Every day through the end of the Sundance Film Festival, including weekends, indieWIRE will be publishing two interviews with Sundance ’06 competition filmmakers. Sixty filmmakers were given the opportunity to participate in an email interview, and each was sent the same questions.
Malcolm Ingram directed “small town gay bar,” screening in the Independent Film Competition: Documentary section. The film focuses primarily on two bars in Mississippi. These bars, according to Sundance, offer “sanctuary” even as they “struggle to stand their ground in hostile terrain.” Ingram previously directed the films “Tail Lights Fade” and “Drawing Flies.”
Please tell us about yourself.
I’m 37 years old. Been developing “small town gay bar” for four years. Before I did this I was a journalist and a pizza chef. I was born in Montreal but live in Toronto and LA at present. I also made two movies before this. But they were dreadful.
What were the circumstances that led you to become a filmmaker?
I met Kevin Smith at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1994. I was a journalist. He was there with “Clerks” [and] we became friends, and he ended up funding my first feature. Needless to say, I lucked out.
Kevin has been an insanely generous mentor, supporting me on my past two ventures as well as this one.
Did you go to film school? Or how did you learn about filmmaking? How did you finance your own film?
No film school. I learned about filmmaking the “Tarantino” way (copyright 1994). By working in a video store and watching movies.
Financing this film was actually very tough. We initially looked for money in Canada through the various funding agencies. Either my calls went unreturned (Telefilm), or I got strung along (NFB) [National Film Board].
Then we kinda ended up in a cesspool of independent financiers. Real scumbags. Then I met this guy Andre. He was a really nice guy from LA who was working on a movie up in these parts. He and his mom threw us some loot, and we were off and running.
Do you have any insights you would like to share about filmmaking?
My one insight on the filmmaking process that I finally learned with my third kick at the can. Don’t pick up the camera unless you got something to say. And if you truly have something to say. Nothing will stop you from saying it.
What are your biggest creative influences?
John Waters, The Velvet Underground, Mick Jagger, Russ Meyers, J Mascis, Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg, Kevin Smith, Neil Diamond, Bob Fosse, Joe Strummer, Paul Thomas Anderson, Rolling Stones, Shane MacGowan, Chuck D, Hunter S. Thompson, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Andy Warhol, the Pixies, Michael Moore and Elvis Presley.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in either developing the project or making the movie?
Tell us about the moment you found out that you were accepted into Sundance.
I was in my den. I had just gotten off the phone with my editor Scott trying to figure out when we’d find out if we got in.
Trevor Groth called. And my brain instantly broke. It definitely goes up there as [one of the] top three moments in my life so far.
What do you hope to get out of the festival and what are your own goals for the experience?
My main goal is to try and secure some form of distribution to ensure the film gets out there. I’m also looking forward to sharing the experience with my crew. They worked so damned hard. I thank God that it wasn’t for naught.
What is your definition of “independent film”?
Fuck labels. I mean, I don’t think there was ever a term that was at the same time so noble and completely dismissive at the same time.
What are a few other films you’re hoping to see at Sundance and why?
“The World According to Sesame Street” [dirs. Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Linda Hawkins Costigan] because it looks awesome. “Come Early Morning” because Joey Lauren Adams is awesome. And I know her film will be too. “Stay” [dir. Bob Goldthwait], “Art School Confidential” [dir. Terry Zwigoff], “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” [dir. Kirby Dick].
Who are a few people that you would most like to meet at Sundance?
Trevor Groth, John Cooper and Geoffrey Gilmore. To give them big hugs for programming my movie.
And Paris Hilton, so I could ask her what the fuck she is doing here?
If you were given $10 million to be used for moviemaking, how would you spend it?
My next project.
What are some of your favorite films and why? What is your top 10 list for 2005?
My top five favorite films of all time are:
“Nashville”-I can put that on and watch it like some people listen to music. The best movie ever made.
“Shampoo”-Catches a time, place and attitude better than any film I’ve ever seen. Beatty is God!
“Days of Heaven”-To quote Keanu Reeves… “Whoah!”
“Streets of Fire”-We all gotta have our guilty pleasures.
“Ed Wood”-I never understand why people keep saying guys like Cage and Penn are great actors. It always just seems like they are playing themselves. Depp ACTS. And this is his best performance. I wish Tim Burton would stop sucking.
Top 10 2005 (some 2004 releases that I saw 2005):
“War of the Worlds,” “Overnight,” “How to Draw a Bunny,” “Domino,” “Grizzly Man,” “The Tadpole and the Whale,” “A History of Violence,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Munich,” “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
What are one or two of your New Year’s resolutions?
My New Year’s resolution is to make steps toward removing stress from my life. I’m sure Sundance will be a magnificent start to realizing that.
If you took President Bush’s job, who would you hire/fire?
Politics is for fags!