August 31, 2013 Leave a comment
Name: Daniel Watkins
Film: Fun World
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your film?
I am 27 years old and have recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA from Orlando, FL. For the past few years I’ve tried traversing the increasingly fine line between experimental and narrative filmmaking, only to realize that there exists no good reason that the two should be kept apart. My work as of late has attempted to aesthetically, and ideologically blend these two worlds with one another.
In Fun World I work within the aesthetic discourse of narrative cinema and use that established grammar to play against viewer expectations, in turn dismantling any preconception one could have regarding the images meant to logically proceed other images. An example can be found in the film’s second shot as we move through a child’s birthday party. The move at first appears to be a dolly towards the Mother, yet as we pass her it becomes a move towards her son, but we ultimately pass him, and move towards an empty booth. A shot that, at various moments in its duration seemed to have a specific focus, is revealed to have no true subject. This is an example of the plurality of the undefined image; “une image juste” rather than “juste une image.” When you refuse to define your images you open them to a multitude of possible meanings, thus freeing them from the “image stream” and releasing them to a much larger series of histories. Not simply a history of cinema, but also a history of images. Through this technique one can approach what Robert Bresson defined as “cinematography.”
Who/what inspired you to embark on a career in Filmmaking?
Memory is all we have to give context to our present, and as such our histories are ever evolving; existing in time just as much as space. I have come to focus on moving images as a medium, because, with the introduction of time to finite space, film becomes the only medium that can accurately portray the multiplicity of those histories.
As humans I think we have this inherent need to synthesize our experiences. We post pictures on facebook, we make scrap books – filmmaking is merely an extension of this need, and as I explained above, film is medium perfected. Photography, painting, etc., only capture space. They can allude to time; to suggest it, but the moving image is the only medium (with the exception of sound) that can capture it.
What does being a part of the Bootleg Film Festival, NYC mean to you? Their’s is an ethos I truly respect. Those making an active decision to exist on the fringes of art making, like so many of us have, are part of a noble undertaking; those resigning themselves to inspiration, and the fulfillment of vision as sustenance. I am proud to be among their ranks.
All-time top 5 movies (as of this date, we all know it changes daily)?
1. A Woman is a Woman
2. The World
4. Mutual Appreciation
Favourite film related website?
Mubi.com. Though I don’t agree when they digress into image fetishism, the aspects of film they choose to focus on usually transcend the superficial in an interesting way.
What advice would you give to first time filmmakers?
When making a film, know what you want. Have a definite answer for every creative question you encounter during the process. If you do not have total faith in your decisions, then those around you can easily lose faith in you. Also, don’t get so bogged down with narrative structure. The tone of a piece has more residual effect on an audience than a “properly” executed beginning, middle, and end.