Movie of the Week: “Google Me”

Once a week, we’ll pick out one of Fancast’s many full-length free feature films to spotlight. Sure, you’ll check out the big stuff like Men Seeking Women, The Serpent’s Kiss and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, but the smaller movies need shout-outs, too.

The movie of the week is Google Me, wherein filmmaker Jim Killeen got curious enough about what the internet knew about him to Google himself. In that process, he realized that there were a lot of other Jim Killeens out there in the world, and he decided to indulge his curiosity and meet these people who shared his name. Lucky for us, he made a movie about it. Watch Google Me right here, and then check out our Q&A with Killeen himself.

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Q. What would you say to someone sitting down to watch this film for the first time, knowing nothing about it?
Jim Killeen: Basically, enjoy the ride! The film is a self contained, first person, regular guy documentary. Wherever you are interest wise, we pick you up along the way. We start with a priest named Jim Killeen, visit a cop named Jim Killeen, and then a swinger named Jim Killeen….if one of those guys doesn’t resonate with you, then you weren’t going to like the film anyway.

Q. What inspired you to make this film?  How did you find all these people beyond Google?
Jim Killeen: My inspiration was ‘curiosity taken to the ridiculous’. It’s easy to sit back and wonder, but to actually GO and meet these guys, and to actually FILM it, well it takes a sense of humor and perseverance. We stuck to Google search results as one of arbitrary rules, that way we can show the impact of using this new, powerful technology as part of the story.

Q. How did the project come together?  Was it difficult to get this film off the ground and into production?  What were the major challenges?
Jim Killeen: We had our share of challenges, and they are expressed in the film in a very true to life way. In the film, I meet all of these Jim Killeen’s individually and then bring them together as a group at the end. Well, I did it backwards; I should have brought them all together first, and then gone to each of them. That way, if someone didn’t show up, we weren’t stuck. We got lucky and everybody came. I do remember a frantic call from Scotland trying to convince one of the Jim’s to come to Texas, and thankfully was able to appeal to his sense of fun and he came.

Q.  How did the people respond to being followed around by cameras?
Jim Killeen: These guys were great with the cameras around. The set interviews were easy, as everyone knew what they were getting into with the cameras and such. And I think people have become very media savvy, aware of the cameras, not blocking themselves, etc., so it was never really an issue. It speaks more of our times than the JK’s individually. 

Q.  Have there been any new developments since you finished the film in the lives of your subjects?  Have you kept in contact with them?
Jim Killeen: We have stayed in touch. One of the guys called me on the way to his fathers wake, knowing that my Father had passed. I was so touched by that. Also, sadly, I let the Jim’s know when my Mother (who is in the film) passed away last year. We mainly communicate through the main social media sites and keep up with each other. Its been a happy after effect of the film, having this community of Jim Killeens.

Q.  Are there any particular scenes you like the best, or that you think audiences should really take note of?
Jim Killeen: My favorite scenes in the film are when we are all in Texas, and the guys were so great about doing some of the silly stuff you see in the film, getting out of the helicopter, playing horseshoes, making chili. Great sports about all of it. One of my favorite moments in the film involves JK from New York. He was very suspicious of the whole thing; getting called out of the blue by me, bringing a film crew into his home, he agreed, but was very skeptical. The moment for me where everything turns and he starts going with it is a dumb little joke that he went with. I asked him about a suspect he arrested that was hiding in a couch, and I asked him if he arrested the couch as well, and he said ‘no, we let the couch of with a stern warning’. Funny, simple, kinda silly, but the whole interview turned on that moment, him starting to have fun with us, and he turned out to be one of the brightest parts of the film.

Q. How about any scenes that were particularly challenging to shoot?
Jim Killeen: Challenging scenes….hmmmm. Well, the logistics when we were all in Texas were certainly formidable. We had some events that were tight, time wise. For example, the Mayor meets all of us to give us plaques declaring it Jim Killeen Day in Killeen, Texas. Well, JK from St. Louis hadn’t arrived yet, so we kind of had to fake it there. (he also had to leave early, so we shot around that).

Q.  What would you say is the overall message you’d like people to take away from the film?
Jim Killeen: The overall message of the film is that we are more connected to each other in the world than we are separate. That there are some fundamental things that everyone can agree on. That people are basically good and want to help if you can get past the initial distrust. Also, its a pretty good ride to take for 96 minutes.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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