With more than two years of work under their belts, Tashai Lovington and Robert Lughai of Tarazod Films are pulling things together on Mad City Chickens, a "genre-crossing" documentary feature about the fowl living around our town.
"We've been plugging away at it almost every weekend all summer long," they say. "Most of the footage is in the can, and we have a 90-minute rough cut of the film on the timeline. But there are still a couple key interviews with 'chicken experts' that we need as well as a few scenes of downtown Madison and miscellaneous things that have to be shot before the weather turns."
Last week, Lovington and Lughai completed a two-and-a-half minute preview of the film, following up on a teaser trailer back at the beginning of July. Book-ended by the specter of a giant bird stalking about downtown Madison, it highlights interview clips with several poultry experts and fanatics, including Cheryl Long, the editor in chief of Mother Earth News. She discusses their new study on eggs from pastured chickens, one in which "eggs gathered from free-range and backyard hens were found to be higher in nutritional content than that of store-bought eggs," say the filmmakers.
Set to David Haugh's "You Never Stop" and Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," the second trailer for Mad City Chickens follows below.
The Kaij? gallus seen in the trailer is actually one of two normal-size creatures kept by Lovington and Lughai. These scenes, and others in the documentary, are shot against a green screen in their garage; it's not the easiest process. "Having chickens ourselves, we know how incredibly alive and personable these birds can be," they note. "They can make great pets, but they don't necessarily make great actors. Our chicken enjoys these green screen shoots much more than we do."
Lovington and Lughai report that they are now beginning to feel the pressure of upcoming deadlines to get everything completed. They hope to finish the film in time for submitting it to the 2008 Wisconsin Film Festival, along with other screening opportunities next year.