Find out why he has been here in 2006, 2008 and now 2012.
Monday early evening, I was sitting in the Filmmakers Lounge drinking hot tea and reviewing which films I would like to see later in the night. A well dressed gentleman walked in and asked if I wouldn’t mind if he had a seat. Considering I was sitting alone at a table for five, I said of course not. I learned he has a film in the festival and asked if he would do a quick interview with me. While he waited on his vodka martini, I pulled out my iPad and started to record our conversation.
Filmmaker: Dominic DeJoseph
Film Short: Turn It Off (12 minutes)
Film Synopsis: A couple on a no-tech camping trip finds an otherworldly device that sends their relationship into a tailspin.
Next Showing: Wednesday, April 18, 2:00pm (Shorts 1 Time Will Tell)
Is this your first time visiting Sarasota?
No, it’s the third time actually. I had a film here in 2006 called Johnny Berlin, a documentary, and in 2008 I had Johnny Berlin Part 2.
How were those films received?
Both films were about a modern-day hobo living on a train and out of dumpsters. People really seemed to take to the quirky comedy documentary.
Why did you choose Woodstock, NY for the location of Turn It Off?
I wanted to shoot in a location that would be free without permits, I needed the woods and I had a friend who had a house there with woods in the back.
How long did it take you to shoot your film?
It was shot in three days on a Cannon 5D –DSLR. Edited in one week because I wanted to get it into Sundance. We did not get in and I’ve been tweaking it ever since.
Have you won any awards in the past for your films?
Not that I remember, but I’m not a competition-minded person. Maybe that’s why I don’t tend to win awards. I think maybe one of the Johnny Berlin films won some award at some point in time, but I don’t remember.
How does the Sarasota Film Festival compare to some of the others you’ve been to?
Sarasota is a great smaller festival. They treat the filmmakers really well and it’s nice to be invited back again. Tom Hall, the director, is great and really knowledgeable about film. Last time I was here, Werner Herzog was here and that was really cool. I think it’s one of the better smaller festivals.
What is the buzz on Sarasota’s reputation in the film festival world?
Every filmmaker that I’ve met and known that has come to Sarasota has said it’s a great festival and they’re very happy to come here because of that.
How long are you staying at the festival?
What are your hopes for the future of your film Turn It Off?
Zero hopes! I made it because I felt like it was something that needed to be said, sort of a Twilight Zone episode about obsession with technology. I felt like I needed to make the film, wanted to make the film, I didn’t spend very much money making the film so it wasn’t an unreasonable thing to do.
There are a lot of outlets for short films but not many that pay. I don’t have any hopes for it in terms of making my money back or distribution, but I do hope it gets seen, if anything on YouTube. I have not put it online yet but will after the festival is over.
Will you continue to make films?
I make documentaries and music videos for money. I’ve done a lot of work with the band R.E.M. in the past. Now R.E.M. is not together anymore. I made their final music video with Kirsten Dunst and another one with John Juno and Michael Stipe co-directing. I’m hoping to continue to do some of that with other bands in the future that I like, but I only like to work with bands that I love. Documentaries I’ll continue to do and short films if I can find the funding.
Yes, of course I want to continue making films, but the economy is in a state right now where I don’t know where this money is going to come from anymore. It’s really just sort of um…. It’s a crap shoot, let’s just put it that way!
If you have seen Turn It Off or plan on seeing it, please share your comments about it below.
To learn more, visit www.blackshoefilms.com