Filmmakers in Focus - Double Play and Seeds of Time

Written by Jim Kolmar | March 9, 2014

Filmmakers Gabe Klinger and Sandy McLeod

Two very different, but equally thoughtful documentaries in today's Filmmakers in Focus

Gabe Klinger talks about Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater, his Austin shot documentary on the eponymous filmmakers and cinephiles. It's as much a character study as it is a love letter to film, and it's not to be missed.

Sandy McLeod's Seeds of Time is a prescient, troubling but gripping investigation of the future of food. It shines an eye-opening light on a looming global crisis, with great vision and a keen sense of cinema.

Read the rest of our Filmmakers in Focus here, and browse our schedule here.

Gabe Klinger on Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater and James Benning in Gabe Klinger's Double Play

Tell us a little about your film.

It's part of the French documentary series on filmmaking Cinema, de notre temps (Cinema of Our Times), which was founded over five decades ago by Janine Bazin (André Bazin's widow) and Cahiers du cinéma critic André S. Labarthe, mainly for TV, although some of the films have snuck their way into theaters.

I was inspired by several portraits in the collection: Jacques Rivette's three-parter about Jean Renoir, Claire Denis's playful entry on Rivette, and Iranian filmmaker Rafi Pitts' candid and very funny look at Abel Ferrara, among many others... I pitched the idea to do an "episode" on Benning and Linklater and Labarthe was able to take it to French TV (Canal Plus) to get us a little bit of money to shoot it. I think for Europeans it's very exotic to see these two American guys playing baseball and simultaneously talking about art and filmmaking in a very serious way... I was definitely aware of those expectations when conceiving the project, although I think the finished film is working on its own terms and doesn't have one particular audience in mind.

Why did you start making films?

It's a strange compulsion, making films... For me everything about it is very artisanal... there's no assembly line process, no formula... It's about a necessity to work on something with your hands, to engage in it with every part of your body. It's also a way out of loneliness, since filmmaking is ultimately a community-building exercise... Jean-Luc Godard once defined cinema as "[the] goodwill for a meeting".

Have you been to SXSW before? Yes - any tips? No - What are you most looking forward to?

No, but we shot our film in Austin and environs, so what I'm most looking forward to is reuniting with our local crew, which included talented people like Berndt Mader, Justin Hennard, Seana Flanagan, Peter Simonite, Reed Smith, Andrew Segovia, Taylor Thompson, and Lindsay Stillman. I'm also looking forward to seeing friends from the Austin Film Society, who were enormously friendly and inviting during our shoot, and visiting the newly refurbished Marchesa for the first time.

Tell us a random fact (or two!) that would help our attendees get a better idea of who you are.

Well, it's not exactly random, but one of the main things to know about me is that I'm an omnivorous cinephile... As a film history teacher and researcher/writer, I try to look at films from all countries, periods, production systems, etc. etc., to get a better understanding how things came to be the way they are and to try to predict where we're heading as a cinema culture... Again, not random, but that sort of tells you who I am... i.e. one of those guys who takes movies way too seriously.

Sandy McLeod on Seeds of Time

Image from Sandy McLeod's Seeds of Time

Tell us a little about your film.

Agriculture as we know it is not sustainable. This is a film about people who are trying to prepare us for the pressures that will make it more and more difficult to sustain agriculture and therefore ourselves...by preserving our seeds. A little known issue that has potentially devastating consequences.

Why did you start making films?

I felt that it was a great medium for individual expression.

Have you been to SXSW before? Yes - any tips? No - What are you most looking forward to?

Yes, it's was too long ago...

Tell us a random fact (or two!) that would help our attendees get a better idea of who you are.

I am a filmmaker who is concerned about our collective future. I would like to use my skills to help pave the way for what I think could be a better way forward.

*Gabe Klinger image courtesy Gladys Glover
Sandy McLeod courtesy the filmmaker