Thursday, December 19, 2019

A DECADE OF INTERVIEWS 2010 - 2019: Soldier Of Cinema Robert Aaron Mitchell

As the decade draws to a close I thought it would be cool to look back at a decade of interviews I have conducted. This is no small undertaking I have been fortunate to interview a lot of people over the past ten years. What follows is one interview for each year. This is not be exclusionary, I am thankful for every person I have met under the strange circumstances of meeting them for a few seconds and then asking questions as a video camera records. What follows are only from video interviews not the numerous email and phone interviews from the now soon to be past decade.

2010 STAKE LAND TIFF World Premiere

At the 2010 Midnight Madness program I spoke with Director Jim Mickle who has gone on to make several more feature films as well as Hap & Leonard featuring the beloved characters of Joe R. Lansdale, actor and writer Nick Damici and as well as genre legend Larry Fessenden who in the past decade has continued to produce and direct provocative genre films as well as co-produce and contribute to Tales Beyond The Pale a horror podcast in the spirit of 1930s radio dramas. Larry has also written horror video games Until Dawn and Man Of Medan. These interviews would wind up on the DVD and Blu-ray release of the movie.

2011 OFF! NXNE Music Festival
I was working with my good friend Ryan O'Shaughnessy and his Tune In TO website. I interviewed Keith Morris, Dimitri Coats, Steven Shane McDonald and Mario Rubalcaba the members of the punk group OFF! this was a huge thrill for me because Keith Morris was the first singer of Black Flag. I have always enjoyed running around doing interviews at music festivals, a completly different vibe than my usual film festival beat.

2012 THE LORDS OF SALEM TIFF World Premiere Interviews with Rob Zombie, Sheri Moon Zombie and actor Jeff Daniel Phillips. Doing world premiere red carpet interviews are very short usually not substantive affairs. I try to infuse something unique in this quick snippets of conversation. My research lead me to the fact that Rob Zombie was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts which is not far from Salem. I brought this up as an ice breaker and our quick conversation lead to Stanley Kubrick. At the moment I felt we were vibing one another the moment was over. It was also cool that the film was well received at Midnight Madness and holds up. 2013 R100 TIFF World Premiere with Hitoshi Matsumoto This was an extremly fun interview. It is always great to meet filmmakers from all over the world and it was a huge thrill to meet Mr. Matsumoto especially in this setting where red carpets are a rarity in Japan most filmmakers only do formal press conferences. It was also awesome that I was able to make the great comedic legend laugh. 2014 TUSK World Premiere Interview with Kevin Smith There was a lot of things swirling around this night behind the scenes. Time was running out and it looked as though I was not going to speak with Kevin Smith. I did and said it was great that he was back to making movies and he gave me a huge bear hug which has since been written about in a dissertation and published in a book. 2015 SLUMS THE CITIES OF TOMORROW The In Light Human Rights Film Festival I was the videographer for a new film festival that was created in the anthropology department at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Later in 2015 I would interview Sir Patrick Stewart at the Green Room premiere but I went with this conversation with professor Nicolas Reeves because I really enjoyed our conversation and the documentary is becoming more and more relevant as the wealth divide increases. 2016 THE BAD BATCH TIFF Premiere with Jason Momoa This is one of my most talked about interviews I have done and happen before already star Jason Momoa was launched into superstardom. It also features another bear hug. Guess I am a huggable guy! 2017 BODIED TIFF World Premiere with Dizaster This was the opening film this year and was great to research and learn more about the underground hip-hop battle scene. I had no idea that Toronto had such a vibrant scene. The film was very provacative and in your face so was battle rapper Dizaster. It was also another interview that ended in a hug! 2018 THE WIND TIFF World Premiere It is great to go into a movie not knowing anything about it. From an interview and research stand point though it makes an interview quite difficult. I really enjoyed these interviews at THE WIND Premiere with director Emma Tammi, writer Teresa Sutherland and actors Caitlin Gerard, Julia Goldani Telles The flow and ease of the interviews went really well and I was happy to support this film. 2019 FIRST LOVE Interview with Takashi Miike This was another year that featured some very cool interviews. The long awaited return of Richard Stanley and the few minutes with elusive Nicolas Cage, third time really was the charm this year but I went with my interview with legendary filmmaker Takashi Miike. In my film collection I probably have more films by him than any other filmmaker, in large part to how prolific he is. This would mark the second time I have interviewed Mr. Miike this time it was great that I could sit down with him for a longer interview. Interviews with a translator can always be difficult but I feel this interview flowed well. Honorable Mention SADAKO VS KAYAKO 2016 The photo on this post is from this premiere and one of my favorite photos my good friend Ian Goring has taken of me over the years. This was a really fun premiere and threw out the normal interview process out the window.

[REVIEW] CULT FILMMAKERS: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need To Know by Ian Haydn Smith

Ian Haydn Smith's new book Cult Filmmakers: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need To Know is a book well suited to the cinephile world of lists and discussions. Mr. Smith chronicles fifty filmmakers ranging form David Lynch to Ana Lily Amirpour to Abel Ferrara. I don't want to mention too many as part of the fun for me was turning the pages to see and read about the next filmmaker. The directors span over a hundred years of cinema.

"What makes a cult film, or characterizes its filmmaker as a cult figure?" Is the first line of Mr. Smith's introduction and the question is indeed the crux of the book. It is a pertinent question and the book shines as Mr. Smith gives us insights about his thought process to his answers. In this modern cinema era films are sometimes positioned and marketed as "cult" films. As the local movie theater is dominated more and more by giant blockbuster films by a handful of media companies it is also a nice reminder that in every decade filmmakers were and are operating outside of traditional systems. Directors throughout the decades are telling stories that are unique, weird, provocative, compelling, a reaction and a reflection of the generation they were created in and ultimately theirs.

Another aspect of Cult Filmmakers: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need To Know that is really outstanding and elevates the book are the beautiful illustrations by Kristelle Rodeia that accompany every filmmaker page. It's great to see what set piece or prop accompany the filmmaker.

As Ian Hayden Smith writes, "Rather than offering an authoritative guide through the rich history of cult filmmaking, this book aims to be another voice in the conversation about cult cinema." I surmise  this book will indeed begin and renew discussions and disagreements of what is a cult film and what makes one a cult filmmaker and will definitely stir passionate conversations of the filmmakers featured within and those not included. The book will also certainly bring delight as a reader looks back at well known directors, upcoming filmmakers and forgotten auteurs.

You can by Ian's book here