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Guy, Madeline and Damien Chazelle
Today I have Damien Chazelle, the young and visionary director of Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009), an eclectic stimulating and chic film about love and music, break-ups and jazz.
ME: Daniel, you just got back from Serbia and now here you are. Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009) and what it is about and what inspired you to make this story?
DAMIEN: GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH is a musical, about two lovers in the aftermath of a break-up. I shot it in Boston on black-and-white 16mm, and it's a sort of low-budget riff on old Hollywood musicals I love.
ME: I cant believe this film! I mean, it really feels like something out of late 50s cinema or something! It's stunning and so authentic! Maybe you were a jazz musician in you past life! lol! I see that you have won a few awards with this film within US? And now after Viennale and Torino you have found distribution with Variance Films. Can you speak about this?
DAMIEN: It's been crazy traveling with the film and screening it around. I started the movie originally as my senior thesis in college; I got graded on it my first term of senior year. So it's been a real whirlwind. I'm very happy to be working with Variance Films on a U.S. theatrical run. The movie will open in New York City on November 5th, and expand to other cities from there. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
ME: How has your film been received in other international countries? Are you still on festival tours with it?
DAMIEN: I'm not traveling abroad too much with the film right now, and am focusing instead on the U.S. release and my next projects. That said, the Sarajevo Film Festival just this past week was one of my favorite festival experiences of all. I'll also be screening the film in Russia as part of a jazz-centered series in St. Petersburg in September, which I'm very excited about.
ME: Wow! You're really doing the circuit! How did you get into filmmaking? Basically, you worked on your first set as cinematographer and then only one year later jumped into the role of directing! And now you are winning awards at festivals! That is incredible!
DAMIEN: I always wanted to be a filmmaker, plain and simple. I've worked on other people's films as a cinematographer (I shot GUY AND MADELINE as well) and in other capacities, but my main focus has always been writing and directing. To have had some success with my first feature has been fantastic -- I got lucky!
ME: I see that you have a film in post-production called Actressing (2010). Can you explain a bit about that? And, this is great, you are going back to cinematography as your other half directs? I love it!
DAMIEN: ACTRESSING is an indie film I worked on, directed by my wife and partner in crime Jasmine, who is now almost finished with her own first feature, MARIA MY LOVE, starring Judy Marte and Karen Black. It's shaping up to be a really stunning film, so she and I are both very excited about it. In general, Jasmine helps me with everything I do, and (I'd like to think) vice versa. She produced GUY AND MADELINE, but her involvement in it was so important I'd really call her a co-creator of the film.
ME: Also, congratulations on your recent wedding! It must be great to work as a team with your other half?
DAMIEN: Thanks so much! Yes, it is great working with Jasmine -- it definitely helps that we're in the same boat, with the same goals. For me personally, having a second opinion/sounding-board/co-conspirator always helps, so I don't know what I'd do without her!
ME: Awe! That's awesome! It's so amazing to find a team within your family. You guys are so young too and everything is just beginning for you! Super inspiring! Well, the best of luck for Guy And Madeline as well as both of your upcoming projects and future ones! Thanks Damien! You and Jasmine rock! :-)
Interview by Vanessa McMahon, August 06, 2010
read all about Damien Chazelle's film here:
view film trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2NWRydVjA8
stills from film!
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