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Meet the 2012 SXSW Filmmakers #22: Andrew Neel, ‘King Kelly’

Meet the 2012 SXSW Filmmakers #22: Andrew Neel, 'King Kelly'

King Kelly” director Andrew Neel wrote, directed and shot four documentaries, including “Darkon,” before venturing into fiction (though “King Kelly” was written “with several central cultural discussions in mind,” says Neel; and shot with iPhones). Beginning with “Darkon,” he believes his films are all “about examining the space between the way we imagine the world to be and the way we actually live in it.” The space between is his obsession, “It’s where life really happens. I think one of the main reasons I make films is to try to capture what goes on in that gap between the imagined and the real, and look at the mess that happens when there’s an attempt to reconcile the two.”

What it’s about: “It’s the story of two girls who go on a crazy journey – told through their camera-phones. But really it’s about identity in a socially-networked, over-mediated world.”

Director Neel says: “‘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. The ‘me’ generation is coming of age. Our self centered, and increasingly self-obsessed culture of the ‘me’ is having a synergistic growth spurt in concert with the evolution of the internet and media. We are increasingly told, in direct and indirect ways, that the world revolves around us: build your online persona; share your play-list with the world; your pictures, your every thought or machination can be updated instantly. iPhone, iPod, iLife. Me me me. My profile. My play-list. My opinion on MY blog. Our persona, in fact our very sense of self (personal and as a nation), is collapsing inwards. Paradoxically our lust for mass validation via ‘Likes’ on Facebook in reality in less about communicating than it is about telling ourselves that we may actually exist. This sort of self-indulgent emotional self-love has created and increasingly selfish, and delusional society capable rampant dreaming, and manipulation. The King Kelly character is an investigation of this new form of self-obsessed American. Are there consequences for our actions? There are. But do we even care?”

What was the biggest challenge? “We made this film on an extremely tight budget. Of course shooting on iPhones or similar allowed us to save some money and be lighter on our feet, but Tom Davis, my producer, was really able to make a lot happen with little means.”

Indiewire invited SXSW 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 2012 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

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