Director Jay Chandrasekhar on Why Released Vouch Vault – The Hollywood Reporter

To fully understand why comedy guru Jay Chandrasekhar released a new app called Vouch Vault, the director digs deep into his memory vault to remember the events surrounding the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.

His rough comedy Super Troopers – About five Vermont soldiers who love pranks trying to save their jobs by going beyond the local police station to solve a crime – made their debut at the Park City Winter Festival, where they landed with a series of warm hugs. “The Sundance experience was incredible,” explains Chandrasekhar. “We had three midnight screenings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and each one was better than the next. It was full, wild and unbelievable what happened next, because we sold the movie on Searchlight until Sunday night. It was the first and only film to sell in a week. It was glorious. “

What happened next? Less. After spending a year re-releasing the film with the help of reruns, Super Troopers was released in theaters in February 2002 and grossed $ 23 million with glamorous audience reviews. The critics were not so enthusiastic. “The newspaper I read every morning, The New York Times, I did not like the movie, which is fine. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there.

Many were bad Super Troopers, as evidenced by the film’s 36% rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes aggregate. But Chandrasekhar is not here to attract critics. “To be 100 percent clear, I have no problem with critics and there is a value to them,” he notes. “But I remember thinking at the time, ‘Who is a critic?’ Often, they are great writers with tremendous power in the newspapers who watch movies for a living and recommend them to their readers. “When was the last time you went to a stranger on the street and asked him which movie you should watch?”

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That’s why the value, for him, came as the inspiration for the creation of a new kind of platform that will restore the power of filmmaking in the hands of the world. “About three years ago, I started describing what I hoped would be my revenge to replace the way Rotten Tomatoes affect the film business,” says Chandrasekhar. “I came up with the idea, met with two application developers and probably had 10 meetings through Zoom. I was about to write them a check to help them build the app and then they told me they had similar views on reviews on Yelp and Amazon, asking, “Who are these people writing reviews?” So, we joined forces and built this machine. “

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The Vouch Vault: Jay Chandrasekhar, Elijah Szasz and Eric Colbert
Courtesy of Vouch Vault

They call it Vouch Vault. The goal is simple: “Take the power of recommendation from anonymous strangers and give it to people whose tastes you know and trust.” It is a social media platform where users share almost anything they love – movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, hotels, restaurants, cars, products, museums, services, etc. – in any city. Chandrasekhar personally guarantees his Tesla, Osteria La Buca in Los Angeles, Randolph Beer in Brooklyn and the sound engineers at King Soundworks for post-production services.

“It’s the Instagram of recommendations,” he says. “You follow friends and famous people and you see what they like and you suggest. The real purity of this will come from friends and learning what your friends like so you can control it. “

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The app has a special feature called “Try Vault” where users can bookmark recommendations they want to try later, and Chandrasekhar says hashtag search can be a user-friendly way to find suggestions in other cities. . Want to find the best burger in Paris, search for a hashtag. But beyond hamburgers, Chandrasekhar also sees it as a “memory machine” of its kind that will allow users to store a digital file of whatever they like about their friends and family.

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Pictures of the Vouch Vault user experience.
Courtesy of Vouch Vault (3)

“I hope it will obviously be a success, but it will also offer another way to have a collective memory bank with all the wonderful pieces of pop culture you may want to share with your kids one day,” explains the director. the next movie, Easter Sundaystarring stand-up superstar Jo Koy, will be released on August 5.

Speaking of success, Chandrasekhar has invested some of his own money to run, along with investments from other developers, some family members and friends. The app could generate revenue through ads and affiliate links, and while it is still in its infancy, it has big plans to expand with the possible addition of video features. He even hopes to have talent like Quentin Tarantino or Willie Nelson (a longtime friend he met when he directed in 2005 The Dukes of Khazar) to offer their treasuries. (About Nelson: “It’s a valuable source of information that will not always be there.”)

Asked to summarize his final hopes for the venture, Chandrasekhar throws a curveball and becomes a closing politician. “I really believe that the Vouch Vault can have a unifying effect. If you see Republicans and Democrats all liking the same movies, we need it. “We need unity in our culture.” This also applies to critics.

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