|South By Southwest 2011 Interview - "Caught Inside" director Adam Blaiklock
by Jason Whyte
Caught Inside - At SxSW Film
"Ever been stuck with a friend who crosses the line? A remote surf trip to paradise turns into a nightmare when sexual tension, manipulation and deceit erupts into violence as the Alpha male finds himself on the loosing end of a love triangle." Director Adam Blaiklock on "Caught Inside" which screens at this year's South By Southwest Film.
Is this your first film in SxSW? Do you have any other festival experience? Do you plan to attend the festival screenings?
This is the North America premiere of my film. Caught Inside is my first feature. SxSW is the perfect festival for our film. The film played at the Sydney Film Festival and won the Audience Award. I am looking forward to being in the audience and seeing how an American audience responds to the film.
Could you give me a little look into your background, and what led you to the desire to want to make film?
I’ve always wanted to make films. I studied at The Australian Film & TV School. Did a student exchange to NYU. Then started developing scripts in Australia. Tried directing TV and hated it (shooting 13 minutes a day isn’t my idea of directing), then settled into directing commercials.I love watching films, they entertained, challenged and educated us. It is my desire to tell stories and effect people that made me a director. It is, and always will be, a very powerful medium.
Growing up, you were no doubt asked the eternal question “When I grow up I want to be a …”
“When I grow up I want to be… The guy that made "Star Wars". As I got older it was the guy that made Mad Max, then the guys that made Raising Arizona. Now that I have finally grown up, I’m happy being known as Adam Blaiklock.
How did this whole project come together?
Through sheer determination and insanity. We backed ourselves and went out and made the film. Convincing the Australian Governement to let us head to the Maldives and make a film, no matter how we pitched it, just sounded like a junket. They said ‘no’, we said, ‘try stopping us!’
There may have been a few rude words in my response too.
What was the biggest challenge in the production of the movie, be it the script, principal photography or post-production stage?
Definitely principle photography. I had a cast and crew of 16 people, living on 2 boats in the middle of the ocean for 4 weeks. Shooting chronologically. No one could get off the boat or leave. If one person had of been (badly) hurt or lost control it would have all fallen over. Luckily I was supported by a cast and crew who gave everything they had and believed whole heartedly in the film. I’d do it all again tomorrow. It was the most amazing working experience of my life.
Please tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film’s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.
Imagine trying to convince a cinematographer to shoot this film? It’s on a boat, you get a Sony PDW 700XD HDCAM, and a camera assistant. No grips, no gaffers and three battery powered LED light panels. One of which fell over the side of the boat in the first week. Oh yeah, and the whole film is hand held. I asked Andrew Lesnie, and he "politely" laughed at me. In stepped Damien Wyvill, just off 2nd unit on "Australia". He believed in the script and was up for the challenge. The man is incredible. It was the first time in my career where I successfully said, “I’ll look after the performance, you get the coverage”. Usually that sentiment lasts 2 days. Damien was brilliant with coverage and composition. We had a great working relationship. I learnt a lot from him.
It is incredibly liberating working with a small crew. The focus become purely about what is in shot. No energy is wasted on unit, catering and all those things that don’t end up on the screen. It is all about performance and telling the story with what is available to you.
Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world? Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this project in particular?
My biggest inspirations are the filmmakers who just go out and make a career even though they are told it cannot be done. I remember the stories of how Peter Jackson made ‘Bad Taste’ shooting for two years every Sunday. Robert Rodriguez being a medical drug test patient in Austin to finance "El Mariachi". Those two directors, and there are many more, believed in themselves and won’t die wondering.
Inspiration for this film came from Phil Noyce's "Dead Calm", Roman Polanski's "Knife in the Water", Coen Brothers "Blood Simple" and Scorsese's final act of 'Cape Fear'.But in terms of one film influencing how I wanted the audience to respond, Billy Corben's doc "Raw Deal: A Question of Consent" had a big effect on me. I love films that make the audience question where they stand ethically.
How far do you think you would want to go in this industry? Do you see yourself working on larger stories for a larger budget under the studio system, or do you feel that you would like to continue down the independent film path?
I want to make films that find a large audience simply because people want to see them. It was incredibly liberating working on a film with a limited budget and therefore enormous creative freedom. Working with a healthy budget is something I plan to do next time. It is about telling
a story I believe in. Some stories cost more to tell. Whatever it takes, whatever the script deserves. I’ll happily do both.
If you weren’t in this profession, what other line of work do think you would be involved with?
I think I would plant trees.
How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?
I think in terms of a cinema release it plays a huge role in helping an independent film find an audience. Unfortunately, the chance for "word of mouth" isn’t usually fast enough to keep a film in a theatre. Luckily, word of mouth through social media will help the film its audience in the DVD, VOD and ITunes market.
If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?
I’m so looking forward to screening the film at the Alamo. Beer and pizza in a cinema? That’s as good as it gets! I know that sounds like I am kissing ass to the SxSW festival, but beer and pizza in a theatre, which genius invented that? I hope he/she is from Texas, I’ll buy them a beer.
What would you say to someone on the street to see your film instead of the latest blockbuster playing at the local megaplex?
Ever been on a surf charter in the middle of paradise with a beautiful girl and a psychopath? I promise you’ve not been to this place before.If they looked like they where still going to see the Blockbuster I’d say, “OK buy the ticket to my film, then once you’ve passed the guy
collecting tickets go and see your blockbuster, it’s in theatre one”.
What would you say or do to someone who is talking during or conversing/texting on their cell phone while you’re watching a movie?
At the Alamo, I might ‘accidentally’ spill my beer on their phone and slap them in the face with my slice of pie.
What do you love the most about this business of making movies?
If we do our job well, we can effect the way people think.
No doubt there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers at film festivals who are out there curious about making a film of their own. Do you have any advice that you could provide for those looking to get a start?
When they say ‘NO’, make your own ‘YES’. Because anyone who lives within their means suffers from lack of imagination. There are ways outside the box. Never give up. Just grab a camera and go.
And finally…what is your all time favourite motion picture, and why?
Raising Arizona. Why? Because I have seen it more times than any other film and I still love it as much as I did the first time.
This is one of the many films screening at the 2011 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 11-19. For more information on the film’s screening, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
Twitter: @jasonwhyte Facebook: jasonwhyte
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=3195
originally posted: 03/10/11 17:00:57
last updated: 03/10/11 17:02:28