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SXSW '05 Interview: 'Giving It All Away' Director Paul Davidson

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Giving It All Away' Pitch: The remarkable story of philanthropist Sir Roy McKenzie and his father JR. A beautifully crafted film telling a story of wealth, achievement, generosity and caring about others.

"Tale of struggle, achievement, Kiwi community hero."


Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
Yes, first time at SXSW. A few NZ and UK ones. First US Festival.


When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
Taller.

How did you get started in filmmaking?
Engineer turned photograper turned educator turned storyteller turned doco maker.

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
Poorer (bought return air ticket NZL - AUS), busier (dealing with Festival interviews etc), happier (film getting recognition)

How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
Long story. Pondered idea, Pitched proposal, won Roy W Dean Award which kick-started project, raised part funding and sponsorship, called in favours and family, shot as funds available, borrowed money, completed majority of post using own time and facilities, 18 months script to screen.

What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
Making an independent film outside of "the system" is just as hard in New Zealand as anywhere else.

When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
No more than usual. I did lots of subject research (it's a doco) and case studies on getting your film funded.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
Memphis Belle - so much potential, so much Hollywood.

Two parter – name an actor you'd KILL to work with, and then name an actor in your own film that you really think is destined for great things.
Sean Astin. Most of the people in my documentary have already done great things

The festival circuit: what could be improved? What's been your favorite part of the ride?
Haven't ridden far enough. The pre-production for SXSW has been superb.

Have you ‘made it’ yet? If not, at what point will you be able to say ‘yes’?
Nope. When state-funded broadcaster Television New Zealand shows this film to the Kiwi people.

A film is made by many people, including the director (of course), but you'll often see movies that open with a credit that says “a film by…” – Did you use that credit in your film? If so, defend yourself! If not, what do you think of those who do?
Yes I did - though it's not my usual style. But having conceived, researched, scripted, production managed, gaffered, interviewed, audio mixed, edited, colour corrected, produced, directed, part-funded and begged whatever favours I needed to get it made, it didn't seem over-the-top. Secondly, the opening music is nice and I needed one more visual to fill it.

--

Giving It All Away, starring Sir Roy McKenzie, will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information.


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1358
originally posted: 02/17/05 19:46:07
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