Thursday, January 16, 2014

Road to Sundance 2014: Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns (short), directed by Joe Callander

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a filmmaker?
My name is Joe Callander. I was working a marketing job in 2008 and decided I did not want to spend the rest of my life working a marketing job. So I quit and flew to Thailand to make a documentary on a Vietnam veteran who was pursuing a PhD degree and falling in love daily in Bangkok. We met a few years earlier, in Perth, Australia. 

Tell us about your film. What inspired you to make it?
Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns will be playing in Narrative Shorts Program II. I was working on a larger feature-length project at the time. While interviewing Tim and Susan, it came up that they had matching handguns. The story didn't fit with my feature project, but I thought it was romantic, like a Texas version of matching tracksuits. So I cut it into a tiny little short.

What do you love about your film?
I love my characters. Tim and Susan are dear friends of mine and I can't thank them enough for their patience with me during production.

How long did it take you to make your film?
Three hours.

How did you finance your film?
I am the Filmmaker-in-Residence with the Saddleback Leather Company. I made that job title up myself. But the job is quite real, and a product of Saddleback's Founder and CEO's crazy, and usually brilliant, ideas on what a marketing department should look like. Saddleback Leather financed the film as part of my residency. Dave Munson is awesome and his wife Suzette is pretty cool too. Once again, that's S-A-D-D-L-E-B-A-C-K L-E-A-T-H-E-R. 

What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process and how did you overcome it?
I did everything by myself. I run my own sound, run the camera, do the interviews, all the editing, everything. That has been quite a challenge. But it's also made me a much better filmmaker, so there you go. No excuses kids. Grab the gear and hit the streets. It's gonna get worse before it gets better.

Tell us about your experience getting into Sundance.
It felt like a relief, more than anything. When I decided to have a run at filmmaking, there was never a plan B. And if there was, I probably wouldn't have made it, because it's been pretty brutal. Lots of destitution, desperation, psychological fissures, and crying. I'm just relieved the past six years have not been for nothing.

If you had to make the film all over again, would you do anything different?
I'd frame the shot of the two guns on the table differently.

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?
Oscilloscope Labs bought my film and they're putting it on iTunes. It's the first short film they've ever acquired.

Can you provide any advice to other filmmakers who dream of getting their films made?
Write, shoot, edit, watch. Close that loop 150 times and you'll be in Sundance before you know it. And be prepared for a lot of failure. Getting into Sundance is usually built upon years of failure and rejection. Never give up.

What Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns on YouTube here:

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