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netribution > features > interview with rick schmidt > page two

Yup, that's Lars and Thomas adding their stamp of approval
Would you say that Dogme 95 is the first time that "low-budget" is a stylistic choice rather than a financial one?
I think "low-budget" has always been an aesthetic choice. You can make your movie your own way when you pay for it! The main trouble is that filmmakers try to do their 2nd feature 'The right way or the Hollywood way because they experienced failure. Please believe in yourself and your peculiar way of seeing and editing! Be an artist with a vision and a lifetime of exploring on your own terms...just like the great artists, painter and sculptors did. That's the big payoff!
Was the decision to follow the manifesto made from the onset or during production? What made you choose it?
Before we shot, all seven "directors" (Vow of Chastity signers: Maya Berthoud, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Dave Nold, Lawrence E. Pado, Marlon Schmidt, Rick Schmidt and Chris Tow), read the manifesto and decided unanimously to "go Dogme" for our 10-day start-to-finish movie we created in January, 2000 entitled Chetzemoka's Curse. I had already made contact with the Dogme 95 Secretariat and directors Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg to get the rights to run the Vow of Chastity in my book (pictured left), so the idea became more and more appealing the longer I dealt with it and covered it for my 2000 "DV" Penguin Books edition (that just came out this summer). I was happy to shoot our DV feature without lights - that just slowed things down. Have you seen how much light the lowest priced DV camera pulls from dark places in a room? Who needs lights?Do you think the limitations makes for good filmmaking?
Yes. Faster movement toward improvisational goals make actors actually 'live the parts'.How easy was it to stick to Dogme's rules?
We didn't have any problems shooting true to the Dogme 95 manifesto.

On-location creators ("Dogme signers") of CHETZEMOKA'S CURSE (Schmidt at left)
Did you devise any creative ways of getting around the limitations? Such as Julien Donkey Boy filming recorded music from a TV.
It's not a question of "getting around limitations," but of becoming more original and creative as you make your movie, thanks to following Dogme rules.How easy was it getting accreditation?
It took about three months of back and forth mail and e-mails, submitting forms, etc. Never sure we would really be accepted, we just kept trying. There's talk of the BBC setting up a Dogme 95 wing. Do you think there will ever be a studio Dogme picture?
If Dogme movies keep earning money there will probably be a Dogme Disney!If the manifesto was updated (say to Dogme 2000) would you make any changes?
I think the point is to just do the movie the way Dogme 95 founders say to do it. It's the best housecleaning you can do. My old college art teacher, Mrs. Murelius, always said what every artist needs most are limitations, without which great art is impossible).Could you tell us about Chetzemoka's Curse?
Its about a young twenty-something woman - played by Maya Berthoud...also a "writer/director", who talks to the camera about how she cheated on her first love. From there you get to watch her life deteriorate as a maid in a small town and how her bad karma affects the people she meets. We're not very sympathetic as we watch her convince a married man to cheat on His wife. But as a singer states toward the end, "Bottom Line is to Not Betray Yourself". That's what the movie's about.Has it been shown theatrically yet?
Hoping it can show theatrically after the IFFM film market in New York in September - we're trolling for a proper distributor there at the moment. We just got a great mention in Daily Variety on July 13th - a piece on page 4 called, "Reality, digital fare dominate IFFM slate", so there suddenly seems to be some real hope!!.

Maya Burthoud in the film
What about festivals?
There will be a few sneak preview showings, one in Portugal and one in San Francisco.How did you manage to make it for $4000 and what were the biggest costs?
We shot it on DV - Pro-DVCAM...using a Sony DSR-200 Sony camera. My son Morgan Schmidt-Feng, who will be shooting the Olympics in Australia, was our DP (his website: The biggest costs were camera rental, video tape for filming and dubbing, food and Avid suite hire for editing.As only the second ever US Dogme film I imagine it will get a lot of attention. Was that a factor in choosing to use the manifesto?
We had no idea that we'd finally get the official certification from Denmark. It was just another crazy getting "Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices" published and like continuing to make no-budget feature films over a 30 year period so that maybe I'd finally become good at it!


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