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Get to Know 11 AFI Fest Filmmakers In Their Own Words

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire November 1, 2012 at 12:1PM

As has been the case for several years now, Indiewire is the best place to get to know AFI Fest filmmakers ahead of the annual event, which runs Nov. 1-8 this year. Over the past few days, we've been posting 2012 filmmaker profiles leading up to the launch tonight in Los Angeles with the official world premiere of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Dree Hemingway in Sean Baker's "Starlet."

As has been the case for several years now, Indiewire is the best place to get to know AFI Fest filmmakers ahead of the annual event, which runs Nov. 1-8 this year. Over the past few days, we've been posting 2012 filmmaker profiles leading up to the launch tonight in Los Angeles with the official world premiere of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

READ MORE: 10 Films to Watch at AFI FEST

Indiewire invited directors with films in the AFI Fest's Breakthrough, New Auteurs and Young Americans sections to take part by submitting responses to a series of questions. Check out, and click through, the profiles below:

#1. Mike Ott, "Pearblosson Hwy"
"I think the most difficult part was shooting in San Francisco. Before we went out to the Bay Area, we were in the quaintness of the desert, where we had almost complete control over the environment. When shooting in the city, we suddenly had to deal with cars, crowds and crack heads."

#2. Bob Byington, "Somebody Up There Likes Me"
"My favorite films I tend to not even notice I had to go to the bathroom till it's over. I would like people who have to go to the bathroom during our film to wait and stay through the entire film, putting themselves and those around them in peril."

#3. Antonio Mendez Esparza, "Aqui y Alla"
"It was a beautiful project, but also an extremely tough and demanding one. There were many challenges, but all of them were part of the project, like being part of the community we were gonna film in, trying to capture 'reality' more than to 'recreate' it. Having the trust of the actors was a key challenge, but once they were on, which was early on, it was there for the rest of the film."

#4. Nony Geffen, "Not In Tel Aviv"
"I was born and raised in a distant, horribly boring village in Israel, with no cable TV and no Internet connection, surrounded by a whole lot of nothingness. I had plenty of time to devote to my imagination. A year ago, I shut myself in a room for a week and wrote the screenplay for 'Not In Tel Aviv,' forgoing food or rest."

#5. Zach Weintraub, "The International Sign for Choking"
"I'm definitely more of a questions filmmaker than an answers one. I guess that me making movies is like a really complicated, expensive version of Yahoo! Answers -- 'I'm experiencing increased loneliness and dissatisfaction, and my interpersonal relations are suffering as well. Anyone know what my deal is?!'"

#6. Gabriela Pichler, "Eat Sleep Die"
"I wanted to tell the story about the people I always loved but was ashamed to be a part of. I wanted to make Rasa a 'Rocky Balboa' kind of character in the Swedish countryside. Not fighting in the ring, but against unemployment and society's bureaucracy."

#7. Sean Baker, "Starlet"
"I want my audience to either love or hate my film. Indifference toward it would mean that I didn't do my job. But I am also hoping that audiences will be as taken by my cast as I am."

#8. Maja Milos, "Clip"
"The whole crew faced a big challenge of making a film that should look like a documentary, because the most important thing for me was to make an authentic, realistic and honest film."

#9. Joel Potrykus, "APE"
"There are very few challenges when you raise the money by returning empty beer bottles and pop cans. You don't have to answer to anyone. Especially if you don't ask permission to film."

#10. Rebecca Thomas, "Electrick Children"
"I took a break from studying film at Brigham Young University to serve a Mormon mission in Japan. I went on to pursue my MFA at Columbia University. I like anime and Scrabble."

#11. Elizabeth Mims, "Only the Young"
"We shot the film completely on tripod so that our audiences would be able to focus on the moments they're watching rather than be distracted by the filmmakers."

This article is related to: Meet the 2012 AFI Filmmakers, AFI Fest, Starlet, Electrick Children, Clip, Eat Sleep Die, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Aquí y Allá