on our most eventful day in columbia south carolina i deliberately left behind my camera. of course i regret it now, but at the time it felt important to have some undocumented adventures. as a result, i have a limited number of photos. a porch scene. the state house. a weird reflection in a mirror at the whig. some wigs behind bars!
the day we left we went to a cemetery and i took about a million photos. will upload some of those in a minute.
Did these questions a few weeks back about PRESENT for INDIE GRITS, but I believe they didn’t get around to posting or it slipped through the cracks.. so figured I would post it here, as I put some thought and time into it..
1. What is your connection to the South?
Well, I’ve pretty much lived in the South my whole life. I was born in, grew up, and moved all over North Carolina and it’s where most all of my family is from and still live, so it’s pretty much home to me.
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
Well it’s quite autobiographical in ways, at least it’s steeped a good bit with things from my life. I’d say lots of different inspirations went into it, with just things that interest me. I have a slight fascination with visiting old places you’ve lived, it’s like a weird sort of time travel, and Mt. Airy especially holds a dear place in my heart. In general I’m sort of nostalgic for past times, and have an affection for old mom and pop places and this ‘vanishing americana’. As far as the actual film, I’d say a lot of it sparked from meeting and knowing the 3 main actors, they were all inspiring to my life anyway, and I thought it’d be interesting and fun to put them in a film together.
3. How did you start making films?
I took a theatre class my senior year of high school and really got into acting and just performing in general. It just so happened my theatre teacher started up a video production class that year, and I kind of took on a knack for it. I remember sitting at his computer and editing some little video we’d shot for the first time, on this magical thing called Avid, and it just opened up a whole new world to me, this complete ability to create and make something in that way, and I just kind of fell in love with all of it; writing, shooting, editing, acting… He told me about film school (at the North Carolina School of the Arts) on my last day of high school, and I never even knew that was a thing, that people could go to school for that, and become Directors and Producers and what all, I had no idea what any of them did. So, I don’t know, it sounded good and I didn’t have any other plans at the time!
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Oh sure, lots of daily things! Just in general, you’re already in these kind of intimate, intense settings, working and living all day everyday together for a month, so there’s bound to be ridiculous inside jokes and silly stories and things like that happening. Plus I think all of the cast and crew share similar senses of humor, so we all found a lot of the same things funny, and we all just like to laugh, and make each other laugh.
As far as interesting, personally, to revisit and shoot in the house I moved out of when I was 10, that was quite an interesting experience. We were only there for a couple hours one night, and I was mostly preoccupied with getting shots, but every once in a while I would just look around and get super weird deja vu. It goes back to that whole “time travel” thing, but it definitely messed with my sense of time and place in this surreal way.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
This’ll be the 3rd one I’ve gotten to attend. I love Indie Grits a lot, so many nice folks who put it on, and they always have interesting films playing. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time in Columbia too, so I look forward to just getting to visit and hang out and see friends and meet new folks and such. Also a slice of pizza at the Whig, with bbq sauce.
6. Why should someone see your film?
Oh I don’t know, I think the 3 main characters all gave quite wonderful performances for having never acted before in their lives, so, see it for them. I’ve been told it’s quite funny, and also has a lot of heart. I don’t think there are too many films out there that explore brother/sister relationships. While this one is a little estranged and sort of oddball, I think it sweetly displays siblings who, though maybe were never all that close, still went through and shared this stage of early life together, and even though that’s vanished and gone, it still shaped who they are in a way, and counts for and means something. And I think now they’ve reached a point in life, where they don’t really have a sense of family or a home anymore, and they’re on that cusp of adulthood. And the world they’ve ventured out into ain’t quite what they were expecting, y’know, it all ain’t Mayberrys. So when they do see one another, there’s this comfort there. It’s like when a longtime friend or family member visits, there’s this calming and familiar feeling there, because you have this history of shared experiences together. Even if they aren’t always able to express themselves exactly how they mean to, just being in one another’s presence sometimes is nicely reassuring, when nothing else in life quite makes sense.
So maybe if you can relate to any of that, or are interested in something that is just kinda trying to sort out the human condition a little, perhaps you’d enjoy it.
i made this with super 8 footage shot mostly around asheville north carolina during the making of the film “present” …the song is from 2010 and is how my friend theresa referred to west washington street in athens georgia.. “FLICKER STREET” …its from a new album by my wretched southern “porch rock” band SMOULDERING PORCHES. its a waltz. and yes, i sampled the wind/high hat from the film YOJIMBO by akira kurosawa.