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The Biggest Challenges the AFI FEST 2015 Filmmakers Faced

The Biggest Challenges the AFI FEST 2015 Filmmakers Faced

READ MORE: Attention, First-Time Filmmakers: Here’s the Best Advice from the 2015 AFI FEST Filmmakers

The 2015 AFI FEST runs from November 5-12. In advance of the festival, Indiewire sent a questionnaire to the filmmakers with films at AFI FEST asking them a variety of questions, including, “What was the biggest challenge in completing this project?” Below we’ve highlighted an assortment of responses.

“The film was made all by me and my wife, who is the producer, actress and production designer. We did the cinematography and sound together, I edited and also did the color correction. From the beginning till the end, we did everything. That was pretty hard.” – Guto Parente, “The Mysterious Death of Pérola”

“After about five months of edit, we had a 90-minute rough cut, but the overall story lacked emotional reversals and dynamic shifts. Then, out of nowhere, Paraguay was devastated by the largest flood in over 20 years. Nearly 300,000 people were displaced, and many members of the orchestra were flooded out of their homes. With delivery deadlines looming, we made a very difficult — and risky — decision to open up production again and film the events surrounding the flood.” – Brad Allgood, “Landfill Harmonic”
“This is a very personal project to me. It came about after my mother died and for me represented a kind of mourning. I took seven years to write it and when I was shooting, to see all those scenes which represents my life in some way, was so heavy for me.” – César Acevedo, “Land and Shade”

“Shooting time. The film was shot in ten days. Half of the funding came from a South Korean festival (Jeonju) on the basis that we could finish the film on a certain date. And because production got a late start, in the end we had to shoot in ten days in order to meet the post-production timetable. The shooting ended on February 13th and the film was completed by April. 15-hour a day working days were hard to cope with at first, but in the end they got us into a frenzy that can be felt in the film.” – Benjamin Naishtat, “El Movimiento”

“We shot this one with an ever-changing outline and at points I remember lying on my editor’s floor, feeling like there was no story and that the project was a doomed affair. Stephen Gurewitz was not only the editor but also my shrink; he helped me through what he refers to as ‘the k-hole of the edit.'” – Nathan Silver, “Stinking Heaven”
“We had to get really creative with what resources we had. I’m pretty sure I’ve run out of favors to call in after this one. But that’s the story of every production. There’s never enough time or money no matter what level you’re working at. The other thing would just be working out the logistics of shooting five interweaving storylines, where you’ve got crossover locations, but different DPs and actors that need to be scheduled, and sometimes two directors for crossover story points. It all worked pretty smoothly, but inherently, you end up shooting days and nights every single week, rather than trying to keep all your nights grouped together. So our sleep schedules were always fucked up no matter what we did.” – Roxanne Benjamin, “Southbound”

“One of the biggest challenges on this project was always making sure that each decision kept the film alive and real. Whether it was a shot, an editing decision, a character’s blocking, etc. — we always strove to maintain the highest level of realism. It was a question we always asked ourselves — is this moment alive and human?” – Logan Sandler, “Tracks”

“The budget (big thanks to the main producer, Ada Solomon, who struggled to get the film done). My lack of talent. The lack of time. Dealing with the horses and other livestock.” – Radu Jude, “Aferim!”

“Nothing was easy in this project. Every scene, every set, every performance, every camera angle was extremely demanding. It’s a miracle that the film exists.” – Ciro Guerra, “Embrace of the Serpent”

“We didn’t work with a traditional script, just an outline. The biggest challenge for me was remaining true to the original concept and overcoming the pressure to create any sort of traditional narrative with the edit.” – Zia Anger, “I Remember Nothing”

“So the film is set over the course of one long weekend in Palm Springs. During our shoot, it was 110 degrees out. We constantly had to keep changing our shirts and socks because they’d just sweat right through. I think every crew member had at least one moment where they thought they might pass out.” – Michael Mohan, “Pink Grapefruit”

“Getting it made on the budget we had while enduring the 115 degree heat everyday. Never shoot a movie in August in a place called DEATH VALLEY. So many hospital trips!” – Celia Rowlson-Hall, “MA”

“Fighting with the Icelandic winter. The second part of the film is set in the winter. We tried to shoot the winter part in November. In the beginning of November, when we started, there was a lot of snow in the valley and everything looked fabulous. But then it stared to rain and all the snow disappeared. We had to postpone the shooting and send everyone home, which costed some money of course. We had to come back in January and finish the film. We had a lot of continuity problems with the snow that we had to fix in post-production. In the end everything went well.” – Grimur Hakonarson, “RAMS”

“Filming with Afghan refugees from the Helmand province and professional Danish soldiers was a huge challenge. But the biggest challenge was to connect our ending in a cold and claustrophobic court room with our opening in the burning, dangerous and wide landscapes of Afghanistan.” – Tobias Lindholm, “A War”

“On ‘Funny Bunny’ the production budget was so low ($60,000) for a relatively ambitious script, that everything was hard. Feeding people, housing them. Most people worked for free or next to nothing. It’s all hard, but it frankly didn’t feel hard because it was pretty fun and very creative. The great thing about doing comedy is that you laugh while you’re writing it, you laugh while you’re shooting, and you laugh in the editing room. It doesn’t feel like work and it doesn’t feel hard.” – Alison Bagnall, “Funny Bunny”

READ MORE: From ‘Blue Velvet’ to ‘The Virgin Suicides’: Here are the Films that Inspired the 2015 AFI FEST Filmmakers

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