This is the first in a series of interviews that Running Wild Films is conducting with the most important independent filmmakers working today. Like us, these people strive to make cinema outside the boundaries of conventional means.
We are happy to start with the man that is probably considered the Dean of Independent Filmmakers: Henry Jaglom. He has been doing this for more than thirty years and is frequently called the Independent’s Independent. We thank him for gracing us with his thoughtful answers to our questions.
1. What defines good storytelling?
Good storytelling to me just means getting the viewer involved, and keeping him/her involved. As you know about my films, in many cases my goal is getting the audience EMOTIONALLY involved that I seek, rather than plot-involved.
2. If you were stripped of all money, equipment, cast and crew, would you still make movies?
How can one make movies without a cast or without equipment? I don’t understand this question. As for limited money I think you know that thing that Orson [Welles] taught me: “The Enemy Of Art Is The Absence Of Limitations.” I think that may be what you are getting at with this question, if you have limitations you are forced to find CREATIVE, rather than economic solutions. I am continuously doing this, or trying my best to. Orson certainly did that to the end, shooting in his back yard, but still, one does need a minimal amount of equipment, of course, and actors. Actors are the one thing I believe that you can never do without. And a cameraperson and a sound person, though with the equipment and technology now available, one really only needs the camera and the actor.
3. What is the present state of Cinema in America?
Cinema in America today is both Terrible and Terrific ! Terrible because of the mass-marketing & costs & mindlessness of the big studios, great because of the independents who manage, despite everything, to get their movies made. And even to win Oscars, as in “The King’s Speech”, which would never have been possible in the old days. So I think overall it is a very VERY good time to be an independent filmmaker. The best in history.
4. What do you think is the most important aspect of filmmaking?
The most important aspect? Being true to yourself and true to your vision and never taking “no” for an answer or listening to anyone who says “You can’t do that.” To quote our greatest president since FDR: “Yes, you can.”
5. What do you think is the most important thing to happen to American Cinema in the last 25 years?
DVDs and the internet, without question, are the two most important things that have happened to Cinema in the last 25 years, bringing movies into every home and making them accessible, therefore, to all tastes, at all times !!!