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SXSW '06 Interview: 'The Treasures of Long Gone John' Director Greg Gibbs

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Treasures of Long Gone John' Pitch: A chronicle of the eccentric art and musical obsessions of a self-described anti-mogul of the music industry, indie record producer Long Gone John.

Describe your movie using the smallest number of words possible.
A documentary chronicling the collecting obsessions of indie record producer Long Gone John.

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.
I have no film festival experience whatsoever.

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?
An artist.

Not including your backyard and your Dad’s Handycam, how did you get your real “start” in filmmaking?
I started out art-directing music videos for Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.

During production did you ever find yourself thinking ahead to film festivals, paying customers, good & bad reviews, etc?
I honestly made the film for myself and truthfully don't care. But I'm a liar.

How did this film get rolling at the beginning? Give us a brief history from writing to production to post to just last night.
I came up with the idea of doing a short film shot with the Panasonic DVX 100 (which is the greatest camera in the world) about the vast art collection of Long Gone John. In time, I realized that he was at the nexus of a burgeoning art movement. I also felt he was a compelling character with an interesting life story. When I discovered that the artist Todd Schorr was embarking on a large portrait of him, I knew I had a feature documentary.

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?
Making a trailer based on a good idea will bring in the money you need.

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition? Did you watch any movies in pre-production and yell “This! I want something JUST like this …only different.”?
Revenge on The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

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?
Meet the Feebles. Better than Citizen Kane, even today.

Name an actor in your film that’s absolutely destined for the big-time. And why, of course.
Rube Ruben. He's a natural.

Finish this sentence: If I weren’t a filmmaker, I’d almost definitely be...

Who’s an actor you’d kill a small dog to work with? (Don’t worry; nobody would know.)
Peter Sellars...if he were alive.

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!”
If I could pay my bills on time.

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?
What's worse than an art critic? A film critic.

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

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 film or you’re getting an NC-17. How do you handle it?
Bring me the head of Jack Valenti.

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 personally enjoy the dictatorship of being a Director.

In closing, we ask you to convince the average movie-watcher to choose your film instead of the trillion other options they have. How do you do it?
I would explain that this is a film about culture in the most unlikely of places...Los Angeles. A cool biography of an eccentric collector and his eclectic collection told in narrative by the artists and musicians who know him. Featuring a wall-to-wall rock 'n roll soundtrack, cool art, animals, skulls, lightning bolts. What more could you ask for?


The Treasures of Long Gone John, directed by Gregg Gibbs, will premiere at the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for festival information.

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originally posted: 02/16/06 08:35:04
last updated: 02/16/06 22:43:01
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