Who’s Behind the Camera?: AFI FEST 2015 Moviemakers on Favorite Recent Films, Festival Moments and Cameras

Prev2 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Brad Allgood, Landfill Harmonic (World Cinema)

What did you shoot your film on?

We shot most of the film on the Sony F3, Canon 5D Mark III and Canon C300. Production began in 2010, so the Sony F3 and Canon 5D were a solid combination of high image quality, budget and versatility at the time. Later, we chose to shoot on the Canon C300 for its image quality, as well as simplicity and mobility in tough shooting environments.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

A favorite film that I’ve seen recently is the original True Grit with John Wayne. The cinematography, larger-than-life characters and score are some of my favorites.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

My most memorable experience was premiering Landfill Harmonic at SXSW and having The Recycled Orchestra play after the film for the first time. It was great to see the audience’s reaction when they stepped on stage to perform. They know how to put on a show, and they inspire everyone who meets them.

Still from Landfill Harmonic

Landfill Harmonic

Nicholas Brooks, Sam (Presentations)

What did you shoot your film on?
We shot digitally. Much cheaper than film and easier to edit. Our editor had already started work on our last day of shooting.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

In a movie theater, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Guy Ritchie did a fantastic job with this tight, elegant screenplay. Beautiful acting, costume and set design. Streaming: I just saw Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds. Lovely film—engaging story. Terrific direction. I also saw both Magic Mike movies recently and loved them both! Soderbergh has a lovely, light touch.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

Sam world-premiered at the Nashville Film Festival. A wonderful, warm reception. Very memorable indeed. The festival directors were such lovely people, and the audience so appreciative. A delightful experience.

Sam

Tobias Lindholm, A War (World Cinema)

What did you shoot your film on?

We used the ARRI Alexa, which we also used on A Hijacking.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

12 Angy Men. It is a masterpiece that I have seen a lot of times, and learned a lot from.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

Our world premiere with A War at Venice Film festival a few months ago was a great experience. A few of the professional soldiers who worked on the film flew down with us, and to share that proud moment with them was just out of this world.

Still from A War

A War

Alison Bagnall, Funny Bunny (American Independents)

What did you shoot your film on?

We shot our film on a Canon 5D Mark II. The Canon SLRs have such a nice chip. When I asked DP Ashley Connor what sort of cameras she wanted to consider for the movie, she answered, “I have to be honest, I’m not that into gear.” I thought that was so cool to hear that from a DP. She had used the Canon 5D Mark II extensively and so was extremely familiar with it, and how to get the best image. There’s a saying: “Beware of the man with only one gun. He’ll know how to use it.” Same goes for cameras. Many people who have seen Funny Bunny have made comments like, “So many of the frames look like paintings!” And this from a digital SLR.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

I liked the Russian film Leviathan. When a film is really good I’m not able to analyze it, break it down. It’s just so perfect and powerful and inspired. I loved the Safdie brothers’ film Heaven Knows What, which I saw at SXSW. I had zero desire to see a film about heroin addicts on the street. However, by the end I was reeling from the cinematic hit of it. It is absolutely an opus. The cinematography, the music. But truthfully, there is no “why”. It’s just pure unto itself. It was made from the gut, not passed through the intellectual part of the filmmakers’ brains. It is pure art. Pure expression. It is life.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

I attended the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland three years ago, with my film The Dish & The Spoon. The Filmmakers Lounge was in a crazy, subterranean 1980s discotheque. So, as a result, all the filmmakers would have no choice but to just dance all night pretty much every night of the festival. I remember on the very last night, before we were all to depart, Joe Swanberg emptying his pockets of all his Polish zloty. We were all trying to spend every last zloty because it was near impossible to change them back into dollars. So we all emptied our coins into Joe’s upturned palms and bought one final communal beer and drank it together at 4 a.m. It was sweet.

Still from Funny Bunny

Funny Bunny

Nathan Silver, Stinking Heaven (American Independents)

What did you shoot your film on?

We shot it on an Ikegami HL-79E tube camera. This was because it was era-appropriate for the story, and it distorts reality instead of just reproducing a pale imitation of it.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

Otar Iosseliani’s Chant d’hiver. Hilarious and absurd, a true pleasure. I couldn’t stop laughing from the first frame.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

Screening all my films at FICValdivia in Chile. There are sea lions, vultures, stray dogs and cinephiles everywhere. This is the place to go.

Hannah Gross and Eleonore Hendricks in Stinking Heaven.

Stinking Heaven.

Ella Manzheeva, The Gulls (New Auteurs)

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders is a magnificent film. I am afraid to see it again because I might spoil the impression I had after seeing this film. With incredible sensibility, she managed to incarnate the state that feeds our entire life. Perhaps it is the most important period in life: the time when you believe in miracles, the time when you are alive and you don’t think why and how you are alive, you just live. I also have such a house where my childhood has passed. Nobody lives there anymore. I dreamed in this house. I dreamed that there would be no war. I dreamed that my father would give me a colt, I dreamed to wear my best shoes every day and not keep them in a box inside a wardrobe, I dreamed to eat two ice creams instead of one. And, of course, I also dreamed that one day I would shoot films. But the miracle has come. I really shot The Gulls in this house. That is another story, though.

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

Our world premiere took place on February 7, 2015 at Berlinale. The feeling is impossible to forget: It was agitation, happiness and fear combined. I remember a great hall full of spectators. Did they come to see my film? What do they think about? There were many questions inside the festival. We invited Kalmyk artists and made a celebration right in the film theater, right after the show. We did everything for the first time. The spectators danced with us and expressed their happiness, celebrating the birth of Kalmyk cinema together with us, without even knowing it. Even ourselves, we only understood it a little bit later.

Still from The Gulls

The Gulls

César Acevedo, Land and Shade (New Auteurs)

What did you shoot your film on?

I’ve worked with my DP, Mateo Guzmán, for a long time. He’s my best friend, in fact, and collaboratively we decided to shoot digital on the Alexa. We also share the same interests in cinema, which is where we found much of the inspiration for the film.

What is the best film that you’ve seen recently?

I’ve had the chance to see a lot of films in the last few months, and it would be too difficult to chose just one!

What has been your most memorable experience at a film festival?

My first festival (ever) was Cannes. Having Land and Shade in Critics Week at Cannes was definitely the most important and memorable experience of my live, but, little by little, I’ve been introduced to other festivals as well. The festivals in Latin America are very special for me as this is my culture and language, but Cannes represents the start of my career, and for that reason it’s incredibly special to me.

Still from Land and Shade

Land and Shade

Images courtesy of AFI FEST presented by Audi. AFI FEST takes place November 5-12, 2015.

Prev2 of 2Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.