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Martin I. Petrov

Cine-voyeur. Festival traveller currently based in Glasgow, UK. 

Festival director at WoFF: World of Film International Festival Glasgow. 

Festival Coordinator at MIAFF: Montreal International Animation Film Festival 

Writing reviews, articles and a passionate interview lover. 


Josh Mond on his debut feature James White


Josh Mond is a New York based director and producer. In 2003 he established Borderline Films with fellow filmmakers Antonio Campos and Sean Durkin which brought to light the film festival success Martha Marcy May Marlene, which Mond produced. James White is his debut feature film, starring Cynthia Nixon (Sex & the City) and Christopher Abbott. The film portrays the relationship of Gail with her son James. Diagnosed with final stage cancer Gail is making an attempt to maintain a healthy relationship with James, who is struggling to find his way, still being unemployed and relying on the strong relationship with his mother, the only family bond he has after his father passed away. A tender single character story becomes an in depth analysis of human psychology and the impact of loss, loneliness and self-destruction. 


Can you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Cynthia (Nixon), since most people associate her with Sex & the city, and are not familiar with other things she’s done. 

Well, Cynthia is a legend in theatre. She’s worked with acclaimed producers and directors like Robert Altman and Mike Nichols. In NYC she’s done many successful theatre appearances. So, in terms of how we worked together, I didn’t have to do a lot. She was really at ease with sharing her personal experiences and also really helped me sharing mine. She brought truth to the part and to the film itself, I felt very safe working with her. 


She has a great on screen connection with Christopher as well… 

Oh, yeah, they are both extremely generous. I had to just observe them and I was learning all the time. They’re extremely honest and authentic. 


Were they your first picks for the parts? 

It all happened very organically. With Chris we had worked together on Martha Marcy May Marlene, which was his first film and we’ve been very closed friends for the past 6 years. I really thought of him when I started writing the script and then at some point I just called him and told him that I was entirely writing it fro him from that stage on. As for Cynthia, she got the script, read it and after we met and discussed it, we felt that we have a connection. 


How did you get inspired for the story? 

I was working on other projects at the time and this gave me space to dig into my own personal experiences. I lost my mother to cancer about four years ago and I also grew up in New York, just as the character, so I wanted to explore and understand my feelings as well. 


So was the film your way to process and digest personal experiences? 

Definitely. Even talking to you know is a filter for process, and the film was the first, and the biggest one. You always have a reason to explore what is hard to answer. A lot of people involved in the film had similar stories to tell and similar experiences so we were all connected in a way. 


Everyone going through hard times can relate to the mother-son relationship, independently of the actual background of it. But James’ character seems lost and appears to be more dramatic than his dying mother. Did you imagine him in this light since the beginning? 

Well, I was quite lost at the time, I also had troubled adolescence. That’s what made me import some real life chaos into his character. 


Do you think that he would finally come stronger out of this challenge and become more empowered to face life in the future? 

I don’t believe that this happens a lot in real life. You’re losing the person you love, you don’t know how to deal with it. And when this person dies, you feel relief and at the same time guilt. It takes time to process the death - I don’t believe that you can just erase your feelings overnight. But still, everyone has their own experiences and it’s up to them to continue or not their life. 


James’ mother is trying to force him to take decisions for his life that he’s not ready to face. Is this partly because he also lost his father at an earlier stage in his life? 

His mother is definitely only looking fro that bright side in him, trying to bring it to the surface. But, no, even if his father was alive he wouldn’t be around, so that’s not the case I guess. 


What does the future hold for Borderline Films now that all three of you have made your debuts as directors? 

We don’t really have a plan or a schedule, but we are definitely supportive of each other and we look forward to great new projects.


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