Posts Tagged ‘The Shutdown’

SilverDocs 2009: Q&A With The Filmmakers Of "The Shutdown"

shutdownThis past week I met Scottish filmmakers Adam Stafford and Peter Gerard. They were excited to have their short The Shutdown, screen earlier at SilverDocs. The piece is described as, “a mesmerizing portrait of the influence of an oil refinery in a Scottish town.” What really interested me was the fact two quarter-lifers were already running a production company making films, so we exchanged some e-mails and here’s a little Q&A I had with the duo:

Patrick: Reading Adam’s Q&A on SilverDocs it looks like you’ve always wanted to be involved and work in film- what led you two to choose this kind of career?
Adam Stafford: To me it’s not a career; there are career film makers, but for me it’s something more than that, it’s a case of finding the truth and the narrative and bringing the two together. It’s a case of pushing the framing of the images to a point of unacceptability. Werner Herzog said you should work as a bouncer at a sex club or a car park attendant to raise money to make films. I work as an operator for the emergency services to raise funds to make mine, and that won’t stop until someone comes along and offers us money for the next project. Until then, I will work and build up my projects from the dirt.

Patrick: You talked to me last night about the unique story and approach of The Shutdown, but what do you hope audiences walk away with after they see your short?

Adam Stafford: With a sense of something that they’ve never seen before: a documentary featuring no people, but with a stunning narrative coupled with a soundtrack of ambient drone and pink smoke.

Patrick: I also commented talked how I was impressed that two young guys like yourself decided to start a production company and push stuff out there- what led you two to decide to form this group of artists? This kind of work isn’t guaranteed to pay at all and I’m sure it’s not the 9-5 job that most people do after college…

Peter Gerard: I started Accidental Media while I was still in high school in Missouri. I moved to Scotland in 2000 and eventually turned Accidental Media into a full-on production company with a focus on documentaries, short films, and innovative shorts. “The Shutdown” is our first collaboration with Adam and we see a lot of potential in developing his talents along with his collaborator, the writer Alan Bissett.

Patrick: What kind of advice would you give a person looking to get into film making but doesn’t exactly know where to start?

Peter Gerard: Always start with a good story, and make sure it’s well told. It’s also essential to create a film with cinematic beauty. There are too many films these days that ignore visual aesthetics, and really that’s what film making is all about.

Adam Stafford: I agree with the above. But I would also recommend just watching films. Don’t sit around reading books about how you should construct a narrative, or how this person did that, or what this person recommends you to do to better yourself as a filmmaker. Watch films by the masters! Go out and experiment and then decide for yourself! Listen to every kind of weird music! Look at art and photography! Read Richard Brautigan, William Burroughs and Flannery O’Conner. You can be as surreal and as experimental as you like, as long as there is an honesty in your vision.

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