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VIFF '09 Interview - The Red Rooster director Terry Miles

The Red Rooster - At VIFF '09
by Jason Whyte

“A lyrical trip through beautiful British Columbia, with adultery.” Director Terry Miles on the film “The Red Rooster” which screens at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.

Is this your first film in the VIFF? Do you have any other festival experience? Do you plan to attend VIFF for the screenings?

This is our second time at VIFF (“When Life Was Good” screened at VIFF 2008) and there will be a bunch of us at both of our screenings, including myself and the cast.

Could you give me a little look into your and what led you to the desire to want to make film?

I came from the world of indie rock but always loved cinema. It was Woody Allen’s Manhattan that made me start writing. After I’d written a few scripts I thought I should probably learn how to make a film, so I started making music videos for my bands…after that I developed an obsession with World Cinema, and everything grew from there.

Growing up, you were no doubt asked the eternal question “When I grow up I want to be a …” Finish this sentence, please!

When I grow up I want to be allowed to do whatever I want. If it wasn’t for the amount of money involved in making films that wish/statement would be close to coming true.

How did this project come to fruition? If you could, please provide me with a rundown, start to finish, from your involvement.

I really wanted to make an English language version of the type of cinema I could only find in other languages -- aside from Gus Van Sant -- slower paced and a bit more subdued, subtle. I believe North American cinema has been getting more and more sentimental and overly emotional, both in the writing and in the performances, so I wanted to try and make something that had a bit more narrative “space.”

What was the biggest challenge in the production of the movie, be it principal photography or post-production?

Making a feature film for under $10,000 is always a challenge. Scheduling is a nightmare when people are working on a profit sharing system, but we were all friends before we started, so we made it.

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.

I shoot and edit my own films, so my relation to the cinematographer is complicated. As a director I was focused on the performances and as a cinematographer I was obsessed with the framing and the light. We found a nice middle ground (although there is one scene that I would have loved more time, more light…but there’s always one scene).

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world (directors, actors, cinematographers, etc)? Did you have inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

Christopher Doyle is an inspiration, both as a cinematographer and as a drinker, Gus Van Sant, Hong Sang Soo, and Woody Allen of course.

If you weren’t in this profession, what other career do you think you would be interested in?

Photography, Novelist, maybe, but I’d probably still be making movies and funding them by doing whatever they’d pay me to do.

Please tell me some filmmakers or talent that you would love to work with, even if money was no object.

MadsMikkelsen, Stine Stengade, Ulrich Thomsen, Paprika Steen, Judy Davis, Justine Bateman, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Hilmir Guðnason, Lars von Trier, the list is so long!

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 suppose it’s important for the type of small films I enjoy making and watching, however, the big studios continually pump out shit and people still go, no matter what any critic says. The most universally reviled studio film makes money, so they keep making lowest common denominator shit; the broader the better. It’s embarrassing to be human sometimes.

If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?

Alamo Draft House in Austin, TX or the Angelika, NYC.

What would you say to someone on the street to see your film instead of the latest blockbuster playing at the local megaplex?

I don’t think the Megaplex crowd is going to willingly see my film no matter what I say…but…please go see it?

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?

If you have something to say, you’ll say it. If you have a film in you, it’s easy to find talented people that will work with you to make it a reality. If you’re the kind of person who relies on others, it’s never going to happen. If you’re a filmmaker you will find a way to make films. And remember, a feature film is only about 30% more work than a 10 minute short…

And finally…what is your all time favourite motion picture, and why?

It changes almost every single day. Today: Manhattan, The Passenger, Scenes from a Marriage…whoops, that’s three!

This is one of the many films playing at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. For more information on the film’s screenings, showtimes and update information, point your browser to – Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 10/08/09 18:52:43
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