Filmmakers in Focus - Faults, Kelly & Cal and The Frontier

Written by Jim Kolmar | January 30, 2014

Next up on Filmmakers in Focus, three filmmakers from our Narrative Spotlight section, which we recently revealed here on the film blog. There will be lots more interviews to follow, so stay tuned!

Riley Stearns on Faults

Faults, courtesy Snoot Entertainment

Tell us a little about your film.

Faults is about Ansel Roth, an expert on mind control (and a former minor celebrity with a talk show), who is asked by a mother and father to kidnap and deprogram their daughter from a destructive cult known as Faults. Despite the fact that the process of deprogramming isn't really legal and is definitely morally questionable, he needs the money so...

Why did you start making films?

I started making films because I liked watching films and I thought it would be even more fun to make them. I wasn't brought up in a movie crazy household so it wasn't until high school that I realized I had a passion for film (you could say I'm a late bloomer) but since then I've never wanted to do anything else with my life.

Have you been to SXSW before? Any tips?

I grew up in a suburb of Austin called Pflugerville so I used to go to the music part of SXSW as a kid. That said, I've never seen a film at the festival. I'm excited to meet other filmmakers and film fans and see a lot of films. I'm also excited about breakfast tacos. Lots of breakfast tacos.

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

I'm a terrible actor. Once Jay Leno knocked on my apartment door randomly and had my wife and me do a spoof of the film Saw and it's on youtube and it's horrible and I don't know why I'm telling you this.

Matt Rabinowitz on The Frontier

The Frontier, courtesy It's Terrific Pictures

Tell us a little about your film.

The Frontier is a film about finding out who you really are on your own terms. The characters in our film struggle with burdens and expectations put on them by others, and the main focus for them is how to break free of that and be comfortable being themselves and living their own lives without fear of disappointing others or being judged.

Why did you start making films?

I've loved films since before I can remember, my first memory is of seeing Ghostbusters in the theatre at two or three years old, but there was a very transformative weekend for me at 11 years old. My mother had rented The Usual Suspects and Seven on the same weekend, and being that they were both R-Rated films, I was not allowed to watch them. When everyone else went to sleep I snuck out of my room and with the TV on the lowest possible volume I watched both movies back to back. Sitting inches from the screen my imagination was opened to a whole different aspect of filmmaking. Film was more than a vessel for entertainment, it could tell you profound things about the human existence and the darker aspects of human nature. I was mesmerized, enthralled, I was changed. Forever after, any time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I gee up, I would immediately answer I want to make films".

Have you been to SXSW before? Any tips?

I have been to SXSW before, three years ago I was a cameraman shooting an all day showcase for a Southern California independent record company, in part for a documentary I was working on. I didn't really know what to expect and was completely overwhelmed by the sheer mass of things to do, so my suggestion to any first timers, study the program, make a schedule, and don't be afraid of waiting in lines, it's probably worth it. Also stay hydrated.

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

The first time I ever got drunk was at 16 in Paris, with a traveling crew of rock and roll roadies. I spent most of my formative years growing up in Tokyo. I've seen MacGruber over 40 times.

Jen McGowan on KELLY & CAL

Kelly & Cal, courtesy ICM

Tell us a little about your film.

KELLY & CAL is a film about identity, growing up and marriage. I think it's wonderfully acted by the incomparable Juliette Lewis and very exciting Jonny Weston. It looks beautiful and will hopefully connect deeply with its audience. It's warm and at times sweet and funny. But at this point, really the audience knows better than I!

Why did you start making films?

I started out as an actor in New York and while I was getting roles I didn't find them terribly interesting. I started making films to create work for myself. It was really a happy accident because when I did that I discovered that I enjoyed directing far more than acting.

Have you been to SXSW before? Any tips?

I have been to SXSW only once before. My short film TOUCH screened in 2010 as part of the LunaFest program. I am looking forward to everything! The movies, the panels, the music, the people, the food, the weather, the crazy!

Most of all I'm looking forward to learning how audiences respond to KELLY & CAL. Film festivals are the only place where a filmmaker has that unique opportunity to hear directly from the audience. It's very special.

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

I have two dogs - Rocky & Ellie. I have lived in LA for twelve years and I finally love it. My husband, Phil Lott, is the wonderful DP who shot KELLY & CAL.