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INTRODUCING FILMMAKER BRANTLEY JONES!

Brantley Jones

Brantley Jones will be joining us with his film Stuckey, Private First Class. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about him!

What is your connection to the South?

Born and raised in rural south Georgia.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

It started with the Ken Burns series, The Civil War, which led to Tony Horwitz’s great book Confederates in the Attic.

How did you start making films?

I started around 12 years old, when my mother returned from Wal-Mart with a Sony Handicam.

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

The mother of the baby we were originally going to use dropped out of the production the day of her scenes. We had to scramble to find the replacement within hours.

Also, the peacock in Stuckey’s dream was a last second addition. On our way to a location we passed a spooky, empty farmhouse with three of them roaming around the yard. So we trespassed and got the shot, never seeing a homeowner whom we could ask for permission. The spookiest thing about it was that someone had left a radio playing in the backyard.

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

Meeting like-minded independent filmmakers, especially producers and executive producers, so that we might expand this short into the feature it deserves! Oh, and also the grits!

Why should someone see your film?

Because it will give a human face to a subculture of people who are so easily dismissed and misunderstood. And it’s funny too!

INTRODUCING FILMMAKER JILL JOHNSTON!

Jill Johnston

Jill Johnston will be joining us with her film Don’t Be Afraid of Bears. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about her!

What is your connection to the South?

I lived in St. Pete for 6-1/2 years, went to grad school in Florida (Tampa), visit St. Pete Beach every year, and love the old Florida south, the beach in the winter, the rivers (the Withlacoochee, Hillsborough, etc.), and the vegetation. I also spent a short time at a residency at Wildacres Retreat near Little Switzerland, North Carolina in the mountains while working on my animation. The generous, creative and gregarious group that runs Wildacres will never be forgotten, as well as a few writers and musicians I stumbled upon along the way. The pace is different, more contemplative, and welcoming.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

When I was about 8 years old, my parents bought a tiny cottage on Two Island Lake near Thunder Bay, Ontario where we spent the summers while my dad commuted back and forth on weekends. My mom tells me that my brother John and I were chased by a male bear when we were playing by the roadside and she ran out the back door (the cottage was on stilts) and threatened the bear with my dad’s hunting knife, which intimidated him. I also thought my mom looked like Elizabeth Taylor and so I drew her like Liz from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I have no recollection of my mom’s version of the event. I thought John and I were coming out of our old outhouse, which was about 60 or 70 feet from the cottage (for some strange reason), encountered the angry bear and ran up the hill where my mom had a shotgun and fired into the air. Afterwards I was terrified to use the outhouse for a while and had bear running dreams for years and years.

In addition, several years ago I was interested in creating an animation about animal welfare and was being too literal. I thought I could somehow bring a little of that into this animation about lost memories.

How did you start making films?

I started as a teenager with both a super-8 camera and an old Brownie camera either creating series of narrative stills or short narratives with my willing 5 siblings. Eventually, after several years involved in the Detroit punk scene, I moved to Florida and started cinematography classes where I started making short animations with a Bolex camera.

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

No set for me, but my bear dreams returned. Also I coerced two of my students to shout out the film’s chorus in an audio studio when all they thought they were doing was creating their own foley work with an odd assortment of utensils and stuff. They had no idea it would be used in my animation.

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

The chance to connect with other filmmakers if I get a chance to attend. I always enjoy attending the film fests, audience questions, meeting someone new. Also, have you heard about our winter up here?

Why should someone see your film?

To consider animation as an expressive art form and look at the frames as moving illustrations, it’s not just cartoons and comedy. Also to question what it’s about. Is it just a recounting of a scene from memory? What does the bear represent? I’m asking myself the same questions.

INDIE GRITS IN JASPER MAGAZINE

Indie Grits in Jasper Magazine

Good golly gracious, Indie Grits is incredibly proud to be featured in the latest issue of Jasper Magazine! Pick up your copy today!

INTRODUCING FILMMAKER ROGER BEEBE!

Roger Beebe

Roger Beebe will be joining us with his film Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes), Part II: The Crying Game. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about him!

What is your connection to the South?

I’ve spent about 3/4 of my life in the South—about 1/4 of it in Irmo, SC. Just moved to Ohio a year ago (from Florida), but I doubt a decade of Ohio winters will sever my connections to the South.

Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

Well, I talk about it in the video. I felt like I wanted to embrace the pleasures of crying (despite the fact that “boys don’t cry” or whatever), so I just let myself cry in real life. It felt pretty logical to make the video as the next step in the process—a kind of “coming out.”

How did you start making films?

I didn’t start until I was in grad school (not for filmmaking). A friend and I just were talking about it a lot, and I had an opportunity to take a class that included shooting 16mm, so I went for it. It required a lot of coincidences to keep me going those first few years, but everything lined up and here I am two decades later.

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

I don’t have a set. I didn’t shoot—I just appropriated (borrowed/stole/etc.). Nothing monumentally interesting happened, but I did make it in two weeks in a cabin in the New Hampshire woods with autumn leaves falling from the trees and deers scurrying by outdoors.

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

I’ve always loved being there in the past, in part because it’s a homecoming for me. Actually, it’s like a homecoming on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, when you come home and someone’s completely remodeled your place, because there was nothing as cool as Indie Grits when I was growing up there.

Why should someone see your film?

Because even if it’s an experimental documentary, it’s funny. People laugh. (They really do.) And sometimes they cry too. And it’s alright to cry!