Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Take 5 with ... "The Discoverers"

Justin Schwartz, on set
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 Justin Schwartz, writer/director of "The Discoverers"

#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
@TheDiscoverers is a comedy about a family forced on a Lewis & Clark reenactment trek who discover themselves & each other along the way

#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
I think it was Elia Kazan that said 90% of directing is casting. The Discoverers was extremely ambitious in scope and scale and it was only made possible by my amazing cast, crew, and creative collaborators. I had the privilege of working with a dream cast - from Griffin Dunne to Maddy Martin, Devon Graye, Stuart Margolin, Cara Buono, Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, John C. McGinley, Scott Adsit, and David Rasche - who all brought a fresh perspective to their roles and embodied the careful blend of comedy and pathos that the film required. I would not have been able to make this film without my producer (and wife) Laura Kleger who shepherded the project from script to screen and stretched our budget in magical ways, my cameraman wizard Chris Blauvelt who’s unmatched at painting with light, my uber-talented production designer Kelly McGehee who brought our world to life, my editor Geraud Brisson who could argue with me for days over a cut, my composer Aaron Mirman and music-man Gregory Allen Isakov who imbued the film with a folksy warmth, our costume designer Kim Wilcox whose leathers and skins transported us back in time, our sound guru Ron Bochar who showed me that I could bring the same creative vision we strived for visually to our soundscape, and our miracle-worker producer Louise Lovegrove who steered our ship through thick and thin. While I had a very focused aesthetic vision for the film, I strived to create an environment where my collaborators could bring their ideas and challenge mine and I’m extremely proud of the work we did together and hope folks enjoy the film.

#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
The Discoverers is my writer/directorial feature debut. I went to Yale and got my MFA at Columbia University. I was a Student Academy Award Finalist and Kodak Emerging Filmmaker, and my award-winning films have screened at Cannes, MoMA, and festivals worldwide. I’ve taught film at Columbia University and The New School, was on the programming committee for the Slamdance Film Festival, and was selected for The Hamptons Int’l Film Festival Writer’s Lab, IFP’s No Borders Co-production Market, and IFP Selects at EFM’s 2013 American Independents showcase in Berlin. I currently live in New York City with my wife and infant son where I’m a partner at Quadratic Media and developing several feature film projects.

#4: What's your dream distribution plan for the film?
The Discoverers is repped by Josh Braun at Submarine Entertainment. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from distributors since our Hamptons Int’l Film Festival premiere. We’ve also been impressed with the ways filmmakers have taken control of distribution to connect with audiences and are also exploring ways we can direct distribution ourselves like Emilio Estevez did so successfully with The Way.

#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
My wife and I gave birth to our first child two weeks before The Discoverers premiere, so I’m just getting back to writing after taking some time off. We’ve been invited to a lot of great festivals for 2013 so I look forward to meeting folks across the country. We hope to be in theaters by the end of the year in the meantime, I hope you all join our film adventures at www.facebook.com/TheDiscoverersMovie.

No comments: