Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take 5 with "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History"

(Producer Paul Fehler, left, Director Chad Freidrichs, right)
As we gear up for the Oxford Film Festival 2011 to be held at the Malco Studio Theater on Feb. 10-13, 2011, we thought we might introduce you to some of the people behind the movies we can't wait to show you.

Meet Take 5 filmmaker, Paul Fehler, producer of "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth: an Urban History."
For the full schedule and description of the films, visit

Q. 1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.

A: Cities changed profoundly in the 20th cen.These changes have been imperfectly understood.Film provides hard truths to replace easy fictions.
Q. 2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?

A: The biggest lesson I've taken from the making of the film is that difficult or complicated events resist simplification; but that we as humans have have a very real and understandable desire to see things simplified.

In this way, the person who does the simplifying for us is doing us a kind of favor; but in so doing, he or she is also controlling -- in small or large ways -- how we remember the event, the importance of the event, and the conclusions we take from the event. For events that are the most important, or events that are most heavily simplified, the distortions and errors introduced can be quite large.

The best part in getting this film -- or any other film I've worked on -- made was the opportunity to interact with and learn from dozens of people with specialized knowledge and experience. It's edifying and humbling and fascinating and I thank my good fortune for having had the chances I've had to share time with these people.

Q. 3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?

A: My name is Paul Fehler and this is the third film I've made with the director Chad Freidrichs, and my co-producer Jaime Freidrichs. We've been making documentary films for eight years now. Our other documentaries are "Jandek on Corwood" and "First Impersonator". We've been most fortunate to have added another producer, Brian Woodman, to our time for "The Pruitt-Igoe Myth".
Q. 4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?

A: I, personally, would be most happy with a distribution scheme that best got the film watched and discussed by people interested in cities, architecture, and urban studies; as well as historians, academics, and public housing residents. I think that the film is an important one, insofar as it can add to our understanding by exploring the ways in which certain ideas have been misrepresented.
Q. 5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?

A: The subject of my film would seem to warn against someone making bold predictions for "what the future holds in store", so I'll hope you'll forgive me for my coyness in this regard. I'll just say that I'm quite excited, will that do?

Our next project is always eagerly and excitedly discussed, but nothing has been selected.

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