Good news came for Matthew Gordon’s “The Dynamiter,” up for the Spirits Awards’ John Cassavettes Best First Feature honor; just last week the film got picked up by Film Movement for distribution in the second quarter of 2012.
Variety calls the film a low-key cousin to the likes of “Ballast” and “Shotgun Stories”; that’s good company. Gordon, the oldest of three children from a Maryland family that broke up when he was young, says, “I was always trying to make sense of loss and sadness and the role of dreams. I guess thats what I am trying to do in making films.”
What’s it about? A 15 year old boy doing his best to protect his younger brother and achieve his dream to reunite his family. In the end, he is forced to make tough decisions when he accepts that his dreams are not possible to realize.
Director Gordon says: “The film was made with all local people and non-actors from the area around where the film was shot in the Mississippi Delta. It was a real work of teamwork and community spirit and talent.
“The single biggest challenge I had was to believe in myself and the story enough to risk making the film. Just getting over the question- can I/we really do this? The team really lifted the project forward. Then, of course, money is a very big challenge too.
“While making this movie, I was inspired very much by “The 400 Blows” of Truffaut. We would watch it over and over to see how natural the acting and emotions of the lead character felt, and try to figure out how they created such a powerful film.
“Cassavettes was one of my first great loves as a filmmaker, especially “Woman under the Influence.” I cannot express what an honor it is for our film to be nominated. I still feel like its not real. Maybe it will really set in at the ceremony.
What’s next? “Right now trying to read as many scripts from other writers as possible while writing two different scripts with co-writers. I wish I could head out there today and start making another film but for now job one is being with my wife and trying to find a safe home for our film.”
Indiewire invited Best First Feature and John Cassavettes 2012 Spirit Award Nominees 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 awards ceremony on February 25.
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