Pittsburgh filmmakers channel comedies of the past with mockumentary Bergeron Brothers | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh filmmakers channel comedies of the past with mockumentary Bergeron Brothers

click to enlarge Ben Dietels (left) and Blake O’Donnell (right) in Bergeron Brothers - SCREENSHOT
Ben Dietels (left) and Blake O’Donnell (right) in Bergeron Brothers
Movie trends are funny things. A style can dominate the box office for years, and be replaced just that quickly. So it went in the 1990s, with low-budget slacker comedies and “mockumentary” style films becoming go-to's in the heyday of independent film, then falling by the wayside in favor of big-budget studio comedies.

Now indie comedies are trying to make a comeback, evident in the Pittsburgh-shot Bergeron Brothers: Wedding Videographers, available on Tue., Aug. 10 to rent and own.

Coming off of slasher flicks The Boonies and Slaughter Drive, the duo behind Bergeron Brothers, Ben Dietels and Blake O’Donnell of the Pittsburgh-based production company BPO Films, pivoted more toward the works of Christopher Guest and Kevin Smith than a horror film. Dietels says they also went for a more throwback feel.

“I'd say one of the biggest influences on this film would be some of the comedies Harold Ramis wrote in the '80s,” says Dietels. “That ‘snobs vs. slobs’ vibe of Stripes and Caddyshack where the underdogs come out on top. Mix that with some of the Jim Carrey flicks from the '90s and you get Bergeron Brothers.”

The film centers around two dim-witted wedding videographers (played by the filmmakers), who proclaim themselves the best in the world despite having never actually had a paying gig. Bergeron Brothers follows their misadventures as they look for their big break, training through the ups and downs of the business.
This kind of movie is attractive to a generation that grew up on films like Slacker or Best in Show, as well as the hit NBC sitcom The Office. There’s a real nostalgia for films in this vein, especially as the 2000s came and studio comedy budgets exploded in size. The yearning for this sort of film is what led to the acquisition of Bergeron Brothers by Freestyle Digital Media, a distributor with a portfolio that also includes work starring big names like Mila Kunis, Nick Cannon, and Bob Odenkirk.

Despite their profiles rising in the film world outside of Pittsburgh, O’Donnell and Dietels are still focused on the small moments that make independent filmmaking fun.

“The absolute joy of filmmaking was captured every day with our crew who were willing to make every scene bigger and funnier than what was scripted,” says O'Donnell in a press release. “If we couldn't get someone to involuntarily laugh during a take, we knew we had to make it better. Everyone on set knew the Bergeron Brothers because in their own way they are the Bergeron Brothers. Artists who blindly attack their dreams and stop at nothing to succeed with some hearty laughs sprinkled in along the way.”
Bergeron Brothers is available for pre-order on iTunes and will hit VOD platforms on Tue., Aug. 10. 

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