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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmmakers #6: Rodney Ascher’s ‘The Nightmare’ Examines the Fabric of Reality

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmmakers #6: Rodney Ascher's 'The Nightmare' Examines the Fabric of Reality

You probably remember Rodney Ascher’s first film, “Room 237,” which he brought to the Sundance Film Festival back in 2012. What might be a cinephile’s wet dream, “Room 237” takes a close look at the various interpretations circulating around Stanley Kubrick’s film “The Shining.” Picked up for distribution by IFC Films, “Room 237” became the subject of great debate, not unlike the film that it covered.

In “The Nightmare,” which is screening as part of the Midnight film series at Sundance, Ascher ventures into scientific territory via the exploration of sleep paralysis — an experience that occurs when an individual is either falling asleep or waking up, in which he or she is temporarily rendered unable to move or speak.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less? Eight people’s true experiences with sleep paralysis (and the things that wait for them in the darkness)

Now what’s it really about? Based on 237 I’m a little reluctant to try and answer questions like that, but considering the fact that I won’t get the last word anyway, one thing it might ‘really’ be about is the ways we each struggle to define reality.

Tell us briefly about yourself. After making a ton of shorts (with some amazing collaborators) since the nineties, I finally finished my first feature in 2012. Happily enough the second came a little quicker.

What was the biggest challenge in completing this film? Choosing from the hundreds of first hand accounts sent to us once the film’s subject and call for interviewees were announced.

What do you want Sundance audiences to take away from your film. People see things.

Did any films inspire you? Ones I kept in mind during “The Nightmare” included “The Thin Blue Line” (1988) and “Demons 2” (1986).

What’s next? TBD.

What cameras did you shoot on? The interviews were shot on a Canon 1Dc and the re-enactments on an Arri Alexa.

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform? If not, why? We were really lucky and Content Media arranged the financing so we didn’t have to.

Indiewire invited Sundance 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 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE

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