Mark Christopher Covino appeared at the Lake Placid Film Forum in June 2013, riding a nearly year-long wave of film festivals, a string of awards in his wake. His documentary film, A Band Called Death, was garnering critical awards and the winning the love of fans all over the world. Shortly after the June Film Forum, ABCD came out on Netflix, and was now a part of everyday life.
Clearly Covino, co-director of the film, had made it to the inner-circle of success.
Film Forum coordinator T.J. Brearton recently caught up with Mark Covino to see what colors the walls of his new mansion were, and how many limousines he employed to drive himself and his entourage around the streets of Burlington, Vermont, where he lives (or “summers,” depending).
TJB: So, you’ve co-directed a hit documentary and are rich and famous and have no need to ever worry about money or work again. Tell us about that.
MC: I now poop in a solid gold toilet bowl and use $100 bills as toilet paper.
Fact of the matter is, neither (co-director) Jeff nor I have made a single penny from A Band Called Death… yet. Does that suck? Yeah, a little. He went through a divorce and we’re both in pretty bad debt. But what ABCD lacked in remuneration it made up for in exposure. Through festivals alone we’ve been able to make a ton of connections. I have so many business cards I don’t know what to do with them all! Also, I and my team were able to run a successful Kickstarter campaign for my latest doc, The Crest. This wouldn’t have been possible without ABCD. Jeff and I are even getting phone calls now from big production companies wanting to collaborate with us. So, it ain’t all bad…
TJB: Where are things at with The Crest?
MC: There was a bit of a delay in post-production in The Crest due to work and traveling around with ABCD. BUT! Things are finally picking up again. The plan is to have a rough cut by springtime. However, there’s still some more filming to be done. One of the things we’re trying to plan right now is a second trip to Ireland for B-Roll, a few more important interviews that we weren’t able to get the first time around, PLUS, a surprise ending to the film that I’m really psyched about.
TJB: Any plans to work on another documentary in the near or far future?
MC: After The Crest I think I’m done with documentaries. There’s just no money in them. When I make a film, whether it be a doc or a narrative, I put all my energy and time into it, blowing off paid work. I also get emotionally connected with my subjects, and that’s draining. I can’t do another four years of that.
I recently almost got myself into making another feature length doc, but after three weeks of shooting I decided I shouldn’t put myself through this again, not unless I have the proper funding.
TJB: Do you still keep in touch with the brothers from A Band Called Death? Any plans to reunite with them? How are they doing?
MC: The guys from the band are doing good. Touring more than ever. Actually, they’re in Paris right now doing a gig, so things couldn’t be better. I do try to see them as much as I can, they’re only a fifteen minute drive from my house.
THAT said, Dannis, the drummer – who we see in our film working as a janitor at St Michael’s College to support his family – was recently laid off from work due to a union dispute. So, the guys are still struggling. It’s not like these gigs are raking in the dollars.
TJB: One last question. Europe is experiencing unprecedented storms, the United States is hitting record-low temperatures; the globe seems to be in climate-chaos. What are your plans for surviving the end of the world?
MC: Lots of porn…
Photos courtesy of Mark Covino. Related Articles: Where Do We Go From Here? The Mark Covino Article