Director Amir Motlagh discusses Shooting on Canon 5D, Hopelessness and his ‘35 Year Old Man’ #indiefilm
An exciting weekend is upon us, as the 12th Annual deadCenter Film Festival is screening “35 Year Old Man,” a short film about a guy named Greg who, as the synopsis points out “turned 35 two days ago. Yesterday, he bought a toaster and cleaned the fridge.”
In a recent interview with “35 Year Old Man” director Amir Motlagh, I found out that the tiniest discoveries can lead to overcoming obstacles, his thoughts on whether age matters or not and also learned that just because short films have a small runtime doesn’t meant that they took 48 hours to complete.
Madlab Post: Does the online availability of “35 Year Old Man” hinder your opportunities to screen at film festivals? If not, have you found the festival circuit helpful in attracting online audiences?
Amir Motlagh: Yes it certainly does to some festivals. In fact, a couple have disqualified us, but gladly taken the money. In truth though, this film was never intended for the festival circuit and was going to be a “straight to web” release. We decided in the end to go both routes, and send it out to a couple fest’s and see if they wanted to premiere it concurrently with a web premiere, and sure enough, a couple festivals did.
So now, we will see if these things help one another. I’m not so much interested in how many views the project receives, but more so, how it affects those who do find it. Its far too gloomy to be viral, although Dailymotion did pick it up for a staff pick.
Greg’s delightful observation at the end of “35 Year Old Man,” about sleeping, appears to shine a ray of light on his generally somber existence. Was that part of the story intended to motivate audiences in some way, where their own lives are concerned?
It’s the tiniest of sparks that lead to overcoming great obstacles, so even in Greg’s great depression, there is a point of hope, even though, the form of this hope still lies outside his immediate realm of control. If this film elicits self reflection for an audience member, it might be a good start for action if you identify wholeheartedly with Greg’s circumstances.
Is 35, or any age for that matter, just a number? Or, is it MORE than a number?
35 is relative. This certain angle of hopelessness can occur at any age, probably starting at your teens and on. However, I chose this particular age for the film because I think that this is nearing that neighborhood where societal demands evert those extra arduous forces screaming for stability and responsibility that carries on ad infinitum.
What did you shoot on and how long did the production last?
This was an extremely small production. It was shot on a Canon 5d and a Nikon d7000 with a variety of different lenses. From principal photography to wrapping post, in all, it took around 5 months. The time could have been cut in half with a heftier budget, but I couldn’t have wished for better help.
What advice would you have for 30 year-old aspiring actors who were in Greg’s position six years ago and have plans to move to Los Angeles to further their careers?
Honestly, it’s probably easier to pursue a career as a working actor in your 30’s, then in your 20’s. For one thing, most people have moved on to something else once the dream of stardom has waned. But its certainly not for everyone, and the more kids and or family obligations you have, the harder I assume it is.
I would suppose that acting is not as centralized to Los Angeles as it once was, so, if you are doing great where you are, and happy with the type of work you are doing, do you have to move? But if you do move, the only real advice is to stay focused, do not let cynicism take over, stay hungry, starve doubt, and don’t hate your city.
On managing to make a living and still being able to continue to make more films despite the fact that his work is often available online -- in an expensive industry where many other filmmakers are trying to break even and/or pay back their investors....
“I've had great support along the way, but the direction I'm heading is different then the one I've paved. -- I spent a fruitful many days experimenting with new technology and its subsequent altering of the traditional filmmaking process. But whereas I had a deep love of the fringe, I don’t so much identify with that world anymore. I’m looking for that audience, whereas I never minded one before. And this mindset alters everything.
I guess you find a way to make it work for you, if that's what you really want to do. At this point, since my company owns most of my works, I can put them online. I was tied into some distribution deals over the years, but most expired in the last couple years, and I'd rather have the work accessible to those who find interest in them....”
“35 Year Old Man” written and directed by Amir Motlagh is screening this weekend in the deadCenter Film Festival’s “Rated ‘R’ for Ridiculously Awesome Shorts” program.
Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 7:30pm and Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 8:15pm
Both screenings are being held at the IAO Gallery in Oklahoma City, OK.
Don’t live in or near Oklahoma City? That’s ok too. You can still watch “35 Year Old Man” HERE.