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SxSW 2015 Interview: NED RIFLE director Hal Hartley

NED RIFLE - At SxSW 2015
by Jason Whyte

"At once a saga concerning the Grim family of Woodside Queens and how their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of the self-proclaimed genius, Henry Fool, the trilogy is also an illustration of America's grappling with ideas, art, politics, and religion over the course of twenty years. In this conclusion to the trilogy, Henry and Fay's son, Ned, sets out to find and kill his father for destroying his mother's life (Parker Posey). But his aims are frustrated by the troublesome, sexy, and hilarious Susan (Aubrey Plaza). It's a fun, sexy, sad and hilarious drama to get you thinking about American culture all over again." Director Hal Hartley on NED RIFLE which screens at the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival.

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

This is my first SXSW experience, the US premiere of my film, and I am going to attend as many screenings as I can and do as many Q&A's as I can. I'm excited about visiting Austin.

Tell me a bit about what makes you Hal Hartley. Your bio in 100 words or less.

I am tremendously old and made films with my bare hands back before digital stuff and even before SxSW showed films. I gave up my teenage ambitions of being a rock star in my mid-twenties when I realized I could not play any instrument for the length of most radio friendly pop songs. But I had a thing for dialogue and I liked pretty women.

While this IS the concluding chapter in a trilogy, I'm still curious how did NED RIFLE come together?

I raised all the money with a Kickstarter campaign. I did every thing myself and, once the money was in place, had some friends with greater experience, producer Matthew Myers and editor Kyle Gilman hammer things into place.

What was your #1 challenge with this movie, and how did you over-come it?

Having a taste and sensibility I share with almost no one and convincing a lot of people it could work because I am a nice guy and respected in certain circles.

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be? The moment where you thought "I had something"?

Definitely when I was standing at the back of the theatre watching the film with 1000 people at the Toronto International Film Festival and knowing that they were riveted.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives Hal Hartley?

Sex. Actual or...most often...implied. There is always hope! Get through this dark and dangerous day! Flirtation is key.

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, 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.

I hope this makes sense for an aspiring filmmaker; once I write the script, make the schedule, and do the budget, I do whatever my producer tells me to do. I tell the DP what to do. Then I work for months with my editor, Kyle Gilman, who is my real creative collaborator.

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

Adoring crowds and insanely engaged response to the film.

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next?

Check out my website and Vimeo-On-Demand, worldwide in English on April 1, 2015. In theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Cambridge, Portland, Toronto, Huntington and elsewhere. Be on the look out! I also wish that I can show it at the IFC Center in NYC.
What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being generally disruptive during a screening of your film?

Pity them and leave. There are always good coffee shops near movie theatres where you can watch a film on your iPad.

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?

Make good work, on your own terms, and keep your personal bullshit detector on eleven at all times.

And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have ever seen?

Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick.

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview in our 35+ filmmaker interview series. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2015 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 13-21. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 03/10/15 08:10:21
last updated: 03/11/15 12:22:44
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