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SxSW 2016 Interview: HUNTER GATHERER director Josh Locy

by Jason Whyte

"Andre Royo plays Ashley Douglas, a lovable fuckup who gets out of jail and tries to get his ex-girlfriend back. I really like what a friend of mine said; "HUNTER GATHERER is like MIDNIGHT COWBOY told by a third grader." Director Josh Locy on HUNTERER GATHERER which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film.

Congratulations on having HUNTER GATHERER screen at SxSW 2016! Are you planning to attend your screenings of the film?

I will be attending my screenings. I'm excited to feel the energy of the room and gauge peoples' responses to certain elements of the film. That information can only help inform the next story I want to tell, and how.

Great! How did you get your start in the film business?

I started in film by cold emailing Mark Romanek from a small, podunk town in east Tennessee where I went to college, looking for an internship. Through him, I ended up interning at Anonymous Content, the company that reps him for commercials and music videos. From there, I started working on commercials and meeting people, eventually joining the art department and working my way to being a production designer on commercials and an art director on features.

How did HUNTER GATHERER come together for you?

I had been friends with David Gordon Green, Alex Uhlmann, and Brandon James at Rough House. They championed the film early on and gave the script some credibility with which I got a casting director and a couple of producers. A friend of mine got the script to Andre Royo, and once he signed on the script became a project. Cinetic came on board to help find financing and connected us with Isaiah Smallman and the Mama Bear people as well as Michael Covino and the Unbundled Underground team, who co-financed HUNTER GATHERER.

I would love to know about the visual design of the film. Let's get technical.

We knew we wanted the entire movie to be handheld to allow for quick movement from setup to setup, and because I knew one of my good buddies Sean McElwee would be operating, we chose the Alexa Amira which is a bit lighter and wouldn't torture him too much. Director of Photography Jon Aguirresarobe and I tested a bunch of different lenses and filters and ended up going a Black Pro-Mist filter to dirty it up a bit and take away some of the digital crispness. Jon and I didn't get much prep time so we worked hard to establish a general plan of attack that we could adapt to our various locations. We wanted to keep our approach very simple and straightforward while still embracing cinematic compositions and finding a nice balance between natural and cinematic lighting. This mirrored the simplicity and straightforwardness of the script, as well as the naive tone of the film. Jon is an amazing DP and has a wonderful eye for composition and lighting. We worked well together, challenging each other to trust our instincts and the audiences' ability to comprehend what we were doing.

What are you looking forward to the most for your SxSW screenings?

I'm looking forward to the Q&A's after our screening because I hope they will give me an accurate perception of how well the film communicates to the audience and how exactly it was received. I'm also excited to explain my thoughts as I wrote the script and elaborate on the work our team did throughout the entire process.

After the film screens at SxSW, are there any dream venues of where you would like to show the film?

I would love to screen our film in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is a place central to my extended family and lifelong friends. It is important to me for them to see my work. We have all invested in each other's lives and I want them to see how their investment in mine paid off.

What would you say or do to someone who was talking or texting through a movie screening?

I was watching SON OF SAUL in a theater the other day. The couple next to me was talking throughout the opening of the film, which is a scene where we learn that the film is about the Holocaust and dozens of people are being herded into the gas chamber. I was so distracted and angry at the couple. I looked at them with shock and said "This is an Auschwitz movie. Are you really going to talk throughout it?" They stopped.

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I was wondering what the ONE THING you would say to them as a piece of advice?

Filmmaking, like any great endeavor, is "a long obedience in the same direction." Pardon the Nietzsche reference. Learn from everything you do. Be curious about everyone you meet. Experience every situation you are in. Remain patient with your maturation and development. Keep your ideas written down, you may need them later! Find the emotional core to your story and don't lose it. Stay hungry! Pardon the Schwarzenegger reference.

And finally, what is the best film you have ever seen at a film festival?

I was blown away when I saw Rick Alverson's THE COMEDY at the Rotterdam Film Festival. I guess I should say I was confused at first, and unsettled. I had certainly met those characters before but I have never seen a story told that way. After thinking about it for days, I realized I had rarely seen a film that brilliant and funny and irreverent.

Be sure to check out HUNTER GATHERER online at!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview as part of our coverage of SxSW 2016. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. 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 2016 SXSW in Austin, Texas taking place March 11-19. 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

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 03/12/16 01:28:41
last updated: 03/12/16 01:35:37
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