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INTRODUCING FILMMAKERS LYNNIE MITRA & BOB!

TelegraphRoad_LynnieMitra

Lynnie Mitra & Bob will be joining us with their film Telegraph Road! Here are some questions to let you get to know more about them!

What is your connection to the South?

By way of connections, we just thought we’d let you know that everyone is talking about all the exciting things to be found on America’s favorite byway, Telegraph Road! From Sheds to Critters, to Chairs and MORE, there’s something for EVERYONE, especially for the people of the GREAT SOUTHEAST!!!

Here are some of our personal connections to the South shown in the film: Bob remembers fondly the very first SHED he ever saw, it was on a rural road, deep in the heart of Dixie. Lynnie Mitra says: “My favorite CHAIR I ever sat in was found in… the South!” (It’s true!) When Bob was a TOY, he pined for the city, but the Georgian farm he lived on, was oh so very pretty. Though life there was gritty, no-one called him shitty. Hooray! Lynnie Mitra screams: “CRITTERS, Critters, Critters! Critters all around, critters on the ground, be sure to watch for critters in your favorite southern town! Ya don’t wanna miss one floppin’ ‘round! Ya hear?” AL the Window Guy just loves EVERYTHING: Sheds, Critters, Toys and Chairs, Power Lines and Fuzzy Bears! Be it North South East and West, Telegraph Road is the BEST!

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

Our grandmas.

How did you start making films?

This is our first film together. We were driving along, taking in the delicious aroma and the wonderful sights, and just like that, there were ALL the ingredients for a first rate film, right there on… Telegraph Road! We broke out the camera, and the rest is history. Stay tuned for more.

Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

No.

What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

Now that we’re famous, we look forward to being famous.

Why should someone see your film?

That’s a very interesting question. But you know, there’s something for EVERYONE on Telegraph Road! So if you like pie, like our grans sure do, or even if you don’t, Telegraph Road is the place for you. In any case WE will be seeing you real soon on… TELEGRAPH ROAD! (Don’t forget to bring a spoon!)

INTRODUCING FILMMAKER CHRISTOPHER HOLMES!

Christopher Holmes

Christopher Holmes will be joining us with his film Lost Colony. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about him!

What is your connection to the South?

I grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, a suburb of Akron probably most famous in motion picture circles for being the hometown for filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who attended the same high school as my mom. I even have his yearbook photo from his freshman year posted on my Instagram account somewhere if people care to work for it. At any rate I moved down to North Carolina about 12 years ago to attend grad school in pursuit of my MFA in Film Production from UNC-Greensboro, and have been a fixture here ever since. I’ve been a programmer for the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC for the last six years.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

It’s a little hard to pin down, but I think the original inspiration for the story stems from a solo road trip I took to the Outer Banks immediately following my graduation from the University of Akron—one of many times in my 36 years where I happened to be feeling a bit overwhelmed, uncertain about my destiny in life, and to put it plainly just lost in the world. I spent a week there as a sort of passenger from the North, surveying the coastal scene, the birthplace of white, Anglo colonization of this country, writing poetry, taking still photos, and getting perspective. When I returned to North Carolina for grad school the next year I continued exploring those themes as a filmmaker until the emblem of the shark tooth and the emotional remnants of that trip kind of coalesced into a story that I felt compelled to bring into the world.

How did you start making films?

Again, a little hard to pin down, but here goes. I sadly can’t say that I boast the same kind of creation myth story about being five years old with a camcorder in my hand or other such embellishments that filmmakers often broadcast about themselves. I will say that I’ve long been interested in media, imagery and storytelling of all kinds and, being someone who admittedly finds coherent verbal communication a struggle, the nonverbal (or pre-verbal, even) audiovisual language of symbol and gesture that the cinematic form provides seemed to provide a space where I could actually articulate with the kind of precision that the English language often fails to make possible. Interesting related side note—I had originally intended to pursue an MFA in creative writing (poetry) at UNCG, with film as a secondary option, but a twist of fate wherein the registrar’s office there lost my application fee check resulted in me missing a deadline and thankfully being invited to study within the filmmaking program instead.

Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

Everything that happened on set during shooting was entirely fascinating and often surreal to me, attempting to make a feature film on this scale of budget and available resources is one of the most ambitious, brave and self-delusional things a person can attempt I think! More specifically though, I think the level of trespassing and asking for forgiveness that needed to occur to secure some of the locations in the film was pretty high. We had potato guns fired at us on at least two occasions during the shooting of the few night scenes. There was a legit shooting/assault that occurred a block or two away from where the entire cast and crew was staying on the very first night that everyone was in town (in Manteo, on Roanoke Island), with a swarm of police cars in pursuit minutes later. We secured the permission to shoot at the mini-golf course used in the film entirely by text message communication and never in fact met the proprietor of the business, which was bizarre. We were chased off of a quick setup at a public beach location by the National Parks Service only minutes after pulling into the parking lot, eerily. I was threatened with a lawsuit by the Historical Association on the island just a few weeks before we were to begin shooting because of some misinformed notion about what we were trying to accomplish with the film, resulting in having to alter the title because of a dubious trademark claim. The problems we had to solve and obstacles we had to overcome in order for this film just to exist were relentless and almost cosmic in their absurdity.

What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

Being that it’s the world premiere screening of my film, I’m most looking forward to sharing the finished work with a live audience for the first time and learning what I can about the film from the interaction. Likewise I’m excited to reconnect with the Indie Grits staff, whom I know a bit from conversations at other festivals and correspondence when my previous short film Sapsucker was screened there in 2009. I’ve been to Columbia a few times but never for the festival proper, so I’m really curious to check out the Nickelodeon for the first time.

Why should someone see your film?

If I haven’t sufficiently stated my case in the answers above, I would just add that this production has been an almost Odyssean undertaking for me in every way imaginable, and by the time it screens on April 15 it will have been a legit ten year voyage since I began trying to make it a reality following completion of the original script. The performances turned in by all the principals—Joshua Brady, Sam Buchanan, Stephanie Morgan and Phillip Ward—are remarkably dynamic, first-class pieces of work all, the cinematography by DP Christopher Schneider is highly ambitious and gorgeously rendered, and I think it features a singular story and authorial point of view that is utterly unlike anything likely to make the film festival rounds this year. It’s an elegant, multi-layered exploration of the concept of colonization and the ways in which self-imposed cycles of fear culture and debt reinforce one another to create a sort of feedback loop—a combination of forces that’s challenging to navigate for a teen growing up in the margins of the American South.

INTRODUCING FILMMAKER SASHA WATERS FREYER!

Sasha Waters Freyer

Sasha Waters Freyer will be joining us with her film Garden of Stone. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about her!

What is your connection to the South?

I can trace my father’s family in Sampson County, NC, as far back as the birth of Richard Watters in 1684. Family legend claims we are descended from William Waters, one of the 116 English settlers on Roanoke Island in 1587–-known today as the Lost Colony. And: I teach filmmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

A Sicilian lover when I was 20. Andrew Marvell’s poetry. The films of Peter Greenaway. 1980s mixtapes. Kitsch meets the Late Baroque in the theatre of the street.

How did you start making films?

I picked up a 16mm bolex. Then the films started making me.

Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

The set was a city of 24,000. 24,000 interesting and funny things happened I’m sure, but in Italian, so I didn’t understand them.

What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

Visiting Columbia and seeing the work of Jesse Kreitzer, Meg Stein, Georg Koszulinski, Deon Kay, Roger Beebe, Kelly Gallagher and Josh Yates, as well as the new feature from Bill and Turner Ross!

Why should someone see your film?

Sicilian men. Sicilian girls. Andrew Marvell’s poetry (in Italian). Possibly obscure formal reference to Peter Greenaway. A 1986 song by the British synthpop group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Kitsch meets the Late Baroque in the theatre of the street.

INTRODUCING FILMMAKER RYAN GILLIS!

Ryan Gillis

Ryan Gillis will be joining us with his film Palm Rot. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about him!

What is your connection to the South?

I was born and raised in South Florida. Society is constantly in a race with nature, trying to develop land faster than the swamps and the ocean can take it back. The clash results in scenes of unparalleled natural beauty growing out of parking lots; highway overpasses turn into bat habitats; Great Blue Herons eat cigarette butts in your front yard. I’m in love with that juxtaposition. My mother is a Cuban refugee and my father is native Floridian. I believe film Palm Rot is a reflection of the beautiful clash between cultures and ecosystems that exist in that region.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

The story for Palm Rot came from a yellow crate and a palm tree. My brother is a professional beer brewer right now (over at Funky Bhudda in Ft. Lauderdale), but he used to work in a biology lab. One day they were cleaning house and he got to bring home some loot. One of the things he found was a yellow crate filled with jars, all covered in japanese lettering. We found out that the jars were used to take flies into space. California has these palm trees that shed their fronds like a fur coat. They always looked like rockets to me. Those two images stewed in my brain for years, and when it was time to make my thesis film, I mashed them together to make Palm Rot.

How did you start making films?

I was getting a degree in drawing at UF as my undergrad, and I was making a lot of weird videos and films for fun in my spare time. It just took me three and half years to finally try and mix the two things together. My last semester in college I made my first animation. After that I was hooked.

Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

Not Really. Sorry! It was just me in an apartment for a year.

Why should someone see your film?

Watch Palm Rot cause you might like it. I tried to not cut any animation-corners. I tried to make something exciting, and new, and weird.