The following is a statement from Alfred Clarke, regarding his writings for Mike Barkhoff’s third feature film “Doppelgang”. Within are his Q and A email exchanges from Barkhoff. Impending the release of his third feature film, Doppelgang, in fifteen short days, Mike Barkhoff has remained surprisingly quiet regarding the release of it. Admittedly, he did only announce the film twenty-seven days before it’s release, and, according to the Live Free Instagram, only yesterday did he lock the film and upload it to the YouTube channel, cementing its schedule.
Naturally intrigued, I reached out to Mike Barkhoff via the company email, and he was nice to reply in a quick manner, answering a lot of my unanswered questions. Below is that, with “Q” being myself, and “A” being him.
Q – You’ve had a busy year. What made you go back to Doppelgang, but not I Give It A Year, for example?
A – Doppelgang was always a lot more personal. And truthfully, the whole point of I Give It A Year was to release it on the year of Election. Once I saw the poll going more towards Biden, the project was pretty dead. It made me realize the message wasn’t needed so terribly bad, not as I had pictured, at least.
Q – The original version of Doppelgang was reported for fifty-five minutes, and this is forty-six. You still cut out nine minutes. What’s in that nine minutes you don’t want people to see?
A – Doppelgang is a very weird project and because of that it’s been a very reflective project, from writing to filming to editing. And I think with editing it hit me, just how much of an oddity it would be. The other nine minutes are straight nap material. They’d put anyone to sleep. I didn’t cut any storylines, just shortened the scenes where the viewers would be thinking “What the hell is he building this up to?”. This is the Quality Cut, the best Quality Cut I could’ve done. In the future, maybe you’ll see the other twelve minutes. It’s twelve, actually. A three minute scene was recorded for this to cut out another three minutes of boring filler. Again, I was really critical with that three minute scene I filmed for this, but I showed it to my girlfriend and she said it gave the film a whole new layer and dimension, so I decided to keep it.
Q – You tend to use specific films as inspiration? What would you say you watched to get this film done?
A – This is definitely a love letter to 2014’s Enemy and 2013’s The Double. Both of those films are incredible, and they share the same plot and they’re adaptations from the same source material. I had wanted to do something similar for awhile, not necessarily in terms of the Doppelgang plot. It just happened to work that way. I saw a trailer for 2019’s Joker and I was inspired to write right then and there. During the editing of the Full Cut, I had watched The Butterfly Effect a few months before. And then I rewatched Donnie Darko after that, too, a few months later. And after that viewing of Darko, it was like full edit mode. I think that clicked something in me to go and finish it. Because I knew it wasn’t the weirdest film to ever get made.
Q – Are you planning on having any marketing for this film?
A – I really think the announcement was enough. I’m at a point where it’s like “You know me or you don’t” and this certainly isn’t the film to change that mindset, due to it’s odd qualities. So the true ones will watch and the fakes won’t. But if I did trailers for this it’d be similar to Death, My Darling, just a multitude of clips that make the audience say “What the hell?”. Windfall didn’t even have a formal announcement, it just got put out there. I didn’t want to do that with this one, that was just our marketing technique for COVID.
Q – You said there’s a documentary that’s coming with this one in one of your recent comments. Why’d you choose to do that, especially with the lack of promotion?
A – I was gonna do one for I Give It A Year. It’s nothing new I want to start doing, but this project has such deep roots that I wanted to put together something just giving you my ideas for it and my reasonings concerning it. It’s really just me explaining why I didn’t release it last year and why I am this year and the bigger outlook on it all, who pushed me to do it and all of that.
Q – What’s your favorite aspect of this project?
A – I said last year after Windfall I wanted to tackle a project that was influenced by an album. I’ve wanted to do that for years. With this one, I really just kind of thought this the other day (it wasn’t intended from the start), that this is that for me. Musicians often experiment with genres, and that’s really what this is. Even when I was telling Zach about the pitch, I couldn’t figure out the genre. So that’s really what this is.
Q – Do you have any idea what’s after this?
A – I’m leaning towards this film called “My Brain at 11:37pm: Visceral Visions”, which is inspired by some true stuff I had happen one night in my sleep – the dreams and nightmares, and the waking up and realizing like “Damn, I really am taking this person for granted.” type mindset. But with that said, I don’t think it’d be wise to get off the release of a really odd film and go right back into one just as odd. Another thing discouraging me from doing that one is that this film’s only forty-six minutes. I’d rather do a more expanded film. This is two in a row now in less than a month we’ve made that are so short. I don’t like that, it makes me feel lazy. So I don’t know, it could be that one or these other two I want to make, “Night Of Terror” or “A Midnight’s Walk Home”. We’ll see. One thing I am certain about, if it’s not that former, it’s gonna be a little wait. I get inspired heavily by my influences, and many of them are making career changes right now, from Eminem to J. Cole and Kendrick, even Conan, whether it’s in the limelight or behind it. So I’m studying their actions right now and trying to figure out where I want to go next. So right now, I’ll tell you there’s three scripts on my table. The one I choose will see how quickly it comes to fruition and when you get it.
Doppelgang is out May 27th for free on Live Free’s YouTube channel. It will premiere at 11PM. A documentary explaining it’s ultimate motive will be released shortly beforehand.
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