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Meet the LAFF Filmmakers #7: ‘Crazy and Thief’ Director Cory McAbee

Meet the LAFF Filmmakers #7: 'Crazy and Thief' Director Cory McAbee

“Crazy and Thief” director Cory McAbee’s roots are musical. “When I was young I painted and performed music,” he says, adding that his first films were “hand-painted animated musicals. His first two features were “The American Astromaut” (a musical comedy/sci-fi that debuted at Sundance in 2001) and “Stingray Sam” (same genre, it debuted at Sundance in 2009). Now he ventures into fantasy with “Crazy and Theif.”

What it’s about: “With a homemade star-map to guide them, a seven-year old girl takes her two-year old brother on a fantastic voyage through the real world.”

On childhood: “There are qualities of childhood that are universal, some that develop as a result of culture and environment, and then there are those unique to the individual. Crazy and Thief is a portrait of childhood that embraces these qualities without being sentimental or contrived,..I would like audience members to feel a connection with the characters and possibly feel protective of them.”

A return to non-budget fillmaking: “The production itself was wonderful. The only uncomfortable element came from outside. People who I had worked with on larger budget films in the past seemed irritated by this project. They saw a non-budget homemade film as a step back, but I saw it as an organic way of embracing our current environment.”

On his inspirations: “Much of the film’s structure, storytelling, musical segments and editing choices were inspired by the first season of Sesame Street. I was also inspired by filmmakers who I knew. For his attitude as a human I would have to say George Kuchar. He was a good friend. I also spent a lot of time at festivals with David Lowery, Ry Russo-Young and Joe Swanberg. Seeing their films and spending time with them inspired me.”

What’s next? “I am working with Justin Lin and the production companies Barnstorm and Perfect Storm on a musical that I have written called Bloodgood. I am also performing music with a new project called Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club.”

Indiewire invited LAFF competition 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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