In making his debut feature as a writer and producer, Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthew Band chose to do things a little differently: he scored the film before penning the script. The result, "Faces in the Mirror," an experimental indie that's driven by a percussive score (recorded by Tinsley, his DMB bandmates, Shawn Smith of Brad and the Seattle band Maktub) and little-to-no dialogue, tells the story of a young man who on the day of his father's funeral goes on a dreamlike odyssey where he's led, portal by portal, to fantastical places. The story, like the film's production process, defies easy categorization. It requires that you just go with it, preferably with the volume on your speakers turned all the way up.
Ahead of the film's online premiere on SnagFilms (Indiewire's parent company), Indiewire caught up with Tinsley to learn how his film, directed by Aaron Farrington, came to be. Go HERE to RSVP to the online screening that takes place August 30.
Your movie's quite the trip.
And that's exactly it. It's a very trippy movie. It's a psychedelic drama, that's exactly what it is.
It's such an original, experimental work. Where did it all start for you?
Like the important things in my life — it just happened. When I first played the violin, I had no intention of playing the violin. I just happened to try it out and loved it, and that one moment completely changed my life. This was one of those things. It just hit me one day to make this movie.
I had been thinking about making a movie for 15 years or so, not sure of how to do it. I only knew that if I made a movie it would be different, so I'd have to completely finance it.
It came out of a lot of grief at the time because my friend, a mentor of mine, had died. It really had me down. I knew I needed to do something creative. That's what I do when I have a lot of pain that I'm carrying. I just hit the studio and play. This time this film was the thing to do.
All of a sudden, in one moment, it was just time to make one. The belief was so strong that I stuck with it for three years. It was the kind of thing we were building as we went along. We didn't know how the story was going to end, we just knew how it started.
I'm sure a lot of your fans will be surprised to learn that you had long wanted to make a feature film. Where does that passion stem from?
Thinking about making a movie really started in the mid-90s after we did the video for "Crash Into Me." We worked with this really creative director named Dean Karr. He reminds me of Aaron Farrington, the director of this movie. They are out there people, and that's why they have such great imaginations. That video was very trippy, the images in that. It really felt just like the music. Marrying these two strong emotions together sends chills through my spine. When I saw the video, I was like — that's what I want to do. The movie I made really stems from that.
Could you talk about the challenges associated with making the film the way you made it?
For me it came pretty naturally. The way that I produced this movie, the way that we went about making it, was really the same way I go about making music. I like to take an idea and go with it. I don't really think about what kind of solo I want to play, or what direction I want to go — I just get into it. I know where I'm going to start when I start, but I have no idea where it's going to go. I let the energy of the stage and all of that carry me. That's what I wanted to do here.
Watch the trailer below:
And below watch Dead Karr's video for "Crash Into Me," that inspired Tinsley to make his debut feature: