Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Road to Sundance 2013: Concussion, directed by Staci Passon

The All About Indie Filmmaking Road to Sundance 2013 Feature begins with a Q&A with Director Staci Passon. Her film is titled Concussion and will be playing in Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition:

Concussion Director, Staci Passon

Production Still from Concussion

Tell us about your film Concussion. What inspired you to make it? 

Basically the idea came out of my friends and I all having mid-life crises at the same time. I saw a lot of my friends break up, divorce, having problems but choosing to stay together. It begged the question, if you're disatisfied and the rules don't make sense anymore, what do you do?

What do you love about your film? 

The people who helped me make it. The time they took, the dedication to craft something. I like the aesthetic of the film, the way it was shot. I love the performances. But one of the things I love the most is the production design by a brilliant young woman named Lisa Myers. Lisa and I just clicked right off. She floored me with what she came up with. She made on thrilling choice after another. She has a sense of color and texture that I love.

How long did it take you to make your film? 

It took a year and a few months. We took a two-month hiatus to do the IFP lab and to take a breath. But because it was written so quickly and actors came on to do it so quickly, we were able to be up and running in a few months and then have some time to work on the piece and refine it.

How did you finance your film? 

Private equity. We had an investor in mind when we began named Cliff Chenfeld, who we knew and trusted and it's been incredible working with him from day one. I think it's wonderful to know your investors, to know them to be reasonable and about making the movie. Cliff is great.

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it? 

The shooting schedule was twenty two days. I always wanted more time for acting. I loved watching Robin work, and Maggie. I wish sometimes we could have pushed a little more out when we were losing the light and battling street noise. But luckily, there are genius sound technicians in post and wonderful ways to find fixes for changing light and I'm glad we kept shooting even through those obstacles, because we were able to fix so much in post.

Tell us about your experience getting into Sundance. 

Shari Frilot called and I told her she must love her job and she said, today I do. It was an enormously joyful moment. I also felt a sense of relief because my team had worked so hard and I wanted this for the film and for them. It's been an enormously gratifying experience so far. Sundance is one of greatest national treasures, now I'm convinced.

If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different? 

A million things, but then I wonder if I would have gotten the same result, so that's a tricky question. You're sort of always wondering to yourself if what your doing to motivate is complicating the process, or adding to it. If I had more time, or people, or money would it have been better. I don't think it would have actually. 

What’s next for your film? Do you have distribution? If so, when and how can people see it and if not, what are your hopes for the film? 

My hopes are that we land with someone who believes in it, that it can be part of the conversation and that people will see it and hopefully get something from it. I see it being released in 2013.

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made and into Sundance?

Don't think about festivals, just think about what your central question is, what it means to you, and how you feel. And then make your film. In terms of Sundance, getting involved is the first step I think. Showing an active interest, networking, involving yourself in the labs if you can. It's a highly competitive environment I know, but I feel if you reach out in some capacity you'll be able to find some way, some kind of access.

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