What it's about: "Hide Your Smiling Faces" is an atmospheric exploration of life and death in rural America, as seen through the distorted lens of youth.
About the filmmaker: I was born in the northwestern corner of New Jersey, where "Hide Your Smiling Faces" takes place. I’ve wanted to make films for as long as I can remember, spending all my free time running around the streets and woods around my house with a few of my friends and a camera. I moved to New York City ten years ago for college and I’ve worked as everything from a wedding videographer to DVD-duplicator along the road to finally getting my first feature made. Late last year I returned from the Middle East, where I lived for three years teaching film and photography at a university. I’m now happily back in Brooklyn.
What else do you want audiences to know about your film? The film provides a window into the world of male adolescence. To me, it’s about navigating challenging human emotions and relationships for the first time and how no response is necessarily “right” or “wrong.” It’s also a film about just being young and how scary, mysterious, and incredible that can be. The story, and the landscape surrounding it, is revealed strictly from the perspective of these boys. This is the way I remember that period in my life and it’s the way I wanted the audience to experience the movie. The young cast, primarily first-timers, dove headfirst into this world and are absolutely the soul of the film.
Did any specific films inspire you? Lynne Ramsay ("Ratcatcher"), David Gordon Green ("George Washington"), Kelly Reichardt ("Old Joy"), Harmony Korine ("Gummo"), Terrence Malick ("Days of Heaven"), Elem Klimov ("Come and See"), Andrei Tarkovsky ("Ivan’s Childhood," "Stalker") among many others. These are first features from directors I look up to, powerful films about children, or often both. Others are simply films I’ll never be able to forget. When I was very young I watched "Stand By Me" with my mom. That had a pretty big subconscious impact on me, which is probably obvious to anyone who has seen "Hide Your Smiling Faces."
What do you have in the works? I have a small production company, Flies Collective, with Matt Petock and Zach Shedd, two of the producers on this film. Constant collaboration and rotating roles from project to project allows us create stronger work than we could alone. We are currently raising funds for our third feature film, which will go into production later this year. I’m in postproduction on "Phantom Cowboys," a feature-length documentary that I co-directed and shot that I’m very excited about. I’m also working on a treatment for what will be my second narrative feature, which I hope to shoot early next year.
Indiewire invited Tribeca 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
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.