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LAFF | Exorcising Exes: “Harmony and Me” Director Bob Byington

LAFF | Exorcising Exes: "Harmony and Me" Director Bob Byington

Break-ups are never easy, especially when your ex-girlfriend already checked out several months before the official end. Twentysomething Harmony, however, just can’t seem to drop his torch for the departed Jessica even as his motley crew of friends, his gleefully odd family, and his obnoxious boss repeatedly remind him that he isn’t the only one with issues. [Description courtesy of LAFF]

“Harmony & Me”
Narrative Competition
Directed By: Bob Byington
Executive Producers: Anish Savjani, Stuart Bohart
Producer: Kristen Tucker
Screenwriter: Bob Byington
Cinematographer: Jim Eastburn
Editor: Frank Ross, Jacob Vaughan
Cast: Justin Rice, Kevin Corrigan, Pat Healy, Kristen Tucker
Music: Justin Rice, Bob Schneider
U.S.A., 2009, 75 mins

[EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling International Spotlight and dramatic and documentary competition directors who have films screening at the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival.]

What initially attracted you to filmmaking and how has that evolved since starting out?

Like a lot of filmmakers I saw movies I liked and gradually began to understand that there was an intelligence behind them, and I was drawn to that. I didn’t know that filmmaking was fraught with peril. When my first film came out and nobody cared, it was like finding out there was no Santa Claus. 

How did the idea for your film come about and what excited you to undertake the project?

I’d had a bad breakup and it had seemed like the girl in question had put a microchip in my head, where every experience I had was involuntarily processed through a filter that involved my still being with her. The movie was meant to be an exorcism, but it was a failure in that regard. 

How did you approach making the film, and were there any pivotal moments of learning during the life of the project for you?

I had written the lead for indie rocker Justin Rice (Bishop Allen), and I felt that if we could get him to Austin, we’d be OK. Also, we had support from a lot of intelligent people. The first two days of the shoot were not good, but on the third day, Justin sat down at my friend Rebecca’s kitchen table and talked to her on the telephone, and we started getting usable material. 

What were some of the biggest challenges in making the film?

I’m not always nice, and kind, but they say you get the most flies with honey, so I made an effort to be polite to the crew. That was a gigantic challenge –it’s just not how I’m predisposed, but it’s more efficient, being nice. 

Are there any interesting anecdotes from the shoot?

A lot of times the crew would go out after the shoot day, but I didn’t go, because it was no longer permissible for me to tell them what to do. Apparently some interesting things happened, odd pairings, etc. It’s a lot like camp apparently. 

What other projects are you looking to do?

My next film is called “Seven Chinese Brothers,” and we are slated to shoot later this year.  

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