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Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #24: Josh Greenbaum On 'The Short Game,' A Golf Film That's Not About Golf

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire March 4, 2013 at 9:35AM

Emmy award winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum is the man behind "The Short Game." Originally from upstate NY, he now resides in California. He has written and directed for some major companies including Paramount, Comedy Central, Fox, Funny or Die and CBS. Most recently, he directed a short film for the Clinton Foundation that starred Matt Damon, Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Bill Clinton, and Kristen Wiig. He is a graduate of Cornell and Oxford Universities, and also received his MFA in film from the graduate program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He is married with two 8 month-old identical twin girls, named Zoe and Maizy (named after the characters in John Hughes film "Uncle Buck").
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Josh Greenbaum
Emmy award winning filmmaker Josh Greenbaum is the man behind "The Short Game." Originally from upstate NY, he now resides in California. He has written and directed for some major companies including Paramount, Comedy Central, Fox, Funny or Die and CBS. Most recently, he directed a short film for the Clinton Foundation that starred Matt Damon, Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Bill Clinton, and Kristen Wiig. He is a graduate of Cornell and Oxford Universities, and also received his MFA in film from the graduate program at USC's School of Cinematic Arts. He is married with two 8 month-old identical twin girls, named Zoe and Maizy (named after the characters in John Hughes film "Uncle Buck").

What it's about:

"The Short Game" follows the the best 7-year old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf."

What he wants audiences to know: "First off, the film is not about golf. While I respect the sport, and am in awe of its great difficulty, I am not a golf enthusiast. I am however, a kid enthusiast, and love the magical age of 6 and 7, where the world is full of possibility and wonder. And I love how kids can be both incredibly naive and incredibly wise at the same time. This film is not about golf, its about life and the human condition, as told through the lens of one of the world's oldest sports, being played by the youngest."

The challenges: "As with any project, there were lots of problems in the development of this. One was casting. There were tons of kids to choose from, and so many were cute, funny, and talented -a winning combination- that it made it difficult to decide who to follow. Beyond that, some of the kids and their families were not native English speakers, so I had to direct via a translator, which I'd never done before, and don't recommend. Lastly, the sheer amount of travel involved in the project was difficult, especially since I was traveling just as my twin girls were being born. I made it back from shooting in South Africa and my twin girls were born less than 24 hours later."

"The Short Game" Still

On films that inspired him:
"I am always inspired by lots of films. But chief among them for this film, in no particular order: I was inspired by Spellbound, Racing Dreams, Best in Show, and Ferris Buellers Day Off- which I've seen so many times it will forever influence me."

What's next: "I am currently in the middle of production on a 10 episode docu-series for Hulu that I am directing called Behind The Mask that follows the lives of 4 sports mascots, both inside and outside of the suit. It will premiere late Summer 2013. I am also attached to direct a feature narrative film that we are in the middle of casting, as well as several other projects that are in the works. And as always, I am writing, not writing, and feeling guilty about not writing, all at the same time."

Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival 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 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers, The Short Game, Josh Greenbaum