Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Take 5 with ... "We Didn't Get Famous"

Camilla Ann Aikin
As we gear up for the 10th anniversary Oxford Film Festival, we wanted to introduce you to the filmmakers and their films you will experience on Feb. 21-24, 2013. Meet Camilla Ann Aikin, director of "We Didn't Get Famous: The Story of the Southern Music Underground, 1978-1990"

#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it. 
Told by a host of colorful characters and musical icons, this is the story of an all but forgotten moment in music and Southern history, but one that was extremely influential in the evolution of rock'n'roll and reflective of a regional identity.

#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
The best parts of making this film were my subjects. After years of forming and refining the idea for my film, it finally came to fruition. My first step was getting in touch with the people I wanted to interview. I was shocked by the enthusiastic and swift replies I started to receive, and ended up being able to interview almost all of the musicians on my "wish list" of participants. In person, every interviewee was so warmhearted, inspiring, articulate, and generous with their time and memories. All of these people were enormous musical heroes of mine, so at first the idea of working with them was daunting, but I came out of the experience truly feeling like I had all these new friends and incredible insights.

The biggest lesson I learned is to allow for an organic narrative to evolve, and not try to control or force it into any preconceived direction, when doing documentary work. Be open to the new ideas, stories, and paths that might arise from your subjects, because so many important, and real, things that you may never have thought of will emerge.

#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
 After years of being drawn to but only minimally dabbling in film making, I found my passion for documentary film making when I began the Southern Studies graduate program at the University of Mississippi. I have since completed two documentary films, including We Didn't Get Famous, which served as my Master's thesis, and The Beacon, which I made about the legendary Oxford diner with two other students, and am continuing to work on new projects.

#4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?
My hope is for many people to see this film, enjoy it, and perhaps even identify with it, for the music or the expression of Southern identity. I would love for it to be shown at more festivals, in all areas of the country, and reach the widest audience possible. Eventually I would love for it to find a distributor, someone who believes in the film, and can help bring it to more viewers, on a larger scale.

#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
I am currently sending the film to festivals across the country, and hoping it will reach a larger and more geographically diverse audience, so that non-Southerners can gain some insight into and understanding of a side of Southern culture not often represented in the media.

I am also finishing work on another documentary about an independent record store in Daphne, Alabama, and hope to start new projects in the near future.

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