Your most recent movie Trilogie de Tragedie - in a few words,
what is it about?
Essentially, Trilogie de Tragedie
has been described by
viewers as taking a trip to a French Cinematheque in the 1960s. So I went
ahead and made that a tag-line for the film.
How did the project come in to being
in the first place, and what was the idea behind making Trilogie de Tragedie
an anthology movie?
It's a type of picture
that I have always wanted to do that was sitting on the back-burner for a
while for the right moment. I finally decided to green-light it after
finding the right people to involve and the timing became right. I think
it's essential that it's an anthology to capture the whole experience of
recreating the arthouse revolution of the time correctly. This was a huge
movement, one that inspired countless artists' visions and a complete
overhaul of an artform.
With Trilogie de Tragedie
openly paying hommage to arthouse cinema of old - what was
the idea behind that approach?
Well, all we see from
American releases today is the same thing, which is what started the
original French new wave movement, so I felt that it was the perfect time
to make a number of statements with an arthouse picture.
Let's talk about your
segment Meek Marianne for a bit: What were your inspirations when
writing that one?
That's a great question. I just set out
to tell a story about the truth of life for some real people. There are
far too many inspirations to count though. I think the heavy leaders of
the (French new wave) movement are probably the biggest obviously -
etc. But I think everyone involved in the revolution should be credited as
What can you tell us about your
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I took a very
lax approach to directing my piece per the material. Since I literally did
everything myself, it was distraction-less, which helped this philosophy
and process a great deal.
about your cast, and why exactly these people?
Tiffani Fest act and immediately knew that she was something special and
perfect for this movie. The rest of the cast for Meek Marianne
followed the same train of thought. Brad Paulson found Andrew Mandapat and knew
immediately that he was Evan. Aaron Burk found Peter Lofstrom, and none of us
could deny his solidification into this film's legacy.
you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
staying true to the French new wave revolution, everyone involved
practiced the autuer theory. Each segment is essentially art created out
of practically nothing by a single person. On-set atmosphere was very
relaxed, but everyone involved took the project very seriously while still
having a good time for the most part.
return to the anthology as a whole: Do talk about your co-directors, and
what was your collaboration like?
Trilogie de Tragedie
everyone's movie. I just came up with the idea and financed it, but Trilogie de Tragedie
would not exist if it wasn't for Brad Paulson and
Aaron Burk. Our collaborations were simple; they shot their stories, I
took the raw footage and I cut it all together into the movie that it is
now. I can't think of having anyone better involved in the creation of
The $64-question of
course, when and where will your movie be released onto the general
My past work has only been submitted to a few film
festivals. This one is the first project that is being submitted to a
larger number of them. The screening schedule can be found on our website
and will be updated as more dates become available. Our first public
screening is in California and is coming up next month.
Anything you can tell us about the audience and
critical reception of Trilogie de Tragedie
has been overwhelmingly positive, to the point that I don't know what's
going to happen, which is very exciting!
future projects you'd like to share?
Well, currently, I've
been in production on a massive science-fiction steam-punk adventure
entitled Abaddon. Work has also recently begun on a long time
pet project of mine entitled Hazzard, a speculative vision of
what happened at infamous serial killer Linda Burfield Hazzard's School of Health in 1935 on the night that it burned to the
What got you into
making movies in the first place, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
Escaping into my imagination was just a
natural way of dealing with life as a boy I guess. Writing stories and
animating them came shortly after, followed by live action storytelling.
I obsessively taught myself pretty much all of the filmmaking skills
necessary to make motion pictures that I use today on my own as a child.
By the time I gave film school a shot at eighteen (before swiftly dropping
out), I had already made feature films, so I didn't really learn anything
that I hadn't already studied more in-depth on my own when I was younger.
I felt it would help my craft more actually making movies than talking
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Trilogie de Tragedie?
I tell esoteric
visions that aren't things that you would see typically released. I made a
manly film noir starring a homosexual, for instance, and a comedy about
such tribulations of micro film-making as finding free meat for gore
effects by chopping up a dog that died from being fed chocolate by a crew
you seem to be active in many other artistic disciplines, from music to
painting, writing to creating videogames and so on - so do talk about all
your artistic endeavours for a bit, and how do they influence your
filmmaking and vice versa?
I don't think that many of my
other artistic endeavors influence me as a filmmaker other than painting
and comics because they are visual, but those and the others are certainly
similar practices. Video games are essentially interactive movies, books
are still stories, music is more emotional expression to me, comics are
movies without audio, VJing is essentially live film editing, etc.
Programming is just a different type of language, so it's still
communication in a sense, it just uses more math. Mainly it comes down to
what I want to say and how I want to say it when choosing a medium to
express myself with.
What can you tell us about
your company Monumental
Pictures, and the philosophy behind it?
basically we're an organization that's been producing multimedia content
for international audiences for two decades and our work has been featured
on networks such as NBC Universal. We're a non-profit organization that
gives everything we do away into the public domain (with the exception of Hazzard, which will be traditionally distributed but owned by a
The decision to give all of this content away for free is not only an
artistic one, because I believe that art should be able to be enjoyed by
everyone, but also a product of of the digital age and piracy.
would you describe yourself as a director?
At this juncture
in my life, using just one word; patient. I take as much time as possible
to make my scripted vision as clear as possible, from re-shooting things
so many times that actors who aren't used to it would want to pull their
hair out, to spending days lighting shots, and to just trying to get
actors into the right mind set of their character.
who inspire you?
Every film-maker inspires me. To go out,
make a movie, and actually finish it is a tremendous task. All of the
people that do that inspire me.
Your favourite movies?
I'm a pretty massive film nerd, so I can't say that there is such a
thing as a "favorite" film or films for me. I don't think you
can list art in terms of "what's the best." It really just
depends on the genre and mood that I'm in. I really enjoy films of all
kinds, so I would have to categorize by genre and nation of origin. I like
Chaplin's comedies, silent expressionism like Metropolis, I like
Peckinpah's action, Billy Wilder's everything, Kurosawa, Fellini, George
Romero's social commentary; the list could go on forever. I'd like to see
a movie shot by Mario Bava [Mario
Bava bio - click here], directed by Sergio Leone, and written by
Samuel Fuller though.
... and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
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I can find something redeemable in pretty much any piece of art, so I
can't really say that I deplore any movie. I believe art is and will
always be subjective, so you can't really judge it. I believe in
interpretation, and everyone can interpret said art in any way that they
chose. That being said, I'm not a big viewer of studio pictures that
compromise artistic vision for monetary reasons.
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to
Yes! I'm dying as I mention all of this to you! (literally.)
Thanks for the interview!
Thank you so much Michael for interviewing me! If you want to do it
again, I'm always here!