STUFF THAT BEAR!
Narrative-Romance, Transcending Barriers
Producer, Director, Editor
Barry Mulligan-Executive Producer
COPPOLA & VONNEGUT
New York, NY
KEY ACTORS: CARMEN UNGUREANU, DRAGOS HULUBA, SILVIU BIRIS
A quiet taxidermist, a relentless con-man and a gorgeous but troubled lap-dancer embark on a bizarre night-time odyssey through Bucharest, stealing, scamming and stuffing that Bear!
Florin, the last remaining taxidermist in Bucharest, and his brother Dragos, a relentless scammer, dream of escaping to the glamour of London. The cost of reaching the UK is far beyond their means until Dragos finds a way to earn what's required, and make their dreams come true.
But first they must go to the American, who wants them to mount an illegally shot bear, and collect the money. When the inebriated American insists he has already paid them, they steal the money, against Florin's wishes, and head to a seedy club to meet Carmela, the beautiful, ethereal, lap-dancing girlfriend of Dragos. Carmela is troubled by a dilemma: she knows she is sexy (which derives from her appearance) but she worries that she has no sex appeal- something that comes from deeper inside. Self-confident Dragos is ready to abandon his present life, including Carmela, but sensitive Florin is just beginning to discover what he wants in a woman. As departure time draws near, the two brothers must decide: do they board this evil-looking meat truck which promises to smuggle them into the UK, or do they stay with Carmela in their impoverished homeland?
A bizarre modern-day comedy set against the background of a crumbling post-communist society, "STUFF THAT BEAR!" deals with the perception of the West from the point of view of Eastern Europeans just now emerging form the shadow of the Iron Curtain.
BRUNO COPPOLA has worked in film, theatre, radio and music in the US, England, and throughout Europe. Early credits include Asst Director to David Fincher (music videos), music producer in Italy (GODFATHER III), an for three years chief radio drama writer at the BBC World Service in London (CRISIS and MAZEN).
His latest short, STUFF THAT BEAR!, was shot in Bucharest, Romania. It was the winner of the Kodak European Showcase for New Talent and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2003. His previous film, RULES OF LOVE, was shot in Los Angeles, came top ten in Turner Classic Shorts last year, has played in five major film festivals world-wide, and was picked up for distribution by Britshorts. His first film, UNKNOWN THINGS, was selected by IFFCON as one of the top 40 most promising independent feature projects in the world.
Bruno is now casting MADHOUSE NUDE and is developing other features including Laureen Vonnegut's new Romanian thriller TORTURED SOUL, and his own script, PALE CAST OF THOUGHT.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people in Eastern Europe have been searching for a new identity. Nominally more free to choose their lifestyle, they are also no longer protected by the structure and enormity of the Communist (and the Soviet) state. When they turn their eyes to Western Europe and the USA, they find themselves embroiled in a new cycle of consumerism, avarice and military expediency. New-found glamour sits cheek-by-jowl with increasing poverty. And many must ask: what is the right direction to take?
STUFF THAT BEAR! is a triangular love story which takes place over one night in Bucharest. The "Bear" has been shot dead but, as we soon learn, the shooter is a drunken, whoring, clueless American. Loyalties and identities are tested and redefined as each of the three characters picks a path through a city which, though familiar, seems to mutate at every step. For these people, the "Bear" was big-BIG! Now that the "Bear" is gone, who will tell them things?
The film was shot entirely at night in twelve unusual locations, chosen to emphasize the rapid changes which Romania faces after Ceausescu. But as the Romanians look out at the West, so we Westerners look in at them, and our perceptions are often occluded by barriers of culture and language. Hoping to reduce these people, and to give people outside Romania more direct line into this fascinating and unrepeatable moment in European history.