For people who haven’t heard of the film, tell us a little about what The Toe Tactic is about?
Well, there are all kinds of reasons for those times in life when you lose your footing, but in this case it’s a young woman’s revisited grief for her dead father when she learns her childhood home has been sold. Her temporary withdrawal from the action of her life triggers the connection to an animated reality in which four dogs play a game of cards, the object of which is to get her back in step with the world.
As a short filmmaker, how easy or difficult was it transitioning to feature filmmaking? Was there any aspect of the production that took you by surprise or was it fairly similar to the short film process?
Everything was more complicated, took longer, and cost more money. But the business of bringing so many talented people into the process was invigorating and providing cast and crew with what they needed to do their best work without diluting the film’s distinct personality, was a really fun challenge – one I’d never had in the making of my short films.
You’ve mentioned in prior interviews that your parents, John and Faith, were influential in your decision to enter filmmaking. What sort of lessons, filmmaking and beyond, did you learn from your mom Faith, whom you worked with closely for a number of years?
The word is a cliché, but Faith was so contagiously passionate about her work, being disciplined, and the role of the artist â€¦ it was hard for anyone to be around her without catching that I some way and I was around her a lot!. (though I wish I was more disciplined.) I think I have an inability to do work I don’t love — and over the years, I’ve been able to find ways to be proud of what I do well without wasting time feeling too ashamed of what I stink at.
Beginning this week, you’re going on a nationwide theatrical tour with Toe Tactic and offering audiences an opportunity to see it on the big screen. Why did you go through the effort of self-organizing a tour like this in a day and age where most indie filmmakers are content to simply release their features onto DVD?
There is something about watching a film with a group that you don’t get at home. It’s my instinct that the movie is learning how to ride a bike and I’m not ready to let go of the back of the seat. Come May, when the tour (at this point anyway) will be about done, I’m sure I’ll be more than ready. We expect to release a DVD in the Fall — keep posted.
What are some other projects that you’re currently working on?
Collaboratively, Jeremiah Dickey and I just completed inserts for two great documentaries – William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, which just showed at Sundance, and What’s On Your Plate? directed by Catherine Gund, which will show at the Berlinale next month. We also made a really fun title sequence for a TV pilot called “Living in Captivity” and may create some inserts for their next cut.
Personally, I’m starting to write new material which I’ll continue to develop while I’m on the tour. It might turn into a movie, but it also might be some kind of written or performed piece with illustrations, It’s very mysterious at this point and secret. I hope to start noodling with these ideas by making a short or two as well. We’ll see!
The Toe Tactic @ MoMA
January 28—February 2, 2009
Tickets $10 (Adult), $8 (Seniors), $6 (Students)