PRODUCTION NOTES • STORY
When I was a kid I had a folder labeled “Ways to go back in time/enter other worlds.” I never actually put anything in it, but I still have the folder, and the feeling that there might be a way. And meanwhile, moving forward through time, minute by minute, day by day, has turned out to be its own challenge – no less science fictional, and in moments, almost as impossible. This movie is about that.
It seemed to me, a woman in her thirties, that time had suddenly become the protagonist of my life; I was stunned by a new awareness of mortality, of life being finite. I suppose this marks the beginning of adulthood. Or, if you are not quite ready for adulthood, it marks the beginning of a problem.
Jason responds to this predicament like an artist should; he isn’t making anything, but his decision to be led by mistakes and coincidences is the creative process. He’s not without doubt, but he keeps his faith, which leads him somewhere new. I wanted to show the side of creativity that is spiritual, even a bit mystical, and more about surviving life than about performance or production.
Meanwhile, with no less determination, my character, Sophie, attempts to create a YouTube dance – this is the other end of creativity, the entirely goal-oriented desire for attention. I try to keep that craving in my blind spot, and go about life as Jason does. This was easier ten years ago, when wanting attention was still shameful, and getting it was hard for most of us. The Internet has both exposed and created a more acute awareness of our need to be reacted to. You only have to unplug it and bam – you are in a profound crisis, facing the empty void without distractions. As a writer, I have to make my way through this crisis on a daily basis. But what if I couldn’t?
It would be like a horror movie. I would be so disappointed in myself that I would literally break up with myself, and then (because this is a fantasy) I would be completely taken care of, like a child. This would take place in a very clean house in the suburbs; a house with nice sheets. But there are two big flaws in this fantasy: 1) I would have to leave my soul mate. And 2) no one would have time to watch me every second. And it would really have to be every second, because I know that if I had even a moment alone, my true self would haunt me, and this would be a nightmare. It was very painful to act all of this out.
And even if you flee your life, I think you still end up in the same place in the end. You still have to be you, you still have to make the dance. It’s just much harder, and some important things are lost along the way. So this story is also told from the point of view of what was lost – a cat. Paw Paw tells the truth simply and is completely exposed, like someone just born or someone very old. He was the only way I could describe the bittersweet vertigo of true love. Which is the thing that got me thinking about mortality in the first place.
Jon Brion (Composer)
In a decade, Jon Brion’s film and music career has developed in exponential proportions. Brion is a singer, songwriter, composer, music producer and instrumentalist. As a film composer, he recently scored the hit comedy The Other Guys (2010) starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, along with films such as Synecdoche, New York (2008), Step Brothers (2008), The Break-Up (2006), I Heart Huckabees (2004), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Punch-Drunk Love(2002) and Magnolia (1999). High in demand as a producer and studio musician, Brion has worked with artists that include Kanye West, Dido, Macy Gray, Rufus Wainwright, The Crystal Method, Jude Cole, Susanna Hoffs, Sam Phillips and the Eels. Brion contributed much of the sound on Aimee Mann’s two solo albums, and also produced Fiona Apple’s debut album Tidal,as well as much of her second album. In addition to his collaboration with top artists, Brion as a performer released his first solo album, Meaningless, in 2001.
Andrew Bird (Editor)
Andrew Bird is a British-born film editor who lives and works in Hamburg editing feature films as well as documentaries. Since the mid-nineties, he has collaborated regularly with Fatih Akin, and has also worked with directors including Sebastian Schipper, Monika Truet and Uli Gaulke. He has received a number of awards for his work, most recently the Deutsche Filmpreis 2008, the 2008 German Film Critics Award and the 2008 German Editing Award for The Edge of Heaven by Fatih Akin. He had also worked internationally with directors such Xiaolu Guo and Julie Delpy, among others before meeting Miranda July in Los Angeles in the summer of 2010. Selected credits include She, A Chinese (Xiaolu Guo, 2008), The Countess (Julie Delpy, 2006), Comrades In Dreams (Uli Gaulke, 2003), Head-On (Fatih Akin, 2002), Warrior Of Light (Monika Treut, 1999), and Absolute Giganten (Sebastian Schipper, 1998).
Nikolai Von Graevenitz (DOP)
Nikolai Von Graevenitz was born in 1972 in Berlin where he still resides today. He began his career in film as a camera assistant before shooting his first film as Director of Photography in 2001 – a very successful film school project that went to festivals all over the world and won the “Prix Regards Neufs” at Nyon International Documentary Film Festival. He has since worked with several prominent young German directors on feature films including The Forest in the Trees by Maren Ade (Special Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival 2005) and Hotel Very Welcome by Sonja Heiss (Dialogue en Perspective Prize, Berlinale Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2007.) He has also shot a number of short films, commercials and documentaries, and enjoys the diverse challenges of working between a variety of genres and projects.
Gina Kwon got her start in independent film working with Miguel Arteta and Matthew Greenfield, most notably on “Chuck & Buck” and “The Good Girl”. She produced the Humanitas prize winning feature, “The Motel”, and Miranda July’s debut, “Me and You and Everyone We Know”, winner of a special jury prize at Sundance and the Camera D’Or at Cannes. In 2005, she won the Indie Spirit Producer’s Award. Her next production, “It Is What It Is”, starring Evan Rachel Wood, is slated to begin shooting in August 2011.
Roman Paul & Gerhard Meixner
RAZOR FILM was founded in 2002 by Gerhard Meixner and Roman Paul and produces national and international feature films from arthouse to crossover, focusing on new talent and high quality. Up to now RAZOR’s productions won two Golden Globes, were nominated twice for an Academy Award and premiered and were awarded at major festivals worldwide.