Title: Ethan and Eli
Place: The Nickelodeon Theatre
1. What is your connection to the South?
I lived in the South between the ages of 8 and 18, and sometimes I still get a little bit of a southern accent when I’m angry.
2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
Ethan and Eli was inspired by a true story that happened to my younger brother and his best friend when they were 17, and the best friend was shipping out for Afghanistan. I really wanted to tell a story about the confusion at the end of adolescence, and I’m also kind of obsessed with the weird places kids end up hanging out in the burbs when there’s nowhere they’re really allowed to be.
3. How did you start making films?
My brother and I used to make operas on a tape recorder until my grandpa bought us a video camera when I was about ten. We made a gripping docu-drama about a murdered clown and a teleporting alien, and the rest is history.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
Joel Rosenburg, who plays the boys’ spazzy and obnoxious friend “Turner,” revealed to me in our first rehearsal that he’d never actually sworn before, and that he’d been practising to play the part. We ended up changing a lot of his lines to “butthole,” to make him more comfortable and because I thought it was a lot funnier.
5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
EATING GRITS, ok, ok, movies too. Mostly the movies.
6. Why should someone see your film?
‘Ethan and Eli’ is about that time right before you become an adult when you know basically nothing about the world, but are suddenly called to kind of declare your place in it. I think that’s a funny, scary, awkward, but also just universally relatable place to be.