Blake Myers Brings Us A Story About A Superhero
I was sitting in Park City, Utah waiting to see a film as a part of Slamdance and a guy walks by with a Blood Car shirt on. I immediately starting talking to the guy. Not only were we both currently residing in the same city far from Utah, but we were familiar with each other’s work. Now Blake and I are no strangers. Neither is Blake to the rest of Atlanta. He is a fixture of the Atlanta underground film community. He is directly involved with bringing us the Buried Alive Film Festival and works on everything from low budget local features to major motion pictures coming through the area. His documentary “Disabled But Able To Rock” is making it’s premier as a part of this year’s Atlanta Film Festival. This documentary follows Betsy Goodrich, a high functioning autistic woman with an undeniable story to tell. Betsey’s alter ego, the superhero Danger Woman is an inspiration to us all and over a long period of documentation, Blake has brought us the story of what it is like to be an inspiring superhero unabashedly and with purpose.
Coffee: Lucas Godfrey made a comment to me a while back that you were the “most workingest person in film in Atlanta”. How exhausting is it to be you right now?
Myers: It’s amazingly exhausting, but I love it. There is lots of excitement about Disabled But Able to Rock! and it’s keeping me real busy sending it to film fests, making posters, and hustling the facebook. And then there is the Retrospective, Blood Guts and Robots, which is going to be lots of fun. I’m making the show into a DVD, so I can sell them to raise money to send Disabled But Able to Rock to more festivals. And soon I’m going to work on the Walking Dead. But I’m always watching submissions to the Buried Alive Film Fest. I think I need one more project.
C: Your documentary “Disabled But Able To Rock” has been 12 years in the making. That’s a long time to spend on a project. Were there ever times you didn’t think you were going to finish?
M: This September will make the 14th year I’ve worked on the DBATR. There were plenty of times when I wondered how I was going to get this project together. I have two hundred hours of footage that spans 10 years and is shot on 4 different formats. But many good people and filmmakers in Atlanta gave me the support I needed. Honestly it took many years to get to know Danger Woman, her family, and people’s lives are constantly changing. Shooting over many years gave me the opportunity to capture that change and reflect how Betsy deals with her situations.
C: Having met Betsey, the subject of your documentary, I can attest that she is very much a force to be reckoned with. What made her originally decide to put on the Danger Woman robes?
M: As Danger Woman, Betsy fights the Tri-phobes: Race-phobia; Homophobia; and Disable-phobia. I think these are the reasons she puts on the DW outfit and sings her songs. Seeing how the world treats disabled people, made Betsy create Danger Woman so she could rise above it all and motivate others. And it gives her a good reason to get out of the house.
C: What has it been like for Betsey to have her life put under such scrutiny? Is she nervous at all about her on-screen premier on May 4th as a part of the Atlanta Film Festival?
M: When I started making the movie Danger Woman thought it was a great idea. She is really excited about the premiere, she likes being the center of attention.
C: On your website, you mention that Betsey was involved in the beginning of Dragoncon. You have to expand on that for us nerds.
M: After Betsy graduated from high school, she stared hanging at all the comic book stores. She got involved with the people like Suzie the Floosie and Markus Deshaun who were attending the first meetings that would become Dragon Con. At the First Dragon Con in 1986, Betsy’s performance as Miss Marvel in the costume contest was one of the strangest performances of all time. And she has been a part of the convention ever since, performing at almost every con for the past 25 years!
C: What can someone expect from a Danger Woman, the Songbird of Justice live concert?
M: You can expect to see and hear something brand new. A Danger Woman concert is an experience. Especially a Dragon Con performance, where her audience knows how to interact with her. It’s loud and some of the strangest/greatest performance art you’ve ever seen.
C: What has made you decide to stay in Atlanta working in film as opposed to moving to L.A. or New York?
M: I love Hotlanta and making movies here. I never wanted to move to LA or New York because I always wanted to do my thing here in Atlanta. And since the movies have come to Georgia, I have been lucky enough to find plenty of film work. Atlanta has a great community of filmmakers and there has always been good projects to get involved in.
C: On Wednesday, we are getting a showcase of your short films from the past at Plaza Theatre. There seems to be an obvious horror theme to them. What are some of your favorite horror films that have inspired you?
M: Night Of the Living Dead is the greatest film of all time. I love old cheesy horror films, and one of my shorts we are showing, How to Extract Cranial Fluids, is my homage to, The Brain the Wouldn’t Die. Hershell Gordon Lewis is the man, I don’t think I would be the same filmmaker if it wasn’t for Blood Feast and Two Thousand Maniacs!.
C: Any tips for anyone interested in working in film in Atlanta right now?
M: Keep making movies, don’t stop trying to make your own films. Go out and meet some of the people in the Hotlanta movie scene, once you think you know em all there’s lot more. Make a good horror film and send it to the Buried Alive Film Fest.
At Plaza Theatre tomorrow night from 7:30-9:30 see Blood, Guts and Robots: A Retrospective screening of films by Blake Myers to commence the Atlanta Film Festival’s world premiere of his feature length documentary, “Disabled but Able to Rock!” Both filmmaker and actors will be available for a q&a after the screening. A $5 donation to the non-profit Plaza Theatre is appreciated.
“Disabled But Able to Rock” is screening as a part of the Atlanta Film Festival Wednesday March 4th, 8:00PM at Plaza Theatre and Saturday March 7th, 4:30PM at Landmark Midtown. See you there!