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SXSW '07 Interview: "1 More Hit" Director Shauna Garr

by Laura Kyle

The “1 More Hit” pitch: The filmmaker finds her friend, a once-successful rap producer, homeless and addicted to crack. For two and half years, the two try everything to overcome the musician's 10-ton habit.

Describe your movie using the smallest number of words possible.
Love, crack, and hip hop.

Is this your first trip to SXSW? Got any other film festival experience? If you’re a festival veteran, let us know your favorite and least-favorite parts of the ride.
This is my first trip to SXSW. I went to a few smaller festivals years ago. My favorite part was Q&A after the screening and my least favorite part was Q&A because inevitably there’s someone in the audience who challenges something within the film. They have hecklers at film festivals, you know.

Back when you were a little kid, and you were asked that inevitable question, your answer would always be “When I grow up I want to be a …” what?
At first I wanted to be a psychologist but things changed after a therapist I interned for suggested I was better suited in the entertainment business.

Not including your backyard and your Dad’s Handycam, how did you get your real “start” in filmmaking?
While in college, I did an internship at a local news station (fetching dinners and delivering updated copy to anchors during the broadcast) and then I got my first gig working as Merv Griffin’s assistant because I could type 80 wpm. After working on his show "Wheel of Fortune" for a few years, I convinced some of the crew to put our experience to work on something socially relevant. With their help I made my first documentary on beta cam called Coming Across, which was about refugee kids who had fled from war-torn places like El Salvador, Vietnam, and Iran to Los Angeles in the late 80s. Coming Across was played in schools throughout the country throughout the 90s and I still get a royalty check today.

Do you feel any differently about your film now that you know it’s on “the festival circuit?”
A few people think it should be seen beyond my Macintosh screen. I’m anxious but excited to see an audience reaction. We played our trailer for students at UCLA and they were yelling back at the screen. I loved that.

Of all the Muppets, which one do you most relate to?
Sorry, but I wasn’t allowed to watch the Muppets. But my 12 year-old daughter says Kermit is cute and he helped her learn the alphabet with a funny tune he rapped.

During production did you ever find yourself thinking ahead to film festivals, paying customers, good & bad reviews, etc?
Of course, but reality has a way of slapping you in the face and eventually you stop forecasting because it absolutely does not contribute to anything.

How did this film get rolling at the beginning? Give us a brief history from writing to production to post to just last night.
It began when I saw my friend J Swift (a rap producer) sitting under a tree in Hollywood cleaning out his crack pipe. I made a short little tape about him which was pitched as a reality show and when the pilot was pulled after four weeks of taping, I was left alone with a bunch of footage. J Swift inspired me to keep going and I decided to use the footage for a feature film. Along came one single person who believed in it, Enzo (editor and co-producer). We spent the next 18 months shooting J’s story and editing simultaneously. I went broke until last night when I was handed a million dollars (that’s called thinking ahead).

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?
If you believe something should get shot because it will make a difference in your film, don’t be lazy, find any means to get it shot.

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition?
The director Alfred Hitchcock and the films Lady Sings The Blues and Rosemary’s Baby always affect me.

Did you watch any movies in pre-production and yell “This! I want something JUST like this …only different.”?
March of the Penguins was the closest I got to seeing something like this but very different. Swift and the penguins both have a hard road to travel.

What actor would you cast as a live-action Homer Simpson?
My daughter says Kevin Costner.

Say you landed a big studio contract tomorrow, and they offered you a semi-huge budget to remake, adapt, or sequelize something. What projects would you tackle?
Imitation of Life

Name an actor in your film that’s absolutely destined for the big-time. And why, of course.
Method Man, because he has dramatic and comedic skills and…he’s one of my best friends.

Finish this sentence: If I weren’t a filmmaker, I’d almost definitely be...
an author with several kids.

Who’s an actor you’d kill a small dog to work with? (Don’t worry; nobody would know.)
Paul Newman

Have you “made it” yet? If not, what would have to happen for you to be able to say “Yes, wow. I have totally made it!”
I would sound ridiculous if I ever said that. .

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?
That depends on if your film aims to be a commercial blockbuster or a critical darling

You’re told that your next movie must have one “product placement” on board, but you can pick the product. What would it be?

You’re contractually obligated to deliver an R-rated film to your producers. The MPAA says you have to delete a sex scene that’s absolutely integral to the filmor you’re getting an NC-17. How do you handle it?
I’d remove the visuals and go with sound only.

What’s your take on the whole “a film by DIRECTOR” issue? Do you feel it’s tacky, because hundreds (or at least dozens) of people collaborate to make a film – or do you think it’s cool, because ultimately the director is the final word on pretty much everything?
I don’t have an opinion on that.

In closing, we ask you to convince the average movie-watcher to choose your filminstead of the trillion other options they have. How do you do it?
Only come if you can handle it.

1 More Hit will premier at the 2007 SXSW film festival. For more information, click here. Also be sure to click here for more movie info! And check out for even more info!

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originally posted: 02/24/07 12:50:04
last updated: 03/07/07 09:19:55
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