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South By Southwest 2014 Interview – I'M NOT SORRY director Russell Costanzo

I'M NOT SORRY - At SxSW 2014!
by Jason Whyte

“My film is about a disturbed guy who is lonely and wants to fit in but is just incapable of it, so he catfishes someone online into going out with him and has a really unexpected time with her. It’s really a story about wanting to be something you’re not.” Director Russell Costanzo on “I'M NOT SORRY” which screens at this year's South By Southwest Film Festival.

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

First time at SxSW and first time in Texas! I will be at the first two of four screenings on Saturday, March 8th at 11:15am and Monday Mar 10th at 2pm.

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

In a nutshell, I went to NYU to study film, read scripts for LionsGate and Focus and shot a handful of shorts; one of them won Top Prize at the LA Shorts Fest and won a huge prize package which enabled me to make the feature version of the short (“The Tested”), which stars Aunjanue Ellis, Armando Riesco, Frank Vincent and is available on Netflix and iTunes.

How did this whole project come together from your perspective?

My son was about to be born and I knew I had to shoot something soon or I might not be able to for a long while. I can be a master procrastinator but also thrive under pressure and deadlines; son being born is the best “deadline” there can be!

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

Honestly, this was the easiest shooting experience I have ever had. The whole thing came together very easily; I grabbed my friend who’s a dp, he has contact to a buddy with the RED Epic, then I contacted my actor friend Clyde who recommended the other main actor Christina and we scheduled it and shot it in 3 days. I suppose getting the restaurant location was the hardest part.

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

Shooting the restaurant scene because Christina was so unexpectedly AMAZING, and also building the freezer shot at the end of the movie. I don’t want to ruin it for you but we built a freezer on a rig and it was a lot of tech geek fun!

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

Just the sheer excitement of seeing how things will turn out, and adrenaline. I don’t eat when I shoot; maybe an apple, half a sandwich and 15 bottles of water but other than that, pure adrenaline.

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 had done about five shorts so I didn’t want to do another one unless I could try new things, so we shot this on the RED Epic with anamorphic lenses and I’ll tell ya, once you go RED anamorphic you cant go back! Fucking cinematic as hell! I also wanted to push myself creatively so our story has a pretty sudden tonal shift and I love it and am so proud of how it turned out My relationship with my director of photogra is amazing. Rob Woolsey is someone I have known for ten years; super positive, and gave me some of the best looking footage of my career.

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

How the film will play to a “film audience” . We have only had one small screening for cast and crew friends, so I'm interested to see how a roomful of film people will react to our bizarre little headcase of a film. Will they get the humour? How will they handle the tonal shift?

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to screen?

I’d love to play Tribeca but missed the deadline. I submitted to LA Film Festival and am about to submit to LA Shorts Fest, but other than that Toronto would be AMAZING!

Alamo Drafthouse and Paramount theaters in Austin aside, if you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

Ziegfeld in New York. I used to crash premiere parties at the Ziegfeld so I hold it as a highly regarded place to screen.

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

Im sure someone would get to them before me since ill be pacing in the back. I once screamed out “Turn your cell phone OFF!” during a screening and it backfired and caused much more of a disturbance.

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?

I know this can be annoying to people, but honestly: just shoot. Its easier said then done, but you HAVE to get out there. No one is going to just give you a film to shoot so you have to make it happen. The cameras are affordable, editing software is affordable, plenty of actors always want to work. The only real obstacle are locations, so write with the locations you can get and go out and STOP PROCRASTINATING!

And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have seen at a film festival?

Impossible to answer, sorry, but I DID get to see “American Psycho” at Sundance which was a really hot ticket at the time and that was really exciting!

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 04:34:29
last updated: 03/07/14 05:10:29
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