Meet the 2012 Best First Feature/John Cassavettes Spirit Award Nominees #1: Mike Cahill, ‘Another Earth’

Meet the 2012 Best First Feature/John Cassavettes Spirit Award Nominees #1: Mike Cahill, 'Another Earth'
Meet the 2012 Best First Feature/John Cassavettes Spirit Award Nominees #1: Mike Cahill, 'Another Earth'

Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth,” which he co-wrote and produced with star Brit Marling, premiered at Sundace 2011 before getting a theatrical release courtesy of Fox Searchlight in July.

Cahill hails from Connecticut, and insists that “with movies, you experience two hours of someone else’s life and ironically can get closer to understanding your own life.” Film, he believes, is one of the most affective ways to “emotions and truths about the magic and beauty of being human.” Sure, music can do it too (as well as poetry, art, etc), but because he’s not musical he’s ended up becoming up filmmaker — one up for the Spirit Awards’ John Cassavettes First Feature honor no less.

Up next is a film about reincarnation. Five minutes into it, Cahill believes, anyone “who doesn’t believe in reincarnation, will believe in it… guaranteed.”

What’s it about?Another Earth” is about a girl, a guy, and 7 billion doppelgangers. It’s about the meeting place between self-judgement and self-empathy.

Director Cahill says: The biggest challenge was probably finding a male lead. I saw many different, and very talented actors for the part of John – but no one was exactly right. So we began shooting everything we could without that part being cast. Halfway through, our casting directors suggested sending the script to William [Mapother]. I knew immediately he would be perfect, and thankfully he liked the project and signed on.

Did any films inspire this movie? “Double Life of Veronique” by Krzysztof Kieslowski. “Basquiat” by Julian Schnabel. “Die Hard” was the first R rated film I ever saw – so maybe that too. You have to watch very carefully to find the “Die Hard” reference in the film.

On being nominated: It’s a huge honor, especially given the abundance of great first features out there this past year. It’s also really special because it’s kind of like losing your virginity. You can only have one first feature, so in a sense it’s like being nominated for best first time having sex – which is special.

Go here for Indiewire’s interview with Cahill.

 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.

Keep checking here for the latest profiles.

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