This Friday (March 6) is LACMA’s Eighth Annual Young Directors Night—a celebration of film, showcasing eight shorts by up-and-coming directors in Los Angeles. Here, Jason Gaulton, LACMA’s membership marketing coordinator, sits down with Rani DeMuth, winner of last year’s Art of Film Award, to find out what she’s been up to since her big win, and what she’ll be looking for on Friday as a member of the judging panel.
Almost one year ago, your film The Double took home Young Directors Night’s first Art of Film Award. Where has your film career taken you since then?
Since receiving the Art of Film Award I have completed a feature screenplay. I’m currently directing a one-woman show.
Attached to your victory was a trip to the Sundance Film Festival. How was your experience there?
Sundance was awesome. The films I saw were edgy and interesting. It was inspiring to see low-budget films with such strong artistic vision.
What movies did you see? Which were your favorites, and are there any surprise films we should look out for?
Among my favorites were In the Loop, Louise Michel, Big Fan, and a short film called Cattle Call that I’m obsessed with. The political farce In the Loop was my favorite feature. I missed a film I really wanted to see called Push. I’d look out for that one, but don’t be confused by the Dakota Fanning feature with the same name!
The current economy is making things difficult across the board; film financing is down though ticket sales are actually up. How has the economy impacted your work?
Because I have yet to send out my script or look for a producer, I don’t feel affected by the current economy. I think being a filmmaker is one of the hardest things one can do. You need to accept that fact—then just move forward. It all starts with a great script. I’ve been a film snob for a long time, but maybe the economy will necessitate a digital shoot.
As a former student filmmaker on the rise and part of a generation that has a whole new bevy of technology at their fingertips, do you have any advice for those looking to advance their own career in film?
The people who make the greatest impact in the arts seem to be those who don’t look for what’s already popular and don’t think about how things progress in a linear fashion. You have to create a path for yourself because no one else will. Be as specific as possible about what you want to do, and then you may actually do it. That being said, it’s a good time to learn about 3-D cinema.
You will be participating in this year’s Young Directors Night as a member of the Host Committee. What are you going to be looking for in the films you review when it’s time to pass judgment?
Do I feel something? Am I engaged? Do I believe the story? The characters? Is there emotional truth? Can I go inside the film and move around? Is the film true to itself? Is it a self-contained world? Is there command of vision? Is there a fully realized style? Is it original?
Let’s a play a little bit of art association. I am going to give you some giants in the world of art and I want to know what director comes to your mind as the equivalent in the film realm.
Michelangelo: Elia Kazan
Salvador Dalí: Federico Fellini
Andy Warhol: Quentin Tarantino
Claude Monet: Terrence Malick
Pablo Picasso: Akira Kurosawa
Finally, I have to ask, who is your favorite director and why?
It’s a toss-up between Bergman and Kurosawa. Both are master storytellers who compellingly evoke the dream world. They were artists who moved the medium forward.
Jason Gaulton, Membership Marketing Coordinator
Just reaching out. My son is 11 and interested in the film industry. Its a little out of my element and I am looking advice on where he can get involved with a group where he can start learning the ropes about being a director. We live in West OC and I am having trouble finding avenues to explore. I know they’re out there. Please respond with any information you might have. Thank you for your time! I look forward to your reply.