New Jersey-born filmmaker Daniel Patrick Carbone builds from his memories of youth to give an honest look into rural American life in his latest feature “Hide Your Smiling Faces.” Inspired by the first films of Terrence Malick, Lynne Ramsay and Harmony Korine, the film takes a quiet, naturalistic approach to exploring two young boys’ reaction to devastating instances of death and violence. Carbone hopes that “Hide Your Smiling Faces,” which premieres in the festival’s World Narrative Competition, allows audiences to reminisce on their own adolescence.
What it’s about: “Hide Your Smiling Faces” is an atmospheric exploration of life and death
in rural America, as seen through the distorted lens of youth.
About the filmmaker: I was born in the northwestern corner of New Jersey, where “Hide Your
Smiling Faces” takes place. I’ve wanted to make films for as long as I
can remember, spending all my free time running around the streets and
woods around my house with a few of my friends and a camera. I moved to
New York City ten years ago for college and I’ve worked as everything
from a wedding videographer to DVD-duplicator along the road to finally
getting my first feature made. Late last year I returned from the Middle
East, where I lived for three years teaching film and photography at a
university. I’m now happily back in Brooklyn.
What else do you want audiences to know about your film? The film provides a window into the world of male adolescence. To me,
it’s about navigating challenging human emotions and relationships for
the first time and how no response is necessarily “right” or “wrong.”
It’s also a film about just being young and how scary, mysterious, and
incredible that can be. The story, and the landscape surrounding it, is
revealed strictly from the perspective of these boys. This is the way I
remember that period in my life and it’s the way I wanted the audience
to experience the movie. The young cast, primarily first-timers, dove
headfirst into this world and are absolutely the soul of the film.
What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? My producers and I were literally on opposite sides of the world during
the majority of this film’s development – them in New York and me in Abu
Dhabi. I flew home 8,000 miles for a few casting sessions and for the
shoot, but all other communication was done remotely from preproduction
through post using Skype and file sharing sites. This was compounded by
the fact that we had very little money and a narrow window of time. I
chose a shoot date when I knew I would be back in the US and suddenly it
became a real thing. The only way to make it happen was to surround
ourselves with a team of incredible people. When you don’t have the
luxury of being able to pay your cast and crew, it’s essential to be
surrounded by people who believe in the project. When a film is created
by so much combined passion, it shows on the screen and I am eternally
thankful to each and every person involved.
What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with after seeing your film? While the film almost exclusively features young boys, I hope that
audiences of any age and gender are able to find something in the story
to connect to. I tried to incorporate very specific and personal details
into each scene, giving the world a lived-in, familiar feel. If it
provokes people to think and ask questions about their own youth, I
consider that a success. I also place a lot of importance on the way a
film makes me feel as a viewer. Nick Bentgen’s cinematography, Chris
Foster’s sound mix, and Robert Donne’s score play an enormous role in
establishing an atmosphere that I hope will stick with the audience.
Did any specific films inspire you? Lynne Ramsay (“Ratcatcher”), David Gordon Green (“George Washington”),
Kelly Reichardt (“Old Joy”), Harmony Korine (“Gummo”), Terrence Malick
(“Days of Heaven”), Elem Klimov (“Come and See”), Andrei Tarkovsky
(“Ivan’s Childhood,” “Stalker”) among many others. These are first
features from directors I look up to, powerful films about children, or
often both. Others are simply films I’ll never be able to forget. When I
was very young I watched “Stand By Me” with my mom. That had a pretty
big subconscious impact on me, which is probably obvious to anyone who
has seen “Hide Your Smiling Faces.”
What do you have in the works? I have a small production company,
Flies Collective, with Matt Petock and Zach Shedd, two of the producers
on this film. Constant collaboration and rotating roles from project to
project allows us create stronger work than we could alone. We are
currently raising funds for our third feature film, which will go into
production later this year. I’m in postproduction on “Phantom Cowboys,” a
feature-length documentary that I co-directed and shot that I’m very
excited about. I’m also working on a treatment for what will be my
second narrative feature, which I hope to shoot early next year.
Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films,
including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re
doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.