales agents and bringing your film into the international market; honestly, when we made this documentary, we thought that we would just be selling it around Comic Cons.”
Anthony had faced additional problems throughout its 12 year production, including intermittent delays and managing the Kickstarter campaign. Despite difficulties, the two kept it as an independent documentary to maintain full creative control over their project.
Responses to the film so far have been favourable, with critics such as The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw calling it ‘an enjoyably geeky documentary’. On its premiere at the IMAX London in January, it played to a huge audience with fans from across the region attending, including cosplay group The U.K. Ghostbusters.
“It’s been a real triumph over adversity to get to this point where we’re screening the film,” Claire says. “I stood on that stage and I felt that I earned the right with my brother. It was the most magnificent moment of my life, since this has been 12 years of blood, sweat, and tears and being completely broke.”
More is to be expected to come with coverage of the sequel Too Hot to Handle: Remembering Ghostbusters II in post-production. Additional screenings of Cleanin’ Up the Town will be held in London and Worthing in the near future.
About the Author: Joshua Copus – Oxland
Joshua Copus – Oxland grew up in Exeter and has stayed there for most of his life so far. He loves engaging with the local arts and writing scenes, and can be frequently seen enjoying a pint with the River Exe Writers.
Tags: Anthony bueno, Bueno Productions, Claire Bueno, Exeter, Exeter Phoenix, film, ghostbusters, He-Man, Joshua Copus - Oxland, Knight Rider