"Pearblossom Hwy," says director Mike Ott (whose 2010 feature "Littlerock" won the Audience Award at that year's edition of the festival), "has a mixture of fiction and nonfiction elements." A partial result, perhaps, of his self-described mild obsession with Mark Bochardt. "Pearblossom Hwy," tells the tale of "two friends who go on a road-trip to San Francisco (kind of)." The film's mysterious trailer, though, contains more Japanese than English, and seems to center on the relationship between a prostitute and her client. That, we are led to guess, might account for the "kind of."
What were some of the toughest challenges you faced in bringing this project to fruition? "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."
What should audiences hope to take from this film? "A moment that speaks to them, something that they find themselves thinking about days after the screening."
On far-flung inspiration: "I drew a lot from the French New Wave, like Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel series and Godard’s Masculin Feminin. It was also inspired by films like Kiarostami’s Close Up."
What should we look for next? "I’m developing another film that takes place out in the desert to complete my Antelope Valley trilogy. This one has to do with the militia movement in the U.S.-- it will have a few crossover characters from my past films."
Indiewire invited AFI competition directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival. Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.