IFH 560: Misadventures in Directing Your 1st Feature with Brian Petsos


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Today on the show, we have actor, writer, director Brian Petsos. Brian is the writer director of the new film, "Big Gold Brick" starring Andy Garcia, Oscar Isaac, Megan Fox and Lucy Hale just to name a few.
After graduating from art school, Brian Petsos eventually began acting and improvising. While in the conservatory at Chicago’s famed SecondCity, he started writing; and later he began making films. Since leaving Chicago for New York City, he has carefully expanded his repertoire to include varying works that he has written, directed, produced, performed in, or some combination thereof.
Petsos started his company, A Saboteur, with the mission of producing innovative, original, boundary - pushing films that challenge traditional expectations and underline artistic integrity. His work has run the gamut, from short form content on HBO and spots for commercial clients, to full - length feature films and writing scripts for major studios.
But today he is primarily focused on writing, directing, and producing his own distinctly flavored work. Petsos's highly anticipated feature debut, BIG GOLD BRICK, will be released by Samuel Goldwyn Films in North America in winter of 2022.
The film recounts the story of fledgling writer Samuel Liston (Emory Cohen) and his experiences with Floyd Deveraux (Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia), the enigmatic middle - aged father of two who enlists Samuel to write his biography.
Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac, Megan Fox, Lucy Hale, and Shiloh Fernandez round out this incredible cast in key supporting roles. The film was written and directed by Petsos, and produced by Petsos and Greg Lauritano under Petsos’s A Saboteur banner, with Executive Producers Isaac and Kristen Wiig.
Prior to BIG GOLD BRICK, Petsos wrote, directed, and produced the highly lauded LIGHTNINGFACE (starring Isaac, executive produced by Isaac and Wiig; lightningface.com). The film was an Official Selection of over 30 festivals around the world — including the 60th edition of the BFI London Film Festival, among other high lights.
It received a Best Actor nomination for Isaac at the 2017 Vaughan International Film Festival and a nomination for Best Narrative Comedy at the 2016 Miami short Film Festival, and it was the winner of both the Vortex Grand Prize at the 2016 Rhode I sland International Film Festival and Best Short Film at the 2016 Filmfestival Kitzbühel.
The film premiered online in summer of 2017 as a highly coveted Vimeo Staff Pick and received an abundance of press coverage — from The Hollywood Reporter to The Huffin gton Post, from Indiewire to /Film, to Slate, BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, Film Threat, Nerdist, and many other outlets globally — which ignited virulent enthusiasm and a continuing flurry of social media chatter.
Film School Rejects referred to it as, “Quite simply one of the most intriguing short films of 2017,” adding that, “if LIGHTNINGFACE is eligible for an Oscar Nomination...the other contenders should look out.”
Brian and I had a very raw and open conversation about how difficult it was to get this project.
Big Gold Brick recounts the story of fledgling writer Samuel Liston and his experiences with Floyd Deveraux, the enigmatic middle-aged father of two who enlists Samuel to write his biography. But the circumstances that lead up to this arrangement in the first place are quite astonishing—and efforts to write the biography are quickly stymied by ensuing chaos in this darkly comedic, genre-bending film.
We really get into the weeds about how difficult it was for them to get it going off the ground. Just because he had major talent involved doesn't mean that it got any easier getting the budget together and so many other little gems.
Enjoy my conversation with Brian Petsos.

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