Thursday, 1 August 2019

Interview with filmmaker Saxon Moen

The Debt Of Maximillian will be screening at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
I played around with my father's camcorder when I was young, but never really appreciated cinema till I had a fine arts class that had nothing to do with film in college that introduced me to the meanings and metaphors of cinema with a film directed by Wim Wenders titled "Wings of Desire". After that, I was so intrigued that I watched as many art films as I could. I still love traditionally told stories that simply focus on our basic wants and needs, but I ultimately lust after great art films. Because they open up a door in my heart and mind like nothing else. 

*What inspired you to make your movie?
The story is about someone who is addicted to sports gambling. The story is based on my younger brother who won a lot and lost a lot while sports gambling. One week he was up $25,000 and the next he'd lost it all. I saw a side of him that I had never seen before. It was a mystery to me since I didn't know what he was really doing. 

*How has your style evolved?
I'm a fan of simple filmmaking and I like focusing on finding that emotional punch that can make a scene or entire movie stand out. Imagery is important to help evoke an emotion and I'll always be drawn to a nice shot (i.e. composition, lighting) but after doing this film, I've realized that strong characters with deep issues are more interesting to me. I'd like to work on this aspect of filmmaking on the next film.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
I was on a no-budget so I couldn't get a bunch of locations, so I shot 5 separate scenes in one small room (2 hospital rooms, bank office, a character's apt and a bedroom). For the bedroom scenes, I didn't have access to a queen size bed because at the last minute it was discovered to have bed bugs. So I took my small single sized bed and turned it sideways and shot it from above to make it look like a queen size bed. One more thing, the little girl in the film was acting alone the whole time. She was terrified with acting with strangers. I couldn't setup a pre-meet so she could get to know the actors ahead of time because of the distance to where she lived. On shoot day she backed out and so I shot all the actors as if the little girl was there. Then on another day about a week later, I shot the little girl with just me feeding her her lines.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Create without judgement. Rebellious rules that spawn rebellious works of cinema. Art that breaks convention can be hard to obtain, unless the artist focuses on breaking convention. These mentioned rules can help an artist down the path of focusing on doing what's in their creative mind rather than what is acceptable art. The purpose of art is to shine a light on what most people fail to see or just refuse to look at.

*What can we expect from your next film?
I like dark films and thrillers, even psychological horror. Human-centric stories will be my focus and I want to aim to go deeper psychologically to speak what's on my mind and in my heart.