Film Analysis | Film Reviews

‘Loop Dreams’

1 Apr , 2001  

Written by Chris Cooke | Posted by:

A review of the newest flick about the 'making of an indie film' screening this month at Film Fest New Haven.
"American Movie," a documentary about the making of the independent horror flick "Coven," found itself king of the indie-film hill a couple years back, and for good reason. "Coven" director, Mark Borchardt was quite a character, as were the buddies and relatives he’d coerced into helping him. It was hard not to feel ashamed for him — he’s clearly meant to be laughed at and doesn’t seem to realize it — yet his perseverance at times inspires (perhaps only a little) admiration. The fact that it took him so long to film "Coven" makes his misfit achievement all the more surprising.

On the surface, "Loop Dreams: The Making of a Low Budget Film" appears to set out for similar terrain. "Blackmale," the "Coven" (a.k.a the film inside the film) of "Loop Dreams," boasts blood aplenty, albeit more of the Tarantino variety, and adds that classic B-movie staple — the busty, frequently naked damsel in distress. Furthermore, sibling directors George and Mike Baluzy seem to have the nut-cake potential of Borchardt. But it doesn’t take long to realize that "Loop Dreams" will be a quite different documentary, about a quite different film (although of equally dubious quality). "Blackmale," you see, actually has a filming schedule and an entire film crew, complete with a gaffer, key grip, director of photography, and line producer. Indeed, documentarist Harvey Hubbell V, the producer, writer, and director of "Loop Dreams" also serves as the assistant producer of "Blackmale," a role he only agreed to take under the condition that he could make his own film about the film.

"Loop Dreams" offers us characters aplenty. Co-director Mike Baluzy rather romantically imagines himself as a psychotic but appears to be little more than a cranky tyrant, and line producer Emily Holcomb jumps right into her role as the cold-hearted monitor of the bottom line. But the cast of characters here, while certainly interesting, can’t claim to be as plain-old whacked out as any of the "Coven" crew. As long as there is human life at all, there will always be freaks, and all the rest of us will be secretly or openly fascinated by them. This is especially true of film, which combines a sense of intimacy with the reassurance that the subjects of our fascination are far away, granting us immunity from the dangers that actual intimacy would inevitably incur. "American Movie" is a freakshow. That’s why we love it. "Loop Dreams" is something both less and more than that.

What we get in "Loop Dreams" is a casual yet engaging portrait of the making of a film, of the long, grueling hours put in by everybody from the director to the lowliest production assistant. The viewer also gets a sense of the motivations people have for putting themselves through it all. Hubbell playfully shows the hypocrisies, power struggles, and motives of the crew and cast, never failing to produce a smile. No stone is left unturned, from the exploitation of women to the consequences of hiring out-of-control actors. "Loop Dreams" doesn’t strike your creepy voyeur nerve–but it resonates with a smarter one.

You can see ‘Loop Dreams’ this month at Film Fest New Haven. For more information on screening times, go to For more info on ‘Loop Dreams’ visit

You can see 'Loop Dreams' this month at Film Fest New Haven. For more information on screening times, go to For more info on 'Loop Dreams' visit