Almost exactly 31 years after its release, Brian De Palma’s 1983 version of Scarface still inspires dubious home décor and legions of rap lyrics. Now, it’s also inspired a new remake, Scarface Redux, complete with mountains of cocaine and side-boob-revealing dresses, combined with a fever dreamer’s surreal visions.
Scarface Redux is completely crowd-sourced and made up entirely of 15-second, Instagram-friendly clips submitted by strangers. Some clips stay true-ish to the original; others go completely off the deep end. Here’s a sample of the former:
Filmmaker Nick Ducassi, the main engine behind the project, drew inspiration, he says, from Star Wars Uncut, a similarly crowd-sourced ode to the Star Wars universe that lives online here.
He also drew from the participation rules of Star Wars Uncut to prevent total chaos and give the whole thing some structure. Ducassi imposed a system for entrants, chopping up the entire original movie into 15-second pieces. On the Scarface Redux web site, would-be cinematographers then signed up for specific sequences to avoid duplication.
“Scarface has spurred countless cultural phenomena unto themselves,” says Ducassi. “So we wanted to let people all over the world do their own take on the movie, and Miami, where it’s set.”
Beyond the careful sign-up system, though, Ducssi left the rest up to the participating micro-filmmakers. The clips could be live-action, or not. People who signed up for more than one sequence could make them all visually match, or not. They could hew to the 1983 film’s aesthetics, or not.
“We’ve gotten all kinds of submissions all across the board. Some people stayed pretty close to the original, while others did, say, animations with toys,” says Ducassi. “Someone took an image of cats and a possum and put her lips over their mouths and did the scene between Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino in a club, and it’s totally weird and awesome. But rules? Nope!”
Why not re-create an early café scene in someone’s mom’s suburban kitchen?
Why not re-imagine one of the movie’s many club scenes in an underground vogue-ing party?
Why not crack out some action figures for a stop-motion version of a bloody massacre?
Why not barely animate some photos of basketball players, and dub in your own voice reciting all of a tiny scene’s dialogue?
Scarface Redux didn’t just spring forth in a coke-dusted vacuum, though. The project is part of the semi-annual Borscht Film Festival, a Miami-birthed celebration of, and incubator for, short films by young filmmakers from (mostly) less-celebrated scenes.
“Like Miami, there are a lot of other interesting places in the U.S. and around the world that don’t get as much of a platform, so we thought this would be a great way to give them a platform,” says artist and filmmaker Jillian Mayer, one of the festival’s co-founders.
The main-event showcase this Saturday promises an evening of working cuts of submitted shorts—as well as extracurricular fun like a natural bodybuilding contest—by filmmakers including Terence Nance and Jacolby Satterwhite. But the rest of the festival, which started earlier this week, has boasted events like a class in Haitian machete fencing (to go with a screening of the film “Papa Machete”), and a day of native and indigenous films.
“I almost think it’s like treats, to have all these fun things,” says Mayer. “It also makes it a more exciting experience—you’re exposed to more stuff.”
As part of all of this, Scarface Redux will screen Sunday night at the Miami Beach nightclub Mansion, probably the most Scarface-like club currently going in the city. And no, not all scenes have been remade yet, and that doesn’t matter to Ducassi. The original movie will just fill in the gaps for now—and the project will live online for at least another year until, hopefully, the entire movie indeed gets remade.
“I don’t even want to watch the actual movie any more,” says Ducassi. “I just want to see this insane ADHD-friendly version of it, where every 15 seconds is totally new.”
For now, you can watch the whole project so far on the Scarface Redux web site (and even its Instagram account)—and you can still submit your own masterpiece. Most of those scenes in front of that unforgettable, awesome palm-tree wallpaper are still up for grabs.