For an indie debut, you spent a lot of money on the look of the film. Could you discuss the importance of both photography and the music to your filmmaking process?
We didn't spend a lot of money on anything, but all of the money we had was put into the camera department to capture the landscape and environment in a way that would be cinematic. -- To me, film is the perfect blend of pictures, performance and music. To create an evocative mood, tone or atmosphere, they really need to compliment each other and bring the audience to a new sense of place.
You cite 'Days of Heaven' and 'McCabe and Mrs Miller' as important films in terms of influencing the way in which you make films. Could you explain how Robert Altman and particularly Terrence Malick influenced you?
I think those films capture time and characters in such a stunning original way. They look and feel and sound like their own creation. Like someone is behind those films waiting for you with a new emotion. Altman has characters that are alive and natural and sometimes funny and sad at the same time. -- Malick takes his time and lets shots linger and notes play through. Often left to silence. I find he can say more with a glance from a character's eye than most filmmakers say with words.
What do you feel you have achieved with 'George Washington', and were you surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response from US critics?
I have travelled a lot of the world promoting my film. That's been a huge dream of mine. If that's an achievment than that's where I stand. I love film and showing my personal projects and meeting other people equally as passionate about their work on the other side of the world. -- I was quite surprised that George Washington has found the level of acceptance that it has. I made it as a collaboration with my friends for ourselves and to share it with greater audiences has been a beautiful thing.
Could you describe what you gained from travelling around the world with your film on the film festival circuit?
Meeting new people, laughing at new jokes and living my life in neighborhoods that live in cultures I don't understand. Travel is the greatest gift and puts me in a perspective where I don't even really exist, but can sit and watch.
You have made a very mature first film and seem very comfortable making films. Did you view your life before you made 'George Washington' as simply preparation for becoming a filmmaker?
Not at all. To me, making movies is cool, but today is preparation for tomorrow and I have a lot of interests which have nothing to do with film. -- I'm thinking of new proects of art, construction, music, even long walks I need to take. If I die young, I just want to be swollen.
John Sayles once said that he tries to make the kind of films that have never been seen before on a cinema screen. Would you say that you are doing the same?
Yes. Why waste a year of your life to do something that has been done one hundred times before.
Do you see yourself as an auteur?
No. I don't really know what that word means. -- I see myself as a coach and a runner and a slave and a friend.
I heard that you were working with Terrence Malick on a film - is this true?
I've heard about a script called 'All the Real Girls' and a planned sci-fi film. What projects do you have in the pipeline?
'All the Real Girls' is a love story that I'm gearing up for as well as this sci-fi flick about genetics and shells.
Recently, I heard Tom DiCillo telling about the four years it took him to get his latest project due to problems with funding. Will you have to consider casting larger names to assure funding, or will you stay true to yourself and get funding the hard way?
Funding is hard regardless of your casting, because money comes and goes as do promises. I would never cast because of the money a particular actor would bring. If the actor was famous and appropriate, great, let's all get rich, but if not, I'm fine being poor and making films in my own time and with my own money.
Where do you see yourself going as a filmmaker in the next five years?
Hmmmm. Five years from now, I might be dead or something... I'll think about it. Right now, I'd like to go to Indonesia and play in the dirt and then come back to take a month long walk, get drunk and then make another movie. I think I'll leave tomorrow. See ya.
George Washington is out in cinemas from Friday 28th September