Gabe Weisert is the director and co-writer of the two classic independent films Fishing with Gandhi (1998) and Cow Monkey (2001). For anyone interested in film, both works are must-owns and for low-budget filmmakers, they are mandatory viewing. Shot in relatively short amounts of time (each film was shot in 9 days or less) and with limited locations, the films demonstrate just what one can do with zero-budget, inventive story telling, dedication and talent: make damn fine art.
Weisert’s directorial debut, Fishing with Gandhi, is a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Fishing with Gandhi is one of those rare films that balances profundity with side-splitting laughs and presently remains criminally under-appreciated. Its story follows Danno, played by Dan Klein, who has just returned from the wedding of his mother and uncle. Now traveling to see his too-cool-for-school friends Stephen, played by Weisert, and Giles, played by William Birdthistle, Danno hitches a ride with brothers Roy and Gil, played by James Reichmuth and John Reichmuth respectively.
Weisert, the Reichmuth brothers and Klein followed Fishing with Gandhi with another film truly after my own heart, Cow Monkey. Cow Monkey returns to characters Roy and Gil as they go on a quest to avenge the murder of their dog, Wanda II, by Bigfoot, or the mythical ape-beast the “cow monkey”. When Roy and Gil arrive at the Bigfoot site, they meet the woodsy Grover, played by Klein, and an anthropological student named Sydney, played by Bridget Schwartz. What ensues is 88 minutes that, like Fishing with Gandhi, is as funny as it is philosophical.
For more information on Gabe Weisert, visit his photography site. For more information on John and James Reichmuth and Dan Klein, visit their website of their extremely funny comedy troupe, Kasper Hauser, and check out their new book Sky Maul.
To purchase and view the films, visit Film Baby, which currently offers a signed double DVD package of the films, both which have extremely illuminating commentaries and are full of great outakes, cartoons, and Kasper Hauser troupe standup.
In the following interview, Weisert talks about the two films.
I’m shocked that Fishing with Gandhi isn’t a better known film. It’s well written, well acted, extremely funny and quite touching. When it was released, did it get a lot of attention?
Thanks for the kind words! When it came out in ’98, FWG [Fishing with Gandhi] bounced around some of the smaller film festivals then got picked up by Hollywood Video. We got a nice write-up in Variety, and some great local press, and good word of mouth around the hip indie film fest circles, but by no means was it on any kind of grand national Entertainment Weekly type scale. But honestly I was pleasantly surprised — it’s more of a student film than anything else, so I was happy to see the small but very favorable attention that it received.
John Reichmuth as Gil and James Reichmuth as Roy
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