Kris Krainock wears many hats — screenwriter, director, producer, playwright and poet — but if one were to boil him down to one word, you could simply call him a humanist. Krainock has been described as “high concept,” and his work is undoubtedly cloaked in homage to the greats — Bergman’s emotional rawness, Fellini’s fantastical exploration, and Hitchcock’s cerebral sense of mystery are all found in Krainock’s film, television and written work — but he is not afraid to entertain, exploring life and death through trademark erudite philosophizing and pitch-black humor.


Hi Kris, nice to meet you and thanks for granting us this interview.

How was born your passion for the world of cinema?

I knew I wanted to be part of cinema since I was three years old. From a very early age, I was able to memorize the dialogue of a movie after one or two viewings – in its entirety – and I originally thought this meant I wanted to be an actor. But after actually joining an acting class, I quickly discovered that I enjoyed much more the imagining of scenarios, and of course, getting to tell the other children what to do.

There is a movie that inspired you to become a filmmaker?

There were many important films in my young life; Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal,” and Fellini’s “8 ½” being milestones – despite being way beyond my comprehension at the time in which I first saw them (they might still be). But there is one film in particular that solidified my aspirations for film directing: Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It’s now a humorous story to tell, but when I first saw the film, at the age of six, I watched a VHS copy. And in this particular version, the opening overture had no indicating title. It was just a black screen set to music. It took me several tries before I realized that the tape wasn’t simply defective. But once I figured that out, and made it to the legendary opening titles sequence, a life-changing moment occurred… As the first crescendo of Also Sprach Zarathustra erupts, synchronized perfectly with the words “A Stanley Kubrick Production,” I clearly remember thinking to myself: That’s what I want to do with my life.

What was your first movie?

I like to believe that I’ve had several first movies. Beginning at the age of ten, I was making small, amateur films with the family’s home-movie camera. In highschool I made several short movies of varying sophistication, or lack-thereof. It was in 2009 that I made my first film that contained seeds of what would become my professional work; a collage-style short movie titled “Flying Circus,” made up of 70% original footage and 30% images stolen from other films – little more than a proof-of-concept, though ambitious in terms of scale. In 2012, I finally made my first proper motion picture, a short titled “God of the Machine.”

What is, for you, the main difficulties to start the filmmaker career?

There’s two sets of answers for this question; what I like to call the “what you know” and the “who you know.” There is no idiom in the English language I detest more than “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but not because it isn’t true. My problem lies in the fact that it’s only partially true, and it overlooks the most important aspect of having a successful career in this industry: being able to make good films. The most difficult part of “what you know, “ is learning the language of cinema; developing projects that fully aspire to the potential of this most emotional and psychological artform – blending the art and the craft into one unconscious, filmic expression, so that you are left with only, what Hitchcock called, “pure cinema.” The most challenging aspect of “it’s who you know,” is proving yourself before you’re given the opportunity or resources to prove yourself… You always need money to meet the right people and you always need to meet the right people before you can get any money. Conventional success within this industry is often abetted by the network you’re able to establish; this is because, at its core, the business side of filmmaking is about risk management. And unless your uncle is the president of Paramount, as an outsider filmmaker, you’re viewed as a risk. How one overcomes this is by working tirelessly to master the “what you know” part of the equation – loving cinema with all your heart, making films, getting them into festivals, getting people to see them, meeting like-minded friends, connecting to people who love movies as much as you do, and never, ever stopping. Oh, and of course, pure, dumb luck.

How would you describe your Short Film “Bizzarro e Fantastico”? You have choose an Italian Title, why?

“Bizzarro e Fantastico” is a very serious comedy, and a terribly silly drama. It’s a fantasy. A question. An exercise in humanism. A postcard. It’s a “lost” film belonging to a bygone era, and a love letter to the filmmakers who came before me. It’s a gentle reminder that this life isn’t a dress rehearsal. It’s a self portrait. And I chose an Italian title because my goal was to make an authentic Italian film, right down to its very bones. The phrase “Bizzarro e Fantastico” originally comes from a description of Michelangelo for his melancholic and withdrawn nature. I repurposed it as I set out to make a film that was truly ‘strange’ and ‘wonderful.’

What are the main ingredients to create a good movie?

An authenticity of vision from the director, a sincerity and generosity of spirit. A rich, dense theme. An interesting story. A solid script. Actors who function as part of the whole. Cinematography and sound design that reveal the psychology of the theme. And crew/staff members who are more brilliant than you.

Tell us a memorable and interesting during your career.

The most memorable and interesting aspect of my career, so far, would have to be receiving the honor of an invitation to the home of Stanley Kubrick to meet with his widow, Christiane Kubrick. Early in the development stage for an upcoming feature-length motion picture, MADAME X, I was granted a meeting in Stanley’s iconic Childwickbury home, and further granted a collaboration with Mrs. Kubrick, featuring her original works of art as part of the set design for my film. It was a surreal moment that has become a cherished memory, altering the course of my career.

What are your future projects?

Right now I’m in production with a low-budget independent feature-film titled BIPOLAROID – a psychological thriller wrapped in a period noir mystery. I’m also working with Actress/Producer Julie Zeno and director Aurore Kahan on an original play that I’ve written, L’IMPOSTEUR. They’re hard at work in Paris, preparing the play for the stage. And, of course, we have MADAME X on the horizon. We hope the combined success of Bizzarro e Fantastico, Bipolaroid, and L’imposteur will help Madame X get made at the highest possible level.

Any final thoughts at the end of this interview?

I would just like to thank the Robinson Film Awards for bestowing us the great honor of “Best Short Film.” It especially means a lot to us to find success in Bizzarro’s “homeland” of Italy. We appreciate the opportunity to show our film and share our passion for cinema.

Instagram – Kris Krainock