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NEXT FEST: 7 Questions with Michael Larnell, Director of ‘Cronies’

NEXT FEST: 7 Questions with Michael Larnell, Director of 'Cronies'

With its evocative black-and-white cinematography, “Cronies” is a story about friendship, jealousy, and the difficulties some men have expressing such profound feelings. Michael Larnell‘s debut feature premiered in Park City back in January as part of the NEXT section – a  part of the Sundance Film Festival program reserved for films with the most singular premises and that showcase innovative execution.

Cronies” will have its L.A. premiere on Sunday August 9th during NEXT FEST. The special screening with be followed by a conversation with Robert Townsend.

For more information and tickets to NEXT FEST visit HERE

Here are our 7 questions with filmmaker Michael Larnell 

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?

Michael Larnell: I enjoy developing the characters first.  Creating their backstory and think of
them as real people.  Get to know
their emotions, humor and feelings. It makes it easier to determine how the
character reacts to situations.

As a filmmaker working in the digital age, what are some of
the major challenges you have experienced that you think filmmakers before
didn’t have to confront?

Michael Larnell: I’m not sure.  I
think filmmakers of every generation faced major challenges.  For example, filmmakers in the 15+
years ago didn’t have the option of the internet to show their film, but the
downside today is we’re all bombarded with a lot of information and
entertainment options online, it distracts people from watching a film for 90+
minutes.

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?

Michael Larnell: I don’t think its the ultimate goal, but it is a major
goal.  Watching a film on the big
screen with an audience is the best viewing experience, for sure, but the
ultimate goal is to always make another film!

What do you think the role of festivals like Sundance in
Park City or NEXT FEST is in terms helping filmmakers reach their audience?

Michael Larnell: Sundance gets people into the theater to watch a movie they
feel should be watched in theaters, but normally may not.  Again, the best way to view a film is
in a room filled with people.  The
energy is special.

What do you think is a crucial quality filmmakers must
have today to survive all the obstacles and get their films made and seen?

Michael Larnell: Patience, Persistence and Positivity.

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?

Michael Larnell: I think its great. Once again, its great to get people into
a theater.

What are some films that you’ve loved this year so far or
that you are excited to see when they come out? Why?

Michael Larnell: I really enjoyed “Mad Max: Fury Road.”  It was an interesting ride.  Cool to experience. 
I want to see “Wild Tales.” I just came across it, so I’ll be checking it
out really soon.  I read great
things about it.  Also, “Straight Outta
Compton.”  I really like F. Gary
Gray as a director and its a Hip Hop biopic. I wish it were more of those
made. 

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