Sundance Features

January 16, 2007

Dan Klores, Crazy Love

"I went to the premiere of Murderball and hugged the guys afterward, they did such a great job. I loved it. I don't worry about the competition."

Linda Riss and Burt Pugach, the subjects of Dan Klores's documentary Crazy Love

(This feature is part of an ongoing series of Reeler profiles of New York films and filmmakers at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Click here for a complete list of this year's interviews.)

What can you tell me about your film?

It's called Crazy Love. It's a doc. It's about this couple -- a married man and a single woman -- and the obsessive nature of their relationship. It's about love, obsession, possibly forgiveness. It's about a crime that happened between them. It's about all of the things that we do when we are in love that we never really want to let anyone know when we're hurt. And in 1959, when it happened, it was the front-page of every tabloid in New York for months -- many months.

What drew you to this story and inspired you to make a documentary about it?

There was a crime that was committed, and I was 10 years old when it happened. You know, it was unforgettable when it occurred, and then 20-odd years later, something even more bizarre happened in their relationship that was on the front page of the newspapers every day. It was embedded in my memory, although buried there; I just read about it three or four years ago, when I was finishing Ring of Fire, and it appealed to me on a number of levels -- memory being what I reacted to. But in terms of these issues of obsession and love, it appealed to me that way, and very much so.

This is your third film to go to Sundance -- your third consecutive? Do I have that right?

No, I had a film in between called Viva Baseball, but that wasn't eligible. It was on television, and the timetable didn't work. It's my fourth film in five years; my third to apply, and my third to get in.

I think that might be unprecedented, at least among this year's New Yorkers; I'm pretty sure Zoe Cassavetes and Andrew Wagner are each a measly two-for-two. How does one go three-for-three?

Well, I don't know. I think my films are outwardly about one thing, but they're really about issues of love and loss. They may appear to be about one thing, and then when you get into them, there's a commonality that people feel. Ring of Fire was seemingly about a prizefighter, but not really. Boys of Second Street Park was seemingly about a group of guys, but no -- not even close. Not even remotely close. And here, it's not about a couple; it's about love and loss. Maybe that's it. Those are the things that pull me. I can't answer for anyone else. But I feel grateful, that's for sure. It's pretty cool. I have to say that I feel happy. These are my first films, also. I'm happy about that.

When you go to Sundance with a feature in competition, it becomes more than just screening it for an audience; it becomes a major ordeal. Because this is your third film, does it get easier?

I don't worry about being in competition. With Ring of Fire, I went to go see a lot of other docs, and I loved them. I'd be lying if I said, "No, I wouldn't like to win," but I don't lose any sleep over that. People do great work, especially in docs, and they're labors of love -- I cheer everyone on. I went to the premiere of Murderball and hugged the guys afterward, they did such a great job. I loved it. I don't worry about the competition. I hired eight of my friends from Brooklyn to stuff the ballot boxes, you know? That's why I don't worry, man. (Laughs)

That's a start, I guess.

But my friends are all coming out, and that's fun. My wife is coming. It's gonna be fun. We'll sell the film, we'll have a nice time. I'm not worried about that. I don't even think about the competition part. The only problem I'm having now is getting enough tickets.

Out of curiosity, are you sticking with documentaries or do you have a scripted feature you might want to develop?

Yeah. Yes I do. I don't know if I want to direct it. I have a bunch of things that I'm working on, but right now I have a play that I wrote. That's out in a few months. And I just finished shooting a new doc; I've already got a deal on that. That comes out February 2008. I'm booked until then.

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