Native New Yorker Lou Howe brings "Gabriel" to Tribeca, a dramatic feature debut that has been in the works for years. He got his start in fiction writing and has been writing and directing TV movies and shorts. He also served as the first assistant editor for 2008's documentary "The Windmill Movie."
Tell us about yourself: I was born and raised in New York City, and grew up writing, mostly short stories and one-act plays. I discovered filmmaking as a freshman in college and ended up majoring in it. After school, I moved back to New York and worked all over the independent film world, from PA’ing on music videos to editing documentaries to assisting a producer. I moved out to Los Angeles to go to film school about five years ago to focus on writing and directing my own work. I still live here with my wife and daughter. Most of my work is as a writer-for-hire, but I’ve been developing "Gabriel" for years.
Biggest challenge in completing this project? We faced all the usual suspects, like not having enough time or money. The weather was also not our friend. We shot in NYC and Long Island last February and March, and a storm caused us to change our schedule so that we shot the emotional climax of the movie with about an hour’s notice. That was scary. Plus California has thinned my blood so I was freezing the whole time. Personally though, I find the biggest challenge in filmmaking is always authenticity. Creating a world and characters that feel real and can support a truthful story is an incredibly difficult thing. I feel really proud of "Gabriel" in that way.
Did you crowdfund? We didn’t. We were lucky enough to find a group of investors that really believed in the project.
What camera did you shoot on? Arri Alexa
Did you go to film school? I went to AFI for directing.
What films have inspired you? Too many to name in general. But for this film, Mike Leigh’s "Naked" was a big touchstone. Plus American character studies from the 70’s like "The Gambler" and "Straight Time," and some Bob Rafelson and Hal Ashby films. I think the work of Lisandro Alonso really influenced me also. He’s an Argentine filmmaker who makes these mysterious and perfect little quest movies. Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, the list goes on.
What's in the works? I’m writing a coming-of-age thriller set in the woods and developing a few other projects, including a TV show.
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 2014 festival. Go HERE to read all the entries.