Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

A Talk With Michael Jacobs
Films, Faith, Dreams...

Michael Jacob’s highly entertaining feature documentary Audience of One has been on the mainstream festival circuit for more than a year now, garnering rave reviews and awards—and yet failing to snare a distribution deal. The film traces the efforts of San Francisco pastor Richard Gazowsky to fulfill his calling from God: to write, produce, and direct a $200 million sci-fi Bible epic called Gravity, and thereby establish a film studio that will crank out forty-seven feature films a year. I screened the film on DVD recently, courtesy of the film’s producer, and found it to be engaging, witty, and cautionary—enough so that I felt you ought to know about it despite its unavailability. To help Audience of One get more exposure, I arranged to speak with the film’s director, Michael Jacobs, over the phone.

A Talk With David Gordon Green
Emotional Situations of Tremendous Gravity

Snow Angels goes into limited release next week, and will be slowly expanding across the nation over the next couple of weeks. Due to the structure of the film, it’s no spoiler to tell you that the film is a quiet, meditative examination of relationships and situations gone horribly wrong. Glenn “becomes overwhelmed by the love he has for his daughter and the frustration that he has with trying to reconnect with his wife—and the new messages that are coming to him from outside organizations,” says director David Gordon Green. “In Glenn’s head, there’s a happy ending. There’s a religious recognition, there’s a reunited love with his wife in a rock-bottom time after he’s made some really poor, tragic decisions. He says, Hi. That’s his true rebirth.”

A Talk With Donny Osmond
Finding Your Inner Parent

One of the central themes of College Road Trip is the need that kids have for love and trust, a theme that had “better resonate with every parent,” says Donny Osmond, who plays one of the parents in the film. “I was watching Oprah last night, and Bill Cosby was on. It was such a great episode to wake parents up, because that’s what kids really need from their parents. It was either Bill or the guest host who said, ‘Parents, wake up!’ When you tell your kids that they’re stupid, they’ll believe it. How can they have any respect for themselves when you don’t have any respect for them?”

A Talk with Stefan Ruzowitzky
Counterfeiters Wins Oscar, And Yet...

Unlike Schindler’s List’s Amon Goeth, the antagonist here, Herzog, is not revealed to us through inside information. Instead, he’s fictionally based on the first-person recollections of another of the counterfeiters, Adolf Burger. So we see in Herzog a man who is “charming, friendly, always good-looking,” says Ruzowitzky: a real “manager-politician” who is fully capable of dreaming up “new, beautiful words” for extermination. And yet the only handle we get on what makes him tick is by examining his character through the lens of the prisoners themselves—and Sorowitsch, specifically. It is an approach that asks us to examine ourselves, and our country.

A Talk With Ben Stein
Bad Teacher!

Ben Stein’s new project Expelled is a critical look not at the shortcomings of Darwinian theory per se, but at the ways in which the Darwinian scientific establishment is apparently seeking to suppress open dialogue about competing theories. The justification for this suppression is that competing theories are not really “scientific,” so free speech is not the issue, “academic respectability” is. But as Mr. Stein stated, “… I think we’re missing something extremely basic in our understanding of the world, and how it got created and I’d like us to return to that. And, I think, by returning to those bigger subjects of how the world got created and what our place in the world is, we will find a new moral fence which is very much lacking.”

A Talk with Dolph Lundgren
Rocky IV’s Drago Returns

Once upon a time, Dolph Lundgren played one of cinema’s most notorious (and notoriously overplayed) villains: Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. It was a truly memorable performance, not only for Lundgren’s imposing physical presence (amplified not by his actual size, but by the contrast of his physique with that of Sylvester Stallone, who is actually on the short side). Recently, Lundgren’s career has also taken in interesting turn. Last year, he directed and starred in the straight-to-DVD Missionary Man, about a Bible-toting biker anti-hero—and he has a major supporting role in the February 19 DVD-release The Final Inquiry. Between this remarkably faith-driven role and his directorial effort with Missionary Man, it seems legitimate to ask: is Lundgren undergoing a sort of spiritual transformation of his own?

A Talk With Ian Rashid
Finding Hope in Dark Places

“There’s been a lot of controversy going on in the neighborhood where the film is set,” says How She Move director Ian Rashid of Toronto’s Jane & Finch neighborhood. “Guns have been introduced into the fray, and young men have been dying. And I live in London, in a similar neighborhood, and the same things are beginning to happen—guns are being introduced for the first time, and young men are dying. And the Caribbean communities in both countries, as a result, are getting really bad press. The truth is, those stories do happen; but the majority of people are hard working, aspirational—longing for a better life and working hard to try to realize that.”

A Talk With Bryan Gunnar Cole
Day Zero Director Avoids the Hammer

“Intimidation is not something I think about a lot,” says the director of the upcoming independent release Day Zero. “If you’re thinking of intimidation, then you’re not going to take those first steps. If you believe in yourself, and if you believe you’ve got something to learn in the process, and if you can put it together in a way where you can bring people into a theater or cinema and say, Check this out; I think you’ll enjoy it, and I think it will maybe spark some dialogue, and maybe you’ll think a little differently or consider something that you hadn’t thought of before—that’s why you do it.”

Another Talk with Phil Vischer
How To Save the World?

Vischer is not expecting next week’s Veggie Tales movie to restore the purity of his ministry. “You know, it’s a story I wrote before the meltdown,” he says, “that got picked up by the new owners and put into production. Am I happy that it’s being made? Yes. Do I think that it restores Veggie Tales in some way as a pure Christian ministry again? Well, no. It doesn’t actually change anything. But it’s a story that I like, so I hope the story gets out. I have no idea what kind of impact it will have on Veggie Tales as a property; I just hope that people enjoy the film.”

A Talk With Jay Russell
What Is Life Without Magic?

“One of the things that struck me early on was the symphonic structure of the screenplay,” says Russell. “The story has the same rising and falling, and the repetition of motifs and themes. It’s a very similar structure. I don’t know if that made it easier for me, but it certainly gave me an insight into storytelling. When I set out to make a film, I go through this process where, for me, it’s important to hear the music first. By that, I mean a general sound and style. And sometimes I’ll carry with me to the set certain pieces of music that are inspiring certain images in the story… it gives me a basis for the film, if that makes any sense at all.”

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