By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire March 21, 2011 at 4:14AM
With the 40th edition of the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of the Lincoln Center's New Directors/New Films festival launching this Wednesday, March 23, indieWIRE is releasing its first slate of ND/NF filmmaker interviews, as part of the 'Meet the 2011 ND/NF Filmmakers' series that spotlights directors invited to screen their films at the New York-based event.
Today's first crop include JC Chandor, whose "Margin Call" serves as the opening night film, Natalia Almada's "El Velador," Rebecca Zlotwoski's "Belle Epine" and Matthew Bate's "Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure."
The 2011 ND/NF runs March 23 - April 3. Click here for the full ND/NF lineup.
A snapshot of Monday's four filmmaker interviews:
JC Chandor's star-studded "Margin Call" follows the key players at an investment firm in 2008 during a nerve shredding 24-period when the financial crisis began to hit. "I wrote this film during the fall of 2008, literally during the heart of the economic crisis," Chandor told indieWIRE. "At the time, it wasn’t known exactly to what extent the responsibility for the crisis would lay at the feet of investment bankers, but I saw these characters providing a very interesting window into the mindset that to a certain extent had influenced our entire country. As it turned out, over the next two years we have learned that these very characters lay at the absolute heart of the crisis and the film has taken on some different baggage because of that."
A cemetery in the drug heartland of Mexico takes center stage in Natalia Almada's "El Velador." In this quiet, observational film, Almada spotlights the lives of the cemetary workers and the families of the deceased. "I wanted to make a film that stood in opposition to the sensational depiction of violence that we see in most media," Almada said. "I wanted to make a beautiful, contemplative film that would allow us to look at violence differently by putting us in the middle of it – at the moments when violence has happened and when violence is immanent."
In Rebecca Zlotowski's "Bell Epine," Léa Seydoux plays Prudence, a 16-year old coming to grips with the sudden death of her mother. "The origin of “Belle Epine” is a bit literary: I found a diary on the street near my place in Paris," Zlotowski revealed to indieWIRE. "The girl in the diary was 15-years-old in the 1980’s and was reporting one year of her life. It was the starting point of “Belle Epine.” Then I cast Lea Seydoux for the lead role. I didn’t write for her, but instead only met her. It was a way to establish a pact of mutual responsibility between one another."
The documentary "Shut Up Little Man!" from director Matthew Bate uses the recordings a pair of roommates made of their bickering neighbors to provide an expose on the accidental nature of art. "'Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure' is my first feature film, and the material offered itself perfectly to this style of filmmaking but pushed beyond where I had been before," Bate said. "We built elaborate sets, spent months animating the collected data, finding archival films, traveling across the U.S. filming interviews and some observational documentary footage. I think the final films ends up being an interesting mash of styles that plays with the themes, celebrating a pop-culture aesthetic while also questioning it."
The full-length interviews follow for Monday (3/21):