By John C.
Read part 1 of my 2-part interview here, and check back tomorrow for our reviews of The Horse Boy.
One thing I really liked about this movie is that, unlike in some other documentaries, it didn’t seem like the camera was purposefully shaking. What kind of camera did you use? I used a Canon XHA-1. And that's great to know that it worked well, because there were tons of moments when the camera was really shaking. It was a great camera to work with. I think a lot of times the shaking is intentionally used, since it’s considered a technique to make the audience feel uneasy, or something. Especially since we were on horseback a lot of the time, we did try our best to really minimize it though.
What was it like watching The Horse Boy for the first time with an audience? Well the first time I watched Horseboy with a large audience - it was at Sundance - and I was literally crushing me feet out of fear. I was horrified when it began to play... I thought they are going to hate it, and at the end of it boo. To my surprise, they cheered. They actually loved it! At that point I had so many hugs, so many laughs - I cried with the audience too. To make a film that’s not going to please everyone, but can still make people cry and laugh and change their lives is amazing. Most people have been really supportive. I made a lot of friends through it.
Who are some of your greatest inspirations as a filmmaker? What are your favourite movies? A lot of my inspiration as a filmmaker, comes from nature. I’ve tried to structure most of my career around time and nature, and the healing power of nature. It’s really important to show the beauty and power of just being outside. The landscapes, flowers, the great relief of just being outside the city. I was a dancer, studied dance in college, so thinking about creative movement inside the frame always is something I remember. Also, family dynamics, human emotion - those three things, nature, family, and human emotion are what inspire me.
It wasn't until about 4 months ago that I saw Man on Wire. That was an amazing film that inspired me. I like things that are kind of experimental. In college, I had an arts background - not necessarily in film, but a lot of painting and sculpting. I like things with Latin American influences. The Green Wall, experimental docs like Hybrid...
What are some of the most recent films you’ve seen in theatres? It’s going to sound pretty cliche in a couple of months, but I really liked Where The Wild Things Are, it’s just a beautiful film - it really got into the mind of the child. I have a 7 year old niece, and it really seemed like a 7-year old could have written it. It’s just such an interesting film.
Yes, Where The Wild Things Are was an amazing movie. Then, like I said, Man on Wire was just really well done, Winnebago Man, I was incredibly impressed with... Certainly Where The Wild Things Are, and those documentaries.
What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers? I don’t know if this would be the greatest advice career-wise, but what really helped me in film, was to follow my passions outside of film, and incorporate those into film. Of course, there is the budget, producers, crew, it’s not always fun - not a lot of the time, actually. But really for me, what gets me to keep going through each project is just incorporating it into what I love. Nature, dance... You just have to experiment with things, to adapt to finding inspiration from those things. I try to use my greatest joys in life in the process. And if someone decides that film is not what they want to do, if they pursue other passions, they’ve never really left them. It wouldn’t work for everyone, but that's what keeps me sane in the film world.
Are there any upcoming projects you can tell me about? Well, I’m just finishing with a documentary, that I’m still looking for a distributor for, about Jewish immigration to Bolivia in the late 1930's. It's kind of a story about how these people took this opportunity to get out of Germany, only to be turned away by a lot of countries - with even the USA turning boats back to Austria and Germany. So they went on this exotic journey to find a place to land, and they ended up going to Bolivia. It’s also about how politics in Bolivia have morphed to make these social and political issues of immigrants heard, those of non-indigenous populations. It’s not just about racism, but also about Iran, the rush of the Arab world, the place that the Jewish culture is at in the world, from the 1930's to the present day.
I’d also at some point like to try a narrative - I’m working on a script right now. I have done short films, but it’s one step at a time to get into the world 0f narrative film. I don’t want to rush, I want to make a good film as my first. Sometime in the future.
Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up? I think we've covered most of it - its been a phenomenal journey. What I’d always wanted to shed light on, is the way we perceive unique individuals and diversity. And how as a society we could actually feel that we don’t have to mould them to fit into what we already have, but actually open a place in society and culture, with others in past and present, fuse their talents, rather than try to morph them to make them so called productive. Autism could be a metaphor for anything. How do we make a place in our culture for unique individuals, rather than try to change them.
One Movie, Five Views thanks Michel Orion Scott for taking the time to do this interviews. Our reviews of The Horse Boy will be up on Friday, November 13th.