Friday, January 15, 2010

Take 5 with "Danse/Florae"

The 7th annual Oxford Film Festival is getting closer every day. Before we kick off another fun-packed festival, we thought we would take five with filmmakers and get to know them just a little better.

Tripp Watt and his wife Jenna's experimental film "Danse/Florae" plays Saturday, Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. as part of the experimental block. This is the film's national premiere. Tripp talks about his love of filmmaking and learning how to shoot in New York below.

OFF: In 10 words, describe your movie and why someone should see it. 

TW: Danse / Florae is a composition that juxtaposes human form with organic visuals, set to classical music from Sleeping Beauty.

OFF: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

TW: The biggest issue with shooting in New York is the extreme difficulty in finding a place to actually shoot, especially when there is no budget involved. Even the shadiest warehouse spaces on the outskirts of the city are owned by someone who does not want artists clogging up its vicinity. We had just moved to New York a few months before creating this and we just could not believe how impossible it was. You mention "film shoot" and suddenly everyone is asking whether you have insurance, security, etc etc. With help from our landlord, we ended up finding a place on the outskirts of Queens within an old church that was currently being renovated. A day later my sister arrived in the city and we shot everything in one day. Location was our biggest battle....

OFF: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

TW: I (Tripp) began filming on my parent's Handicam in Elementary school. My friends and I would dress up as Mortal Kombat characters and throw fake blood all over the place while our parents filmed it. Later in high school I met Jenna and we began experimenting with stop motion animation together. We would hole ourselves up in my parents' basement and take thousands of pictures of dinosaurs attacking barbie dolls and whatever else we could scrounge from my sister's toybox. A handful of years later, after dropping out of art school, we got married and moved to Manhattan. Currently we work as freelance directors and animators under the name Phantasmic.

OFF: What’s your dream distribution plan for the film?

TW: This is our first film we have submitted to festivals. Being a short experimental piece I wouldn't imagine it being distributed.

OFF: What’s the future hold in store for your film and for you? 

TW: Danse / Florae was an experiment for us as artists. For this film we threw out our traditional ways of working and adapted new ones. We were inspired to try something completely new and in a positive sense I feel that we achieved what we were hoping for. It was mostly a learning experience.

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