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Meet 28 SXSW Filmmakers: A Round-Up

Meet 28 SXSW Filmmakers: A Round-Up

The SXSW Film Festival starts this week and we’re giving you the opportunity to hear from 28 of the filmmakers showing their work this year. 

Click through below for profiles on all the directors and their films:

Ciaran Foy, “Citadel”

“The biggest challenges were; 1) Writing it. The development, writing and re-writing took the guts of five years. With each new possible financier came new sets of changes – writing and re-writing took a lot out of me emotionally, as I had to dig deep into some recent, painful memories and bathe my mind in some pretty grim scenarios.” -Ciaran Foy

Martha Stephens, “Pilgrim Song”

“I’m very intrigued by the human condition and the wrestling people do to find happiness, salvation, and spiritual gratification. Typically, I write films based on familiar places, faces, and situations: common impasses that folks from my neck of the woods are dealt. Most importantly, I love to write with a sense of place.” -Martha Stephens

Avi Zev Weider, “Welcome to the Machine”

“Ultimately, what I continue to find really fascinating is that the force that shaped the creation of the smartphone in my pocket is the very same one that can make people kill each other and is also the same force that may very well allow my children to live forever.” -Avi Zev Weider

 Annie Eastman, “Bay of All Saints”

“I really hope people are as impressed with the film’s characters as I have been all these years—and I hope that affects their view of people living in squatter settlements.” -Annie Eastman

Ya’Ke Smith, “Wolf”

“Writing this film was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I’m not one to shy away from hot topics, but this one is such a sensitive, and very timely issue that I wanted to make sure that I approached it with grace, not judgment.” -Ya’Ke Smith

Matthew A. Cherry, “The Last Fall”

“I want people to know that it comes from a real place. I am a former player (I played 3 years) and that not every athlete is a millionaire. We struggle with family and life just like everyone. It’s a job like anything else. I grew up playing sports my whole life but I always knew that I wanted to work in the entertainment industry in some capacity.” -Matthew A. Cherry

 Jay Bulger, “Beware of Mr. Baker”

“Ginger Baker is one of the most prolific and misunderstood artists of the last century. I’m just lucky to have found him and be presenting what I believe to be one of the greatest lives and musical adventures ever told.” -Jay Bulger

Kahlil Hudson, “Low & Clear”

“One of the biggest challenges was providing just enough technical information to give non-fisherman enough context to understand the conflicts that arise over fishing ideologies without dumbing down the language. The production itself was physically challenging as well, with days spent wading waist deep in the sub-freezing waters of British Columbia’s steelhead rivers.” -Kahlil Hudson

Debbie Lum, “Seeking Asian Female”

“This is a real life story about two people with questionable motives who are thrown into a crazy situation — but above all, I really wanted to show both the humor and the human side of the story. ‘Yellow fever’ (Western male obsession for Asian women) is a really polarizing issue in the Asian American community, and probably pisses off a lot of women as well.” -Debbie Lum

Wu Tsang, “Wildness”

“”Wildness” became a film because I was throwing a party that got politicized when our safe space was threatened by its growing popularity. I felt an urgent need to communicate my ideas, while still remaining true to the wild energy and spirit of the party.” -Wu Tsang

Silas Howard & Ernesto Foronda, “Sunset Stories”

“In our past work, both of us have focused on showing lives often ‘othered’ in film and recasting them in stories where they are front and center – the hero rather than the sidekick. They function as fully realized characters, imperfect and fallible, but not serving a lesser purpose most ‘othered’ characters often do.” -Silas Howard & Ernesto Foronda

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, “Intruders”

“I’ve always been attracted to how fears are created and to be able to explore the origins of fear was something that appealed to me very much. To uncover those fears, to understand why the truth has to be revealed even though it’s something we don’t want to face.” -Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Caveh Zahedi, “The Sheik and I”

“My biggest challenge, and one that I have not faced before, was navigating the moral and legal challenges of making a film critical of an authoritarian regime that had the power to arbitrarily punish the people who appear in the film.” -Caveh Zahedi

Nir Paniry, “Extracted”

“We made sure that the attention to our characters and their relationships with each other, and the way they solve the insurmountable, made you forget that you were watching a genre film” -Nir Paniry

Johanna Goldstein, Producer of “Just Like Being There”

“I had no idea what we would discover when we set out to explore this world, but we certainly saw something very special, and sincere. Since then it has become clearer every day that we are the cusp of a new art movement, and for two art fans, what more could you ask for?” -Johanna Goldstein, Producer

Adam Leon, “Gimme The Loot”

“We’ve had a bunch of people say that we’ve captured New York in a way they haven’t seen for a while, and that’s a tremendous compliment, really a key element we were going for.” -Adam Leon

Bill and Turner Ross, “Tchoupitoulas”

“This is not social issue film. It is not about hurricanes. And it is not a sequel to “45365”.” -Bill and Turner Ross

Joko Anwar, “Modus Anomali”

“We utilized everything we got to shoot. For the tracking shots in the woods, we didn’t have access to a motion control so we mounted the camera on a flying fox and just threw it to the other end of the rope.” -Joko Anwar

Stephen Kessler, “Paul Williams Still Alive”

“My film tells the story of an amazing singer, songwriter, TV and movie star–but it’s not a film about singing, songwriting, TV, or movies. It’s more about me chasing around a guy I idolized who has zero interest in me following him.” -Stephen Kessler

Matt Ruskin, “Booster”

“We wanted to tell this story in a really honest way. We didn’t want to glorify any of the crime elements. Instead, we tried to make the discomfort and internal struggle of our characters palpable.” -Matt Ruskin

Aleksander L. Nordaas, “Thale”

“‘Thale’ is a pretty different take on the folklore theme, and the film might just be somewhat different than expected.” -Aleksander L. Nordaas

Andrew Neel, “King Kelly”

“‘King Kelly’ was written with several central cultural discussions in mind. Very thinly buried under the seemingly superficial façade of the script is a story that approaches a number of pressing issues facing our society.” -Andrew Neel

Andrew Beck Grace, “Eating Alabama”

“I think of this movie as a personal essay. I wanted to understand how our food system had gotten so mechanized and so corporately controlled in such a relatively short amount of time over the last 60 or so years.” -Andrew Beck Grace

Jodi Wille & Maria Demopoulos, “The Source”

“The Source Family was one of thousands of communes and utopian groups from the 70s. But none were quite as stylish, outlandish, or creatively prolific as the Source Family, and none documented themselves so extensively.” -Jodi Wille & Maria Demopoulos

Brian M. Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky, “Francine”

“We started as photographers and have a background in documentary filmmaking. ‘Francine’ is our narrative feature debut. There are many diverse and beautiful locations in ‘Francine.’ Incorporating so many locations into a very tight shooting schedule was a large undertaking.” -Brian M. Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky

Mark Kendall, “La Camioneta”

“This isn’t the kind of film that’s going to generate one kind of reaction, nor is it the kind of message-driven documentary that is familiar to most audiences.” -Mark Kendall

Matthew & Kevin McManus, “Funeral Kings”

“Finding four capable 14-year-olds to carry the movie was definitely nerve-wracking. The first auditions we held were really eye opening- the film was going to fall flat if we didn’t find some amazing kids.” -Matthew & Kevin McManus

Amy Seimetz, “Sun Don’t Shine”

“We shot on super 16mm in the middle of the summer and every bead of sweat, every cicada scream is captured– it was well worth enduring the tropical heat waves.” -Amy Seimetz

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