Directing duo Bryan Carberry & J. Clay Tweel are two rising talents in the documentary realm who
made a splash at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival with a film that defies reality and proves fiction is always outdone by the madness of life.
“Finders Keepers” follows the
surreal true story that unfolded when in 2007 a man discovered a severed leg inside a used
grill he bought at an auction. It all becomes more incredibly insane when the
limb’s owner surfaces.
The L.A. premiere of “Finders Keepers” will take place on Saturday August 8th
as part of Sundance NEXT FEST. The screening will be followed by a conversation
with the filmmakers, one of the film’s subjects, and Thomas Middleditch. The Q&A will be
moderated by actress Aubrey Plaza.
For more information and tickets to NEXT FEST visit HERE
Here are our 7 questions with filmmakers Bryan Carberry & J. Clay Tweel
Films that play in NEXT FEST are characterized by their wildly
inventive approach to storytelling. What would you say is your personal
approach to storytelling?
Carberry/ Tweel: We’ve always been firm believers that
limitations breed creativity. In
telling Finders Keepers’ story we had plenty of limitations — notably the fact
we were trying to cover seven years of story in 80-some minutes from just a few
weeks of filming. These
restrictions forced us to focus our narrative onto the basic moments that most
effected our subject’s lives.
Letting their personal perspectives drive the story — centering on
their goals, fears, hopes — ultimately led the narrative to emerge
As a filmmaker working in the digital age,
what are some of the major challenges you have experienced that you think
filmmakers before you didn’t have to confront?
Carberry/ Tweel: In film in general, and particularly
documentaries, we think it’s hard to complain about working in the digital age
— the incredibly low cost of shooting digital stands out as a big plus. One byproduct we had to deal with,
however, was arriving at an hour-and-a-half film from 200 hours of footage —
which by today’s standard is considered mild. Documentary filmmakers before had to be more prudent with
their film stock and the special moments they captured; with our film, we had
trouble not filming the entirety of our subject making a sandwich or walking to
Do you think theatrical distribution is still
the ultimate goal for filmmakers today? After all, cinema was meant to be
experience on the big screen right?
Carberry/ Tweel: While cinema is currently taking many routes
and is constantly evolving, and we can’t speak for all filmmakers, we can’t
imagine many films that aren’t better when viewed on a thirty-foot screen with
surround sound, in the dark, surrounded by your peers.
What do you think the role of festivals like
Sundance in Park City or NEXT FEST is in terms helping filmmakers reach
Carberry/ Tweel: While it’s sad to think about the number of
great films that don’t make the cut each year, those that do are catapulted
into a very bright spotlight, for better or worse. This alone was something fantastic for a doc like ours that
was started on a grainy handicam, ended up on its deathbed multiple times, and
that more than once we considered would never be seen by anyone. Additionally for a documentary like
ours — which doesn’t center on politics or social issues, but a fight over a
dude’s leg — having Sundance’s seal of approval gave us a certain, much-needed
degree of validation.
What do you think is a crucial quality
filmmakers must have today to survive all the obstacles and get their films
made and seen?
Carberry/ Tweel: The widespread ease of access to production
and post-production equipment has certainly increased an already-competitive
field. We think the filmmakers who
can emerge from that over-saturation need a certain amount of persistence,
adaptability, naivety (or perhaps just delusion), not to mention the
ever-under-valued knowledge of story.
What are your thoughts on the musical act or
speaker that will accompany your film? How do you think this extra feature will
enhance the audience’s experience?
Carberry/ Tweel: We think it’s great to be combining such hip,
talented scripted actors with our janky little documentary — which should provide
more than a few fresh insights.
And we’re particularly looking forward to having these hilarious
improv-pros on stage with us… we suspect their training will be needed to
keep up with our film’s subject, the show-stealing, amateur-comic, backwoods-standup
What are some films that you’ve loved this
year so far or that you are excited to see when they come out? Why?
Bryan Carberry: As a huge Noah Baumbach fan, I can’t wait for
“Mistress America.” My favorite
movie of the year so far was “Seven Chinese Brothers” — I laughed out loud for
most of the movie, despite its having a heartfelt, organic and surprisingly
un-formulaic story, not to mention indies “Tangerine,” “Stanford Prison
Experiment,” and the “Final Girls” (also with Mr. Middleditch), which all pushed
the boundaries of genre in their own ways.
Clay Tweel:“Cartel Land” blew my mind with its
groundbreaking access and shooting style, and the twist and turns of the
characters involved were straight out of a scripted film. “Ex-Machina,” like all good sci fi,
tackled very philosophical issues about the human condition but in an
interesting and new way. Also
since I’ve been obsessed with the concept of singularity for years and I love
watching stories that explore its potential effects.