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Here Are the Films That Inspired the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers

Here Are the Films That Inspired the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers

In advance of this year’s Tribeca Film FestivalIndiewire sent out a questionnaire to the filmmakers taking their work to Tribeca. Below you’ll find a selection of their responses to the question of which films inspired them.

Andrew Renzi (“Franny”)
“I’m inspired by all sorts of films, but among the ones I already mentioned, for ‘Franny,’ I was inspired by ‘The Great Beauty,’ ‘The Leopard,’ ‘The Cable Guy’ and ‘Divorce Italian Style.'”

Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu and David Usui (“In Transit”)
Lynn True: “There are too many to name, but I’ll admit being totally inspired by ‘The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller,’ which I saw when I was about seven years old when I probably didn’t even know what a documentary was.”

Nelson Walker: “It’s sort of cheating, but I’d have to say Albert Maysles’ films have been my biggest inspiration.”

David Usui: “Dark Days,” “Salesman,” “Darwin’s Nightmare,” “Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On” and “Streetwise”
READ MORE: Here are the Cameras Used by the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers

Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali  (“Among the Believers”)

Hemal Trivedi: “Barbara Kopple’s ‘Harlan County, USA’ inspired me to become a filmmaker. I saw it at a small film club in Mumbai and I was blown away. That was the first time I had ever seen a documentary as emotional and dramatic as a fiction film. That’s when I decided to dedicate my life to non-fiction dramatic storytelling. I was also very inspired by ‘Grey Gardens’ (God bless the late Albert Maysles), which I saw in grad school. It reminded me so much of my relationship with my mother; I cried my eyes out. It showed me that what’s important in a documentary is not the information conveyed, so much as the nuances of human relationships.”

Mohammed Ali: “Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Wild Strawberries.’ His understanding of the human condition is breathtaking. On the surface, his films inhabit a very dark space, but a sophisticated analysis can easily demonstrate Bergman’s limitless compassion and empathy for humanity. It’s about seeking a rare, hidden, profound, and ultimately real beauty, in the most unexpected and fantastical of places. Seeing ‘Wild Strawberries’ changed my life.”

Zachary Treitz (“Men Go To Battle”)
“Our inspirations for this came more from books we like as well as the numerous unpublished diaries and journals we found in archives during our research, but it’s safe to say that this movie would not be the same without Peter Watkins’ beautifully dirty ‘Edvard Munch’ or Elem Klimov’s ‘Come and See.’ It has just as much to do with a comedy like ‘Paper Moon’ though.”

David Holbrooke (“The Diplomat”)
“Our whole team watched ‘My Architect,’ of course, and at times, we joked that this film was called ‘My Diplomat.’ We also watched other worthwhile films in this genre, including Rory Kennedy’s terrific ‘Ethel,’ Sarah Polley’s ‘The Stories We Tell’ and ‘Disturbing the Universe’ by Sarah and Emily Kunstler about their father, the irascible attorney William Kunstler. Another film that was released while we were making the film was Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood,’ which inspired me in so many ways, including its use of time elapsing to tell the story of its characters.”

Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol (“Uncertain”)
“Oh so many films, scripted and documentary. Documentary-wise for both of us any Maysles film, especially ‘Salesman’ and ‘Gimme Shelter.’ ‘Etre et Avoir’ (Nicolas Philibert) is extraordinary. Sergei Dvortsevoy’s ‘In the Dark.’ And Errol Morris’ ‘Vernon Florida’ was an early inspiration for this film.”

Don Argott and Sheena Joyce (“Slow Learners”)
“We’re huge fans of Judd Apatow and Adam McKay films. I think we quote ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘This is 40’ on a weekly basis. We also both grew up on a steady diet of John Hughes, and Don can recite ‘The Breakfast Club’ line for line. Sheena gets a far away look on her face whenever Jake Ryan is on screen in ‘Sixteen Candles.'”

Dianna Agron (“Bare”)
“Many. Love the films of Andrea Arnold, Lynn Ramsey, David Lynch, Harmony Korine and the comedy of Alexander Payne. ‘Fish Tank,’ ‘My Summer of Love’ and ‘The Last Picture Show,’ to name a few.”

Zachary Sluser (“The Driftless Area”)
“The films of the Coen Brothers, Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, Jane Campion and David Lynch. Tom Drury introduced me to ‘Carnival of Souls’ during one of our script revisions which calibrated our brains in the right direction for that draft. My DP, Daniel Voldheim, and I also drew inspiration from the photographs of Todd Hido, William Eggleston and Gregory Crewdson.”

Carleton Ranney (“Jackrabbit”)
“For ‘Jackrabbit,’ I was specifically inspired by the spirit and form of the VHS blockbusters and art films that lined the shelves of my favorite video stores growing up in Austin. These were the movies that first introduced me to film and the ones I find myself going back to time and time again. In the end, ‘Jackrabbit’ owes as much of its existence to ‘War Games’ and ‘The Terminator’ as it does to Kieslowski’s ‘Decalogue: 1’ and Polanski’s ‘Knife in the Water.’ There’s some early Michael Mann and John Carpenter peppered in there for good measure.”

Jeanie Finlay (“Orion: The Man Who Would Be King”)
“It’s very different but I thought a lot about ‘American Movie’ by Chris Smith. One man on a mission to follow his dream to make the great American movie. I gorged on films that go behind the spotlight — ‘The Nashville Sound’ (we use a clip in ‘Orion’), Bette Davis in ‘All About Eve,’ ‘A Star is Born,’ starring Barbara Streisand, ‘Slade in Flame,’ Change of Habit’ starring Elvis and the amazing David Essex and Michael Apted films — ‘That’ll Be The Day’ and ‘Stardust.'”
Melanie Shaw (“Shut Up and Drive”)
“Films from the ’30s and ’40s, screwball comedies, John Cassavetes films, the Golden Age of MGM, Bob Fosse, anything with Katherine Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart in it (obviously ‘The African Queen’ is like the weirdest romantic comedy there is), Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Scorsese and those Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney films.”

Ido Mizrahy (“Gored”)
“I have many favorite films and directors who changed my life. Steve McQueen’s ‘Hunger’ is one that comes to mind of the more recent ones. Doesn’t get more raw that that. Of the old ones I would say ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ is up there, as well as D.A. Pennebaker’s ‘The War Room’ and of course Albert Maysles’ ‘Salesman.'” 

Henry Hobson (“Maggie”)
“For ‘Maggie,’ it was ‘Days of Heaven’ and ’28 Days Later,’ but in general anything by Powell and Pressburger, any Ealing Comedy, the work of Steve McQueen, Tacita Dean and Jamie Thraves short films.”

Andrea Nevins (“Play it Forward”)
“For this film, we all took a page from ‘Cutie and the Boxer’ because we so loved watching the relationship between husband and wife Ushio and Noriko Shinohara unfold on screen. We also really loved Danfung Dennis’ ‘Hell and Back Again’ for its beautiful depiction, through both sound and images, of two different worlds that one individual can inhabit simultaneously.”
Hank Bedford (“Dixieland”)
“Too many to list but the ones that seem obvious to me are ‘Gummo,’ ‘Badlands,’ ‘The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie’ and ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ They all have an honesty and a poetry to them.”

Abigail Disney (“The Armor of Light”)
“A couple of years ago I saw ‘Bombay Beach’ at Tribeca and was so moved by it. It told a story without really telling a story. It was a deeply lyrical look at people whose lives were so different from my own without an ounce of the ‘anthropological’ gaze. It was extraordinary. Alex Gibney’s ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’ was amazing. It dug all the way into the horrid hypocrisy and predation of this hideous group of victimizers, but treasured the dignity of the victims, even lifted them up as positively beautiful beings all without a shred of exploitation. ‘The Invisible War’ did the same and did it with a class of people no one ever thinks about as victims, and whose unique suffering the world was clueless about before this film.”

Andy Schocken and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (“Song of Lahore”)
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: “The films that inspire me are the ones that reveal the resilience of the human spirit. ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ more recently ‘The Theory of Everything’…Growing up I loved ‘Gone with the Wind’ and the strong female characters it had.”

Andy Shocken: “I was sad to hear about Bruce Sinofsky passing away recently, as his film (along with Joe Berlinger) ‘Brother’s Keeper’ was one of my formative influences. ‘Brother’s Keeper’ and Alan Berliner’s ‘Intimate Stranger’ were the first documentaries that really captured my attention, and demonstrated how powerful nonfiction storytelling can be. And I still keep a VCR in good working condition so I can watch my old VHS dubs of Les Blank’s incredible work.”

Nick Sandow (“The Wannabe”)
“There were many films that inspired ‘The Wannabe.’ Our lead character was highly influenced by gangster films and we were trying to mess with the genre. I think the films that most directly influenced the film and my approach were: ‘Mafioso’ and ‘Mean Streets.’ ‘Mafioso’ for the comedic elements, and ‘Mean Streets’ for its raw honesty.”

Felix Thompson (“King Jack”)
“Two films I keep coming back to are the Dardenne Brother’s ‘The Son’ and Shane Meadows’ ‘This is England.’ There is something really raw and unadorned about the storytelling in both of those films. But my favorite film of all time is still ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off'”

Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (“In My Father’s House”)
“Many films inspire us — and while we don’t always agree or respond similarly to films, collectively we are inspired by films with strong characters and a sense of risk taking. Recently we were discussing how Alnert Maysles’ work and films inspired us -– especially ‘Grey Gardens.’ While the film is observational, you really feel that emotional connection, the intimate relationship between the characters and the camera. There is a sense of trust on screen that doesn’t make the viewer feel voyeuristic but instead a part of the scene. This sense of trust and mutual respect with our subjects is what we aspire to express in all of our films, no matter what the journey.”
David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall (“Thank You For Playing”)
“Too many to name – from Laura Poitras’ ‘Citizenfour’ to Abderrahmane Sissako’s ‘Timbuktu.’ We love Chris Marker and Leos Carax, and their work has inspired the film quite a bit.”

Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott  (“Requiem for the American Dream”)
“Films like ‘Undefeated’ inspire us to lead emboldened lives through the display of a high school team’s relentless courage to carry on – stories like ‘The Cove’ are affronts to our sense of what is humane and therefore demand action to change what is unjust – portraits like ‘Fog of War’ offer insight into intentions, an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and to think differently about our shared future – films like ‘Darwin’s Nightmare’ unpack the complicated and brutal realities behind globalization, and insist upon our taking responsibility for the impact actions have upon others… even those faceless and the voiceless, living on the other side of the world.”

Benni Diez (“Stung”)
“‘Aliens’ for its audacity back in the day. Still a mind-blowing experience I frequently watch. ‘The Lego Movie’ for its big heart and brilliance on every level. ‘Star Wars’ (IV-VI) for inspiring a generation of geeks to change the world. ‘Jaws’ because the shark didn’t work, and thus a classic was born. Smart sci-fi/horror/fantasy movies in general, because they can broaden our view on the world in a way that other genres can’t.”

Nick Beradini (“Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle”)
“I love films that treat audiences with sophistication, are full of depth and complication, and don’t patronize. I’m all in on the cinematic non-fiction  movement. I believe Joshua Oppenheimer is doing some of the most fascinating and profound work we’ve ever seen. I loved two recent Tribeca hits, Dan Krauss’ ‘The Kill Team’ and Jason Osder’s ‘Let the Fire Burn.’ One of my editors, Robert Greene, floored me with his fourth film, ‘Actress’ and I trust his voice implicitly.”

Diana Bell (“Bleeding Heart”)
“So many, I’d need to write a book to list them! In terms of inspiration for this particular film: movies by Claude Chabrol and Francois Ozon, Robert Altman’s ‘Three Sisters,’ ‘Drive’ and ‘Thelma and Louise.'”
Reed Morano (“Meadowland”)
“Paris, Texas,” “The Professional,” “Punch-Drunk-Love,” “Badlands,” “True Romance,” “The Passenger,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Contempt,” “The Shining,” “A Woman Under the Influence” and “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”

Stephen Fingleton (“The Survivalist”)
“The filmmakers that got me into filmmaking were Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis — then Alfred Hitchcock when I was old enough. As I’ve got older, my tastes have got more political but their visual taste remains a huge inspiration. A recent film I loved was ‘Under the Skin’ — it was so utterly singular and brave. I loved the way it depicted society from the perspective of a complete outside and invited the audience to interpret things rather than spelling them out. That was something I wanted to do with ‘The Survivalist.'”

Paz Fábrega (“Viaje”)
“Some very important films for me, because of the films themselves, but also because of the time in my life when I watched them, are ‘Paris, Texas’ (Wim Wenders), ‘Badlands’ (Terrence Malick), ‘Five Easy Pieces’ (Bob Rafaelson), ‘Ratcatcher’ (Lynne Ramsay) and ‘Mulholland Drive’ (David Lynch). All of Antonioni’s films, but specially ‘Il Grido’  More recently, ‘La Niña Santa’ (Lucrecia Martel), ‘A Separation’ (Asghar Farhadi) and ‘Boyhood’ (Richard Linklater).”

Andrew Jenks (“dream/killer”)
“In the days leading up to our first day of filming, I had our small crew of three watch ‘Capote’ and ‘The Thin Blue Line,’ and listen to the soundtrack of ‘The Assassination of Jesse James.’ I wanted that ‘Jesse James’ soundtrack playing in our minds while shooting. I wanted the visuals of ‘Capote’ in our minds when filming. And I wanted us to have the ambition to do what ‘The Thin Blue Line’ did, which was make a film that gets a man out of prison, and exposes a flawed system.”

Gregory Kohn (“Come Down Molly”)
“I’ve been inspired by so many films that at this point it’s hard to tell where inspiration even comes from. It’s all become so muddied. I can tell you some of my favorite filmmakers are Eric Rohmer, Hal Ashby and currently Joachim Trier and Mia Hansen-Love. But I’m equally as inspired by actors like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emma Thompson and or our own Eléonore Hendricks.”

Amy Kohn (“A Courtship”)
“Two films that I really have enjoyed are ‘Amour’ and ‘Love is Strange.’ Both are intimate portrayals of relationships and the thorniness and beauty of love. Though they are fiction films both had a rawness which made them feel very real. The themes in these films really resonated with me.”

Chris Bell (“Prescription Thugs”)
“I watch ‘Rocky’ about once a month to keep me fired up about life.”

READ MORE: Watch: Vincent Piazza, Michael Imperioli and Nick Sandow Talk Tribeca Film ‘The Wannabe’

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