The esoteric director tells young aspiring filmmakers to adopt the Perry system of prolific filmmaking
With the advent of high definition cameras, cheaper equipment and the increasingly expensive price for film stock, it’s no wonder that most indie filmmakers have shied away from the medium and transitioned to digital. From Scorsese to Aronofsky, film has been championed as being the truest way in which to express cinematic vision. But as time has gone on and the quality of digital filmmaking has reached new heights, film stock has slowly been put out of production, making it more difficult to finance movies made on film.
But to filmmaker Alex Ross Perry, that has never been a deterrent. From telling aspiring filmmakers that anyone can shoot film if they want to exclusively working with film on all of his pictures, Perry is one of the last bastions of film in the indie community. The Knockturnal had the opportunity to talk to the esoteric filmmaker prior to BAMcinemaFest 2017’s closing night premiere of “Golden Exits.” Check out our interview below:
This is your fifth movie in eight years. That’s quite a feat. How do you maintain such a prolific filmmaking streak?
I think that the last three movies got made very quickly and easily because they were all made with the same crew. You don’t have to hire everyone from top to bottom. They all have the same department heads from cinematographer down to gaffer, makeup, composer, editor, wardrobe, production design and so on. So since you’re not starting the crew from scratch every time, it’s incredibly easy to make movies as quickly as I have been.
Yes, you seem to collaborate primarily with the same people with each project. How does that help your vision move along? Do you have to spend less time going over tidbits that you’d want to want as a director?
Yeah, you’re exactly right. Day one is usually the slow, difficult day, but we finished day one two hours ahead of schedule. Everybody said that, “it’s because it doesn’t feel like day one, it feels like day fifty.” That’s the perfect example of how it easy to work with people for the third time in three years.
What advice would you give nascent filmmakers, especially now that Kim’s Video is no longer around?
The only advice that I can offer is that there is no reason to wait. I made my first movie at 23 with a group of seven and $15,000. That was the best I could do at the time. Then I made another movie two years later and the people I know who waited to make that perfect movie or waited for all the money to come together for their big dream first movie never made anything. And everyone I know who is making their 5th, or 6th or 7th movie made their 1st, 2nd and 3rd movie very quickly with their friends. Make it, and then quickly make another one. And there really is no reason not to. Everyone I know who waited even a little bit ended up waiting a long time.
You’ve come out saying that this film is “commercially worthless” and that it’s a deviation from your normal filmmaking style. What expectations do you have for this movie then?
Nothing really [laughs]. I made this movie just for me. I made it when I took a month off from what was my job-job last year. And it was fun to make. It was fun to get everyone back together. It was cool and unexpected to be at Sundance. Honestly, the only thing I envisioned for it was that we have a great screening at BAM because I know it’s a great place to screen. This is the nexus–this is where we made the whole movie. I just assumed we would be screening here one way or another. So really all I wanted was this.
“Golden Exits” was screened as part of BAMcinemaFest 2017’s Closing Night premiere. It is seeking distribution.