How many films have you made?
Personally? By myself?
Or in collaboration.
Well, I've been on numerous sets doing various jobs. Probably, all in all, I've been a part of 15 films or so.
So is this something you've always been interested in?
Yeah, Johnny and I--we've been best friends since fourth grade. We started making films in high school; I guess we were about 16. This is definitely the most ambitious project we've ever been involved in. This is his senior-thesis film from the UA last year, when he graduated. ... We trust each other's visual style and vision.
What informs your visual style?
Well, with this particular film, the style came from our conversations about the story pretty much--conversations about the relationship between this father and this son. There are moments when they're connecting, and the two characters sort of fill the composition. And then immediately, that connection is gone. We chose to use the zoom to sort of pull out of that, at that moment. Johnny wrote it well so that they're constantly bouncing in and out of those moments. We sort of wanted a kinetic field to it, because it gives you a frazzled feeling and uncertainty about their relationship. There's sort of a voyeuristic quality about it, even.
How'd you get it entered at Sundance?
We finished it, and we wanted to send it to Sundance. They have a strict regulation where it has to premiere at Sundance, so we didn't want to send it to any of the other festivals, in case it was accepted. ... We actually just made the deadline, which was the beginning of November or September--something like that. ... We were sort of--at least I was--not confident that it was going to be accepted.
As a small filmmaker, Sundance is sort of like the land of milk and honey, you know? It's like, "No way will I ever get into Sundance; that's for when I'm 55 and an experienced filmmaker, and then maybe I'll get into it." But as a 26-year-old who made this little film with my friend, Sundance is sort of not what you think about when you're doing that. We pretty much thought, "OK, we'll send it off to Sundance, and then when it gets rejected, we'll send it off to other festivals." Amazingly, it was accepted, and now, I have no idea what to do.
What was it like when you found out?
Actually, Johnny found out during the evening at some point. He called me at about 9 o'clock, and for some reason, I went to bed early that night. I woke up the next morning, and there were like 17 messages--17 missed calls--on my phone, and I was like, "What is going on?" I knew that we were going to find out, yes or no, around that time within a day or two. Immediately, that's what popped into my head. So I called him back, and Johnny, in his own way, was just like, "Yeah, so we got into Sundance." I was like, "No way. No way." It was definitely one of the happiest moments in my life--in recent memory, at least. I was calling everybody, you know? It was incredible; I couldn't believe it. I was just totally on cloud nine the entire day.
What are your future plans? You're going to keep making movies, I hope.
My main ambition, at least for now, is music videos. That's where most of my ideas come from. I'm mostly a visual person. ... I'll let other people write and direct. Hopefully, getting into Sundance helps that ambition.
If you could do a music video for anyone, who would it be?
Björk. For anybody who wants to do music videos, I think they at least know of Björk's career in videos. ... Locally, the band that I want to do a video for the most is The Beta Sweat. Have you heard them?
I've tried contacting them a couple times to no avail.
Well, maybe they'll read this.
(Laughs.) Yeah. They're great; I have a few ideas for those guys.