During a sometimes hilarious and other times straightforward awards ceremony at the 13th annual Provincetown International Film Festival, Darren Aronofsky took to the stage with legendary provocateur John Waters for a lively discussion. Aronofsky was honored with the “Filmmaker on the Edge Award,” celebrating filmmakers that are “pushing the boundaries of the cinematic art.”
Also honored were actor Vera Farmiga and documentarian filmmaker Albert Maysles (for Excellence in Acting and Career Achievement).
Introducing a clip reel of Aronofsky of highlights from Aronofsky’s five feature films, Waters joked that he wished he would have edited them together, so that he could “strip his downs the goriest, most fantastic, sexiest scenes” in something like a drive-in trailer.
Waters first asked Aronofsky a question he always asks directors: Were you always bossy? Aronofsky responded by saying that he had a strong mother and a bossy older sister, and so he had great role models.
Over the conversation, Aronofsky made it clear that he was not a cinephile growing up, confessing that he was inspired mostly by contemporary directors, like Spike Lee. Aronofsky was motivated more by the creative use of the medium by these contemporary directors more than earlier experimental work from filmmakers like Stan Brakhage, whose work Waters compared to the artistry behind Aronofsky’s first feature “Pi.”
The two went on to lament a bit about the sad state of distribution and film funding (Waters even noted that the independent film was a “vanishing genre”), with Waters saying that he just began to get a residual check for his 1988 film “Hairspray.” Aronofsky noted that it was still difficult for him to find funders for “Black Swan,” despite making films that were indie hits and that, in the case of “The Wrestler” and “Requiem for a Dream,” garnered Oscar nominations.
Aronofsky also chatted about his upcoming projects. He’s working on a big budget interpretation of the story of Noah’s arc called “Noah” and in talks to work on a project with Michael Chabon, the script for which has yet to be written.