TOWER DISTRICT, FRESNO — After eight years in the making, the locally-made feature film Brick Madness is having its Red Carpet Premiere at the Tower Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Written, produced and directed by North Fork natives, Brick Madness is described in promotion as “Best in Show meets King of Kong,” and billed as “a hilarious mockumentary about the fictitional 17th-annual National LEGO Tournament” known as “Brickathon.”
The filmmakers are quick to point out that they are not making fun of the continually growing group of Adult Fans of Legos known as AFOL.
“A mockmentary doesn’t mean you are mocking it; it means that it’s a fake documentary,” says the film’s director.
“With all the tough things going on in the world right now, it’s a really good escape for a night to laugh and watch a movie about playing with toys.”
Co-written and produced by brothers Justin McAleece and Ian McAleece, along with co-writers and producers Nicole Osborne and Jennica Schwartzman, Brick Madness is directed by Justin McAleece.
Justin and his brother Ian attended North Fork elementary and Sierra High School, and their parents Karen and James McAleece remain active in North Fork. The filmmakers are graduates of Fresno State and have a local production company, Blare Media.
First conceived in June of 2009, and the finished product features a handful of Central Valley actors and locations, and North Fork locations, along with some well-known Hollywood stars. Watch the trailer here.
In a world without LEGO, Cedric Donovan, a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker is our tour guide as we delve deep in to the world of Brix. This is a world dominated by two titans of personality and success. The Godfather of Brix, Max Grand, is the 7-time champion and most famous competitive brick builder of of all time. Unfortunately, he had his career cut tragically short when he was accused of “gluing.” There to pick up the torch was Ricky 6. He is brash, arrogant and extremely successful, having won 6 tournaments since Max Grand played his last. Cut in to Seth Paxson, a young hero with a heart of gold who has to save his charity from the clutches of deceit.
Add to this a brilliant cadre of characters. Wyatt is the lovable geek, Delilah is the beautiful but slightly out of place girl, and there are many others. As the tournament draws to a close the ultimate showdown will emerge. Will Ricky 6 continue to exert his dominance or will an underdog find a way to win and bring vindication to a disgraced hero? Brick Madness has a wicked sense of humor, a lot of heart, and of course, a ton of brick building mayhem. – Brick Madness promo
Once the idea hit, the creators began writing the script immediately. The main brush strokes of the film were applied within the span of a couple of hours, Justin says, but it would take eight long years for the film to be finished.
Justin refers to the challenge of “getting it done after all the other things we have to do, and finding time in between full-time work in our normal video production job with Blare Media.” Among other credits, the production company provided crew for a popular local EECU commercial featuring brothers Derek Carr and David Carr.
Brick Madness was self-funded, and the creative team has sponsors but no outside investors. Yet, overall, the most surprising aspect of this process for the director was just how much goes into creating an entire imaginary yet believable world.
“That was probably the most intense part of the project overall,” Justin says, talking about how they forged a history for the film’s characters, contrived a convincing toy-manufacturing company that produces construction bricks, with its own background, right down to details like the company logo.
“I was definitely a Lego kid,” he says, but when they started making the movie, no one anticipated the extent to which Legos would grow to be part of popular culture. They simply set out to make a film “about a very niche competition becoming quasi-professional.”
“I hadn’t played with Legos for a long time and these people had never stopped, and were just really incredibly good at it. It’s amazing how good they are at creating art this way. It’s really cool.”
The best part of making and completing the movie, says Justin, has been “working with friends, being able to laugh and create something with people I love. Friends, family, cast and crew have been incredibly supportive throughout this entire journey — and especially in getting the word out recently.”
The movie’s Red Carpet Premier is expected to be awesome, he adds, anticipating a “ton of people from the community, with photo ops, local Lego related businesses, and some really cool Lego creations. As you can imagine, I’m super excited!”
Despite its focus on toys, the film is made for adults. In terms of ratings, Justin says the film, 99-minutes, is a “soft PG-13” with no sex, violence or drugs, and some language.
The Tower Theatre is located at 815 E Olive Ave, Fresno, CA 93728