Archive for the 'Featured Filmmaker' Category
March 1st, 2013
When I started this blog last year, I started getting emails and comments from people who were involved with an Independent Short Film production and were looking for a way to promote themselves and their work, which, as I wrote back in February, was a goal of mine from early on.
I’m introducing a new aspect of this blog, which has been a long time coming. A while back, I created a new category, but because it has remained unused, it never appeared on the blog itself.
I’ve created a form online which gives artists the chance to introduce themselves and share a little about their work. Hopefully, by answering a few questions, a remarkably interesting conversation will develop, which I can then pass on to you in its most complete form.
If you’re a filmmaker or aspiring filmmaker, please fill out this form. If you know someone who would benefit from this questionnaire, please forward THIS LINK to themand have them fill it out.
Originally posted 2009-07-01 07:49:59.
January 12th, 2012
I’ve gotten a lot of good responses from filmmakers regarding the new category on this blog, the Artist Showcase Featured Filmmaker. Although I’ve been absent longer than I intended, I hope to be able to catch up to the many responses soon. I’m quite proud of the Filmmaker Interview I created, so if you know someone who deserves some time in the spotlight, send them a link to the Filmmaker Interview or to this blog post, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.
ALSO, If you have a question you’d like me to add to the interview, click on the words “Contact us” to the right of this post.
The first artist I’d like to present to you is the incredibly promising A.J. Bond, from Vancouver, British Columbia. This 28-year old filmmaker has already had his work featured here, and I extended the invitation to get to know him a bit better. Here’s what he had to say.
What got you interested in film and how long have you been involved with the medium?
I started working as an actor as a child and that got me interested in film in general, some of the directors I worked with would recommend movies for me to see and my interest built from there. After high school I quit acting and enrolled in film school at the University of British Columbia where I began working as an editor and producer. Hirsute is my debut as a writer and director.
Do you have any preferred equipment?
Not really. I’ve had good experiences with the Panasonic prosumer HD cameras, specifically the HVX-200. I appreciate the freedom that shooting digitally provides, but not having directed a project on film yet, I don’t have the experience to judge fully.
How should formal education play a role in the life of a filmmaker?
It really depends on the person and their situation. For me film school was a great experience, it’s a chance to practice without worrying about making mistakes. You can do really impressive work in film school that will be a big help in your future career, but you can also safely make some really bad films and learn from them without them ever seeing the light of day. Most importantly, I think film school is great place to meet collaborators. I’m still working with many of the same people I went to film school with. Obviously some people have the tenacity to just go out and make their own films with no experience, and if that works for them, great. But if someone is having trouble getting started, film school can be a great motivator and guide.
Which is harder, the artistry or the business?
For me, the business.
Would you care to elaborate on that?
I guess I mean more the networking and fundraising aspect of filmmaking is much more difficult for me. I prefer to be writing or thinking of ideas or working or editing rather than trying to sell my ideas to someone else, or get money from a grant. That’s the sort of thing that I find embarassing and difficult to do. I’ve done some producing as well, and find that that’s not my forte, trying to get deals and trying to convince people to work on the film for very little money, that sort of thing. I don’t quite have the personality for that, whereas, some of the producers I’ve worked with are really good at that so, for some people I can see how the business side would be easier, but for me, I’d much prefer the creative side of it.
If I were to view your entire body of work,what would I say were your trademarks or recurring themes?
Too early to say really. Looking at the projects I’m developing, it’s clear that I have an interest in disturbing material, using genre as a vehicle to provoke thought and a rather dark sense of humour.
It’s always interesting to hear what specific films different filmmakers are watching or rediscovering and how they’ve been influenced by them. I’m also fascinated to hear what films other filmmakers loved as a child – it’s usually very telling and sidesteps the conceit of them trying to sound smart or high-brow or just-so-obscure.
I grew up obsessed with Aliens and The Fly, though my parents refused to let me rent any modern horror films so I ended watching the original Frankenstein repeatedly. In my teens I was blown away by 2001: A Space Odyssey and later became fascinated by Taxi Driver.
In all your experience, what are you most proud of, or what do you regret most?
I regret that I didn’t start writing and directing my own films sooner out of film school. Though I think my work as an editor and producer has had a tremendous impact on my directing skills, it’s important to keep track of what I really want to be doing, which is telling my own stories.
The synopsis of Hirsute emphasizes that the future version of Kyle is hairless, hence the title. You also draw a comparison between travelling through time and making hard-boiled eggs. Where did these details originate? What inspired the story?
I’ve always been a fan of time travel and science fiction and Back to the Future was a film I loved as a kid and this idea of meeting your parents at your age, and what was that like? Somewhere along the line, I started to imagine, “well, what if you met yourself?” and I just started to think about, “would you like yourself?” And on a very personal level, would I like myself if I had an objective view of myself. But then the one thing that really pushed me over into making this film was when I realized I was gay, which was sort of late, in my early 20s and I was like, “What if my self who hadn’t realized he was gay met the self who had? Would they hate each other?”, And that was the subtle genesis of the story of self-loathing/self-loving and these details of body hair removal came out of that. I was thinking, what are the ways that he could change, not just his sexuality, I didn’t want it to be just about sexuality, I wanted to think of, “if he had succeeded as a time-travel inventor, how would that change him? Would it make him more vain?” and I looked at that as a metaphor for filmmaking as well. If I make a film and it’s successful, will I change, will I become very vain, and pompous and arrogant, and so all of these ideas congealed into the script.
The boiling egg was my inspiration for the time machine idea, and so I included that into the film to suggest that that was maybe the future Kyle’s inspiration as well, that one day he was eating boiled eggs and was like “Brilliant! That will be the shape!” So that was kind of the subtle in-joke, I guess.
Hirsute was posted on Vimeo 7 months ago, along with the behind the scenes, and the trailer was posted one year ago…but it was produced in 2007.
We didn’t want to post it on the internet too soon, because some film festivals still have rules about if it’s played online, they won’t show it, and so our plan was to show it at as many of the big film festivals as we could and then try to sell it to television, and we did that, we sold it to Logo in the States. And then when we felt like we had a good festival run, and it didn’t seem like there were any other television sales on the horizon, we decided to try putting it on the internet because I felt like that was probably a place where it might find a good audience. And it was kind of an experiment; we’d never done that with any of our shorts before, but I just wanted to see what would putting it online for free do for us: would it be good exposure, would it generate an audience, and it has, it’s got several thousand views now… I don’t know that it’s helped our careers any, but it felt nice to expose the world to it for free.
Any thoughts regarding online distribution vs. traditional methods, screenings, etc.?
It’s hard to say, it says something like 26,000 views, but it’s hard to tell exactly what that means, but I do know that the film festival forum is the best way to get exposure and meet other people in the industry, in terms of trying to get interest for future projects whereas, the internet seems like a great place to build a fanbase, and to get unfiltered critical feedback for your work, which is really exciting. Watching it with an audience that ISN’T a bunch of filmmakers is always the most satisfying, but in terms of career development I would say that film festivals are still REALLY really important because that’s where all of the producers go to see films, and distributors, and people that you’ll want to be working with, agents and so on, when your career is advancing to feature films or television or something like that.
The other thing with the internet is, when [your film] plays at a festival, you go if you can, and you can literally hear the audiences reaction, if they liked it, if they laughed, if they guffawed, whereas on the internet, there are some comments, but it’s not quite as visceral, so I’m still trying to figure out what the best model for that is. It’s great to know that all these people saw it and some liked it and some didn’t like it, but maybe there’s a more interactive forum in which we could have posted it, or created a website that was more interactive just so there was that sense of feedback and community and audience reaction that you get at at film festival.
Have any of your projects resulted in your involvement with other projects?
Nothing very concrete, I’ve met lots of people, potential collaborators, agents, producers, but nothing has materialized into another project. The impression I get is that, at the independent level, it’s very much driven by the creative parties. No one comes up to you and says “YOU! I want you to direct this script, and I’ll pay for it!” It’s more or less, “what are you working on now, what are you working on next,” and since when Hirsute came out, I didn’t have a feature film ready, a script or anything like that, there wasn’t really much that I could present for people. And so that was a big lesson: If you’re going to make a short film and go to film festivals, it REALLY is important that you have your next project ready, so that when you meet these people, you can say, “This is what I’m trying to do next, does that sound interesting? Do you want to get involved?” et cetera. No one’s gonna come up to you and offer you exactly what you want to do when you’ve only made one short film. I’ve learned that there is a lot of potential for momentum but it really depends on what you bring to the table next, and I learned that the hard way, because I didn’t bring anything to the table, so I’m working on that now, writing a feature.
Has any of your work received any awards or recognition?
We didn’t win any awards for the first year, 2007 we didn’t win anything, and then mid-to-late 2008, it started to win awards at all of the more specialized festivals like a science fiction festival, or a queer festival or a smaller festival like Northwest Film Festival so that was kind of interesting to see, that, if you have a kind of niche-y film, you really have to think about the type of festival that would like it. And that’s something that we’ve learned. As a lesson to someone who’s starting out, I would say, keep submitting to as many festivals as you can, because you might not get into all the big ones, but the little ones are really valuable as well.
Thanks, A.J., we loved your Independent Short Film and are looking forward to your feature!
If you’d like to see other projects that A.J. Bond has been involved with, you can visit the website for his company The Siblings.
Some of his previous projects as a producer have sites here (but are not available for online viewing):
Again, if you or someone you know would be interested in being a Featured Filmmaker, here’s where to start.
Thanks for reading!
Originally posted 2009-07-19 07:40:59.