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Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #17: Steven Piet Explores Twisty Small Town Dynamics in ‘Uncle John’

Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #17: Steven Piet Explores Twisty Small Town Dynamics in 'Uncle John'

Written and directed by Steven Piet, “Uncle John” follows (as the title might suggest) John (John Ashton) and his nephew, Ben (Alex Moffat). Things heat up as troubling murder allegations swirl around the well-loved John, just as Ben heads into town for the first time in years. Part mystery and part romance, “Uncle John” is Piet’s first feature film — after working in short films, broadcast commercials and music videos, he’s branching out.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

Dutch, a small town bully turned born again Christian, has gone missing. John, a loved and well-respected member of the community, is not a suspect, but has everything to do with it.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

Contrasting worlds that are mere miles away. Generational differences. Parental sacrifice. Gossip.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I’m born and bred in Chicago, IL. I’d like to think that has contributed a lot to my perspective on life. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve wanted to make movies and I’m grateful that I didn’t until I had something to say.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

Financing. It’s hard for mostly everybody I think. But if you’re careful and focused on what’s important to tell your story, you can achieve a lot with a little these days.

What do you want SXSW audience to take away from your film?

If people feel satisfied with the story, but still have questions that they’d want to talk though, I’d call that a huge success. 

Any films inspire you?

So many! Honestly, every time I go to watch a movie in a theatre, good or bad, I’m reminded why I want to do this for a living. 

What’s next?

Erik Crary, my producer/co-writer/filmmaking partner and I have an idea that we are so energized about. We’re working on it all the time, it’s a great sign when that happens.

What cameras did you shoot on?

When my mom asked me that I told her the same camera that they shot Skyfall and Iron Man 3 on. It’s crazy that we’re living in a time where great cameras are accessible to such a wide variety of budgets. It was the Arri Alexa btw. 

Did you crowdfund? If so, via what platform. If not, why?

We didn’t. We thought hard about it but we decided to save that bullet in case we needed it for post production. Fortunately, we never had to. 

Did you go to film school? If so, which one?

Yes, I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. For profiles go HERE.

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