Title: Surviving Cliffside
Date: Friday, April 18
Time: 5:00 pm
Place: Nickelodeon Theater
1. What is your connection to the South?
I grew up in Alum Creek, West Virginia, the town where Surviving Cliffside was shot. I am a proud West Virginian and have the state outline tattooed on my arm and the state motto “Mountaineers are always free” tattooed on my back.
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
The family, in Surviving Cliffside, is my family. The father is my cousin and I grew up with him. The project started as a small assignment for NYU’s graduate film program and later grew into my thesis film.
3. How did you start making films?
I was a lawyer, before I went to film school. I practiced civil rights law for seven years. My last job was legal director of the ACLU of Connecticut. Then, I turned 31, decided I wasn’t getting any younger and I should pursue my dream of making movies. So, I quit my law practice and started film school.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Well, a little TOO interesting if you ask me. As you’ll see in the film, we had several incidents where we were almost shot or arrested. But we survived!
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
I’m interested in hearing about the crowd’s reaction to Big Significant Things. I saw it at SXSW and thought it was a great film. Can’t wait to see what it does on the festival circuit.
6. Why should someone see your film?
I didn’t want to make a freak show like Buck Wild or The Wild Wonderful Whites. I wanted to make a film that takes itself seriously. I love and understand my subjects. And I want the audience to empathize with them. Even if their lives are much different. I want the audience to understand them. And see their humanity.