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SxSW 2016 Interview: LONG NIGHTS SHORT MORNINGS director Chadd Harbold

by Jason Whyte

"LONG NIGHTS SHORT MORNINGS is an examination of modern masculinity, sex, and relationships. It is about a young man with many different women in his life, and through their eyes, we come to know him." Director Chadd Harbold on LONG NIGHTS SHORT MORNINGS which screens at the 2016 edition of the South By Southwest Film Festival.

I hear you are back at SxSW this year! Tell me about what you have had here in the past, and your favorite aspects of the city.

I produced a short film called BOOBIE that screened at SXSW in 2011, but this is my first time with a project I directed. I love SXSW because of the films, and how easy it is to see them. I love Austin because of the food, beer, and music.

Talk to me a bit about how you got your start in the industry and your previous work!

This is my third feature film as a director but the first one I really wrote. I have also produced three separate features, and directed and produced a bunch of shorts.

So how did LONG NIGHTS SHORT MORNINGS come together from your perspective?

I wanted to make a movie about young people and romance and sex, but I wanted it to be real and raw. I didn't want it to be cynical and unemotional, but I also wanted to avoid being cloying and sentimental. The unconventional structure allows those contradictions to live together. The film is told in segments, almost as seven short films, each about a couple and their night that ends in sex. But the guy is the same in all of them.

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

It's not difficult to "keep going" while making movie. It's difficult to keep going while you're trying to get the movie made; namely, raising financing. While you're making it, it's the best thing in the world. You just went through years of bullshit to get here. So I enjoy it. I drink a lot of coffee all day because I work better with higher energy. Then I drink at night, or on this movie, when I got home in the morning, to go to sleep because I am still so wired.

What was your biggest challenge with making this movie, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you, where you knew you had something special?

The hardest part of making this movie was securing the financing and casting the lead, which went hand-in-hand. While making it, there were moments, like a key crew member showing up drunk to the tech scout and having to be fired, losing a location on the day, normal shooting-in-New-York type stuff. But it went pretty smoothly.

There was a great moment when Helen Rogers, who plays the Lorraine, a singer, has to sing the song in the movie called "Cocaine Blues." We had pre-recorded it like most people do, but I always really wanted to do it live, like Nashville. After the pre-recording, we all went home, and sent it around, to the composer, to her. Everyone hated it. No one was happy with how it sounded. So we HAD to do it live. And she sounded so great on the day, and we recorded it there. I love it.

I am about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you use to shoot, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.

We shot on the Arri Alexa. My relationship with my DP is the most important one on set, other than the actors. We are the ones making the movie together. David Feeney-Mosier shot this film, and he is very cool and collected and has great taste. I wanted a very stripped down approach for this film. There are a ton of one takes. Some are obvious, some are not. Our thought was, if it can be captured adequately in one shot, that is what we do.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?

I am very interested to see peoples' reactions to the film. No one outside of a handful of friends and crewmembers have seen it.

After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next?

We have submitted to a bunch of festivals, but nothing we can announce yet.

If you could show your movie in any theater outside of Austin, where would you screen it and why?

The Walter Reade Theater, BAM Rose Cinemas, the Landmark Sunshine, the IFC Center, or with a time machine, the Ziegfeld. May the Ziegfeld rest in peace.

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

I always say something. I usually whisper loudly, "Please be quiet" or "Please put your phone away." They are being rude, but I try to be polite. If they are belligerent I'm not above telling the manager or leaving and getting my money back.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?

It has never been easier in the history of cinema to make a movie than it is right now. Don't wait for permission. Start with shorts shot outside, no lighting, with your friends. Just make as many as possible until you start getting good at it.

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


Be sure to follow the progress of the film on Facebook and on Twitter at @chadwithtwoDs!

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview in our interview series for our site. 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

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originally posted: 03/08/16 11:20:56
last updated: 03/08/16 11:26:54
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