Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Interview with filmmaker Johnny Clyde

The Forgotten Colours of Dreams will be screening at Straight-Jacket Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?In 2012 I moved from America to Germany in hopes of finding some way to make movies in some capacity. Six months in I got lucky and found someone who wanted to fund a short film. So I quickly wrote one and found a crew and made it. It was a terrible film and a horrible experience and I never released it publicly. I then tried to find funding again but realized I wasn't really ready to make a movie with money even if I could find it. So I went to Scotland for a month and made a feature film with roughly 500 pounds. The experience taught me a lot but this film also was a disaster in post so I turned it into a short film, Noctiflora. Frustrated with spending years at this point trying to make films and not really having anything to show for it, I decided to try again only this time being true to myself. Not thinking about any kind of audience. Just making something I'd want to see. Which I feel like a fool for not having realized that sooner. So I bought a VHS camera, had saved up about 200 euros, and was fortunate enough to have friends willing to join me on that film, which became The Forgotten Colours of Dreams.
*What inspired you to make your movie?When I was 19, I worked as a film projectionist at a theatre. I absolutely fell in love with film during that time and realized I couldn't find happiness in life without making films in some way or another. In high school, I made approximately 100 hours of videos, mostly goofy, with my mom's DV camera. I'd stay home "sick" from school and make stop motion films with old toys and things like that. So I think it was always apart of me, but working with celluloid as a projectionist definitely told me I can't do anything else. 
*How has your style evolved?I grew up in a small town and didn't have any artistic friends. My knowledge of art was extremely limited. I basically knew the names of famous classical composers and read a few of their biographies but that was it. So it wasn't until meeting my wife that I expanded my artistic knowledge. She showed me a whole world I never knew before and together we dived deeper and deeper into cinema. This is all very recently but this knowledge has taken hold of our entire lives. I did not even know who David Lynch was 5 years ago. So it felt a bit like really becoming truly alive for the first time when I saw my first Tarkovsky film, Nostalghia. And my first Ruiz film and so on. I think in a way maybe this upbringing benefited me, because I feel so freshly aware and excited about this art like a baby learning words.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
My wife, Viveka Frost, actually made a documentary about the whole film. It's called "With a Breath." and is free to watch on youtube. There are of course some things that aren't mentioned in that film. 
I only had 200 euros and had already spent most of it trying to buy a VHS camera that actually worked properly. I bought three until the fourth one finally worked well enough. The tapes were all extremely cheap because they were bought from an airline getting rid of their old training videos. At no point during shooting did we think we'd actually pull the film off. We never had a complete script. We never had full confirmation from all the actors, we never had secure locations, sometimes actors would only be there for a day or two. It's completely wild that nothing really went wrong.  I'm having a hard time thinking of strange or funny stories though since we shot the film three years ago now. A fox stole our bread once and tried to take my microphone. 
Like I said though, it's weird, nothing really went wrong.

The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?  
It reminds me that you really can do whatever you want. There are no rules. Rules only exist for commercial products and what's the fun in that?

What can we expect from your next film? 
I'm currently in pre-production on three new feature films and shooting a strange nature documentary at the moment so I'm not entirely sure what's going to come out first! I'm really excited though, I feel like I'm getting closer to my truth with each project.