Following the screening of spotlight film Burma, director Carlos Puga, producer Brett Potter, and actor Christopher Abbott hung around to answer some questions from the audience.
CP: We went with Burma because it signifies all of the mystery that Christian had in his head about his father and why everything happened, everything he did not know were all embodied into this one place. Burma signified this kind of vague world I sort of know something about, but it still has this mystery there and I think that is sort of what it was for Christian; with where his father was and why.
How did you all become connected with each other and involved in this film?
CP: Cast wise, Christopher and I were friends as I was writing this. I went to see him in a play in New York and I was just blown away by his performance. And I was writing the script at the time and I sort of changed my writing toward something I thought would suit him and something he might want to do; I showed it to him and he said would do it. From there, we built the cast. A friend of mine and I got Brett Potter and Grant involved. We all knew each other, we are all apart of this New York film community and this was just the first time we worked together.
BP: We do have a NYU connection, but Carlos was in business and I studied the arts.
How did you create such a strong familial cast?
CA: I was the first to originally sign on to do this film. I then met with Susan, our casting director, and she is the one who brought in Gabby, Chris and Dan. We knew initially that we were not going to have much time to shoot this film so we knew it was kind of important to get a good vibe of people from an early onset. So I think we all knew it right away; when Gabby, Chris, and Dan came in it just felt right. And luckily, we were right. It was more important to spend our time up there getting to know each other as humans first so that we could create something real on screen, so although that does not feel like work it is work.
BP: We found this hotel in upstate New York and it very much resembled the look of the hotel in The Shining – massive and kind of scary. The entire cast and crew were pretty much living in this hotel and we sort of became of a family, as an entire crew, and I sort of think that helped out as far as the performance went.
Where did you shoot it and how long did it take you to shoot it?
CP: We shot it in upstate New York and a small part of New York City. It took 21 shooting days. Surprisingly.