Last year, L.A.-based filmmaker and make-up artist Frank Ippolito came to town to hustle up recruits to attend the screening of his two shorts, Teller 1 and Teller 2, which showed at the Cleveland International Film Festival. This year, the Cleveland native is at is again, this time to promote Dracula’s Daughters vs. the Space Brains, a six-minute film that stars Neil Patrick Harris as a space-alien victim who has a run-in with a pair of vampire sisters (Aprella and Erica Taylor).
Shot in only three days, the film took two months to prepare — and when you see the special effects, you’ll understand why.
Ippolito says he was first drawn to the world of makeup when he was 10 and saw a documentary about the making of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. He made a mask in his basement, and things snowballed from there. He made up actors at Geauga Lake’s Halloween events for five seasons before moving to L.A. in 2000 to be a mold maker at a toy company. That company went under, but he landed a gig on the 2002 fantasy flick Reign of Fire, and that led to jobs on Scary Movie 2, Pirates of the Caribbean and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Casting Harris, whom he knew through the magician Teller (the subject of the Teller shorts), wasn’t difficult. “He likes quirky things,” says Ippolito. “Most of the stuff I see him do is a little weird, so he thought it was cool. It wasn’t a struggle to get him to say yes.”
Dracula’s Daughters screens at 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 19, during the midnight shorts program at Tower City Cinemas. Ippolito will be on hand. “It’s always neat coming home and being able to hold a premiere at a hometown festival,” he says. “When we made it, the first thing I did was check to see what the deadlines were for Cleveland. We just finished it a couple of weeks ago.” Find more info about his films at ddvsb.com. — Jeff Niesel