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Home | Interviews | Interview with Gary Huggins (Kick Me)   Panic Fest 2023 Coverage  

Interview with Gary Huggins (Kick Me)   Panic Fest 2023 Coverage  

Hello Gary, thank you for taking the time to do this interview for Horrornews.net. Please tell us how this absolutely batshit amazing movie came to fruition for you?  

Gary- Creating Kick Me was a ten-year battle that began with a Kickstarter campaign and initial shoot in 2012, followed by more shooting in successively smaller increments for the next six years, interrupted by money scrambles, despair and lethargy – the usual indie complaints but spread out over an entire annoying decade.

How do you feel being part of Panic Fest 2023?
Gary- Panic Fest is the perfect place to screen Kick Me.
Panic Fest has a great theater, great audiences, plus it takes place where the film is set – Kansas City. Also, the people running Panic Fest really know what they’re doing. It’s a pleasure to be part of such a well-run festival.
What was your preparation process like for the film?
Gary- Preparation for the film was meticulous, precise and completely obliterated by the chaos of shooting. But we did manage to raise the bulk of the budget through a well-planned Kickstarter campaign, and we did assemble an astonishing cast of non-professional actors though an open casting call that introduced to a lot of strange and wonderful people – those two solids got us through all the weirdness that discombobulated the production.
What was it like directing this amazing cast, and working with everyone?
Gary- That was the best and maybe the only fun part of making Kick Me, working with the incredible performers we found. So many of them were good-natured enough to come back over multiple years and run around Kansas City, Kansas at night for the camera, particularly our lead, Santiago Vasquez, the kung-fu master / former undercover police officer first seen in our acclaimed Sundance short, First Date.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for fellow directors, writers, producers etc…?
Gary- The obvious message inspired by a film finally finished after ten years in the making is “Don’t give up”, but that only applies to projects that are actually good and worth finishing. So how do you know if your project is actually good and worth finishing? You don’t. So perhaps the better advice is, be stupid and stubborn enough to launch a project that has maybe a 1% chance of ending up finished, good or distributed, but more importantly, be strong enough to keep showing your cut to people you trust who can provide the objectivity you lack, be humble enough to take their advice and smart enough to tell the difference between good and bad suggestions. Also, don’t take ten years to finish your film.

Do you have a favorite moment in Kick Me?
Gary- It’s been fun watching Kick Me with audiences and hearing / feeling them ride the film’s rollercoaster, especially the last 15 minutes, and knowing the thrills I took so long to craft really thrill.
What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Kick Me?
Gary- Thank you for watching a movie I was afraid no one would ever see. And if you love it, please spread the word about Kick Me. With your help, maybe I can get the next one done in 8 years, or 5.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.
Gary- Thank you Janel! 

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