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South By Southwest 2014 Interview – PRINT THE LEGEND directors Luis Lopez & Clay Tweel

Print The Legend - At SxSW 2014
by Jason Whyte

“PRINT THE LEGEND is a time capsule of the exponentially growing 3D printing marketplace, capturing companies growing from garages to high rises in just a few years. But at its heart, the film is an examination of the compromises and challenges inherent to growing any business.” Directors Luis Lopez & Clay Tweel on their film PRINT THE LEGEND which screens at the South By Southwest Film Festival.

Is this your first SxSW/Austin experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

We will be attending all of our screenings, as will several folks from our film. We’ve both been here with films before in various roles, but this is our first time as directors, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Your favorite barbecue/food in the city?

We’re excited to explore just about everywhere, but we enjoyed Bubba’s when our team was filming here with Cody Wilson, the man who designed and printed the world’s first 3D-printed gun. We also love Thunderbird Coffee, which fueled us through our long days of Austin filming.

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also what have you worked on in the past?

Luis has been to SxSW with THE NETWORK, which he co-produced and edited; PUNK LIKE ME, which he associate produced and shot; and THE KING OF KONG, which he edited, shot, and associated produced. Clay has been to SxSW with THE KING OF KONG, which he also edited, shot, and associated produced. Clay, Luis, and Steven our producer also had MAKE BELIEVE at the Austin Film Festival, and we all love that the city has a great combination of a down-home, fun-loving vibe with a real appreciation for sophisticated art, music, and cinema.

How did this whole project come together from your perspective?

At the very beginning, we actually didn’t know we were going to focus on 3D printing. Our producers Walter, Chad, Dan, and Rafi came to our team with the idea of making a documentary about Apple. Given how much we loved Walter Isaacson’s book, we felt that ground had been well trod, but we loved the layered things Steve Jobs had to say about the American Dream myth. So we countered with the idea of diving into the world of emerging tech to try to find an innovation at its Apple II or Macintosh moment, so we could follow the next Steve Jobs or Apple. We filmed at accelerators, universities, hacker hostels, hacker spaces, and conferences, and augmented reality and 3D printing really stood out as our most fertile worlds. That was right around when the Wired cover featuring MakerBot’s Bre Pettis was published, and we raced to Brooklyn. The moment we walked into their tiny, crowded, buzzing offices, we were hooked. Their technology literally dropped our jaws and made us giddy. It was like magic. Before long, we narrowed focus entirely on the consumer 3D Printing market in the US, and we were off to the races.

What was the biggest challenge, or challenges, in making the film?

We’ve never had to make a documentary with or about companies before, and that’s a challenge unto itself. Each party in the film has a vested interest in controlling their narrative.

If you had to pick a single favorite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

We fired an assault rifle for the first time with Cody Wilson in Austin, and the Formlabs party in Boston was both fun and a cool moment in their story to be around for.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee?

Enormous volumes of coffee. Nespresso should get a very special thanks credit. And a passion for diving into very specific worlds, 3D Printing in this case, and staying open to the human stories unfolding there. We love trying to tell stories about why people do what they do, and hopefully pushing for, and finding, universal stories.

I would love to know about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

We’re very close to the director of photography…because it’s us! We also leaned on a number of talented cinematographers across the country to help us cover local things when we couldn’t travel there. We used the Canon c300 and c100, and those cameras have changed the game for us, allowing us to make much more cinematic choices than we could in past documentaries. Our “fly on the wall,” gorilla-style approach forces us to be as small and mobile as possible, ideally without downgrading our footage quality.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie at SxSW?

Very early in our process, we said explicitly to each other that “SxSW would be the perfect place to premiere this film.” Here, technology and storytelling amplify each other, and the audience is so tied to the Maker ethos that issues we explore are of direct, especially personal relevance.

If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Honestly, the Alamo is a destination screen for us always! Otherwise, we’re truly honored to screen anywhere audiences will appreciate it! On another note, the Alamo Drafthouse is hands-down the best place to see a movie in the country, and their teaser using the voicemail of the patron kicked of the theater is a classic.

What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film?

While we’d hope ushers and other audience and community members would help make sure nobody does anything that limits other peoples’ viewing experience, if the person was in close enough proximity we’d dump a bag of popcorn on their head.

There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers both at SxSW and reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

How amazing that we can truthfully say this: there’s never, in all of history, been a better time to be an aspiring filmmaker. Amazing cameras with real lenses are accessible. Editing software is accessible. Get your hands on some with collaborators, and make, make, make. Do. That’s the only true way to learn.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2014 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 7-15. For more information on the film’s screening, point your browser to

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jasonrcwhyte

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originally posted: 03/07/14 17:15:19
last updated: 03/07/14 17:17:03
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