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An Interview with Sam Rogers, Director of Discontent

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2022

Films directed by Sam Rogers on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new serialized anthology Discontent - in a few words, what is it about?

 

Itís about a bunch of millennials who have found themselves in weird situations because of smartphones and the internet.

 

What were your sources of inspiration when writing Discontent, and is any of it based on personal experience?

 

I was thinking about how the internet and smartphones now rule our lives in so many ways, and from there I was trying to think about how to make interesting stories out of this. The ways in which this technology connects us and divides us are pretty fascinating and also how irresistible it can be. Breaking his banjo string, doing nangs (nitrous oxide), buying stuff off Facebook Marketplace, binge-watching - yeah most of Discontent is based on personal experiences just heightened and embellished.

 

Which of the protagonists of the different segments could you identify the most, who the least, and why?

 

Milly in episode 2 I could identify the most with - whenever I lose or am away from my phone for more than a few days I notice a real shift inside of me. Initially, it was irritation but then I feel so much better than when I had a phone. Although when Iím reunited with my phone I love it again haha. I think itís crazy that a piece of technology can make someone feel this way!

 

Do talk about Discontent's brand of humour for a bit!

 

Itís finding the absurd and the funny in the everyday. Not trying to be over the top and forcing the humour with wacky zaniness. The everyday is weird enough already.

 

A few words about your directorial approach to your story at hand?

 

Discontent has been a testing ground for directorial approaches, particularly because itís five shorts with an overarching theme. I was very inspired by the start of Gaspar Noeís film Enter the Void that I wanted to make an episode like this - all in someoneís head. It was such a different way of directing, very technical but fun - probably more so for the cinematographer and myself than Isabella Giovinazzo the lead that would have to reach her arm into the shot if her character were drinking a beer for instance. In the final episode, I deliberately wrote it with a different genre so that I could experiment with form. Itís the most cinematic of the series and also took the longest to shoot and in post. All the other episodes are drama/comedies and I let the performances drive the show.

 

What can you tell us about Discontent's cast, and why exactly these people?

 

Mostly because I had access to them and knew that they were talented and were right for the role. I thought a lot about who should play who and discussed this with my producer Tobias Willis. Kathleen Lee who plays Sandra in episodes 1 and 3 I went to film school with and had her in mind while we were writing those episodes together. Maria Angelico who plays Milly in episode 2 with Yianni Warnock I also knew quite well and thought they would have good chemistry together. I also went to film school with Isabella and Tavis Urquhart in episode 4 and admired their acting. I didnít know Nicholas Jacquinot who plays Archie in episode 5 but had seen his work and thought heíd be great. And Chloe Martin in episode 6 as the alien had worked with my producer on some other projects and I had seen her in the web series Dee-Brief, also made in Melbourne, and thought sheíd be great and of course, she was.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere!

 

We didnít have any money and were always shooting with a small crew and trying to work quickly or shooting over many shoot days spaced out. The final episode for instance was shot over a couple of months. But the banjo string episode was shot in just 1 night! So on-set it was relaxed and friendly and I think people just like hanging out and working on something that isnít corporate or boring. Because Iím calling in favours, everyone is basically good friends already or knows each other. As itís so small though much of my time and energy is spent playing multiple roles, not just director, which isnít great.

 

The $64-question of course, where can Discontent be seen?

 

Itís out now on YouTube: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLl62W5FznZ837OjIDiqIeg0gBv9pDuV4N

Itís also available on Tubi, Amazon Prime Video (video on demand), Apple TV (video on demand), Mometu, Box Brazil Play, Moodbox and Indieflix.

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Discontent?

 

Itís been good. I have had a tonne of messages from people saying how much they love the show which has been nice. Discontent or parts of it have screened at over 20 festivals around the world including a heap of nominations and a couple of awards. The first episode screened at Flickerfest Festival on tour in Melbourne to a large audience, and everyone laughed at the right times and seemed to love it. The reviews have been positive and encouraging.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Iím writing a feature about a woman who falls sick and never recovers from a terrible bout of the flu, and at the same time strange weather events are happening to her. And another feature that is more of a horror.

 

What got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?

 

In Multimedia class in year 10, we had an assignment where we had to use digital point-and-shoot cameras I think just to take photos, but my friends and I just filmed each other jumping over rubbish bins. I cut it to a Rage Against the Machine track and it was heaps of fun. From there I made a Year 12 film, enrolled in a multimedia course at university and realised I just wanted to make films, so studied at Swinburne University in the Film and TV Bachelor in Melbourne, Australia, and made a bunch of great friends that Iíve cast in Discontent or still work with today.

 

What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Discontent?

 

Iíve written/directed a number of short films. Nangs won Best Director at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival in 2018. Breathe screened at St Kilda Film Festival and a few others in 2015. Iíve written/directed maybe 8 shorts in total, a few documentaries and a bunch of music videos and I work as a videographer on the side.

 

How would you describe yourself as a director?

 

Calm on the outside, working hard on the inside. Open to any input that anyone has at any time.

 

Filmmakers who inspire you?

 

Gaspar Noe and Jonathan Glazer. See if you can spot which episodes were inspired by them. I love Andrea Arnold, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Safdie Brothers, Stanley Kubrick, Darren Aronfsky, Terrance Mallick, Carlos Regaydas, Yorgos Lanthimos and Quentin Dupieux to name a few.

 

Your favourite movies?

 

Under the Skin, American Honey and Punch Drunk Love.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

Feeling lucky ?
Want to
search
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?

The links below
will take you
just there!!!

Find Sam Rogers
at the amazons ...

USA  amazon.com

Great Britain (a.k.a. the United Kingdom)  amazon.co.uk

Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

Looking for imports ?
Find Sam Rogers here ...

Thailand  eThaiCD.com
Your shop for all things Thai

Any film that trades the search for the truth for a lie disguised as the truth.

 

Your/your anthology's website, social media, whatever else?

 

Follow Discontent on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/discontentseries/

and its production company: https://www.instagram.com/kewlstudio/

and my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sam___rogers___/

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

Thanks to all the cast and crew for making Discontent come to life, I am very grateful for everyone's support!

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

Thank you!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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and shall not be held responsible for
content of sites from a third party.




Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD