The Off Hours In SeattleJune 5th, 2011
This Monday, June 6th, at 7pm the locally produced film The Off Hours will make its hometown debut at the Neptune theatre. The beautifully crafted drama created buzz at Sundance and seems to continue to garner positive feedback. I had a quick online correspondence with the director, Megan Griffiths before the Seattle premiere.
The film will also be showing again the following Tuesday, June 7th at 4:30pm.
It is widely known that this film took 7 years to make. Would you say that this was a result of the local film community changing, you changing, or a combination of both?
I think it was the result of the paradigm of filmmaking as a whole changing, actually. When we set out to make the film originally, independent films were still being made in a very traditional model with significant budgets and name talent, so we went about trying to put the film together in that way. Unfortunately, not long after that the global economy collapsed and people that might once have considered a risky investment like film suddenly got much more protective of their money. At the same time, mumblecore films began to emerge in the festival landscape and their success brought a lot of credibility to low budget filmmaking. We realized that even though we had little in the way of financial resources, we were rich in support and surrounded by people who wanted to see this film happen. Once that became clear, we just set a date and things fell into place.
The film really showcases great cinematography, acting/directing, scoring, art direction, great work overall. Do you plan on including a “Making of” feature on the DVD release?
We definitely will include interviews with our cast and crew on the DVD. We were insanely fortunate with the talents that came together to make the film what it is–the producers Lacey, Mischa and Joy, Ben Kasulke, Ben Blankenship, Rebecca Luke, Joshua Morrison, Jeremy Mackie, Garrett Cantrell…the list goes on and on. Much of their work is invisible in the film because it’s very organic and real, but they worked tirelessly to create the images that appear in the film, and I will turn the spotlight onto them anytime I have the chance.
Another interesting thing about your film is the fact that it was a “green” production. Do you have any plans to release any type of media that will educate other filmmakers on how to do the same with their productions?
I recently joined the board of the Sustainable Style Foundation and have been working with co-founder Rebecca Luke to put together official guidelines for shooting films sustainably. Any film can request these guidelines at the SSF site (http://www.sustainablestyle.org/education-awareness/ssftags-2/) and get ideas on how to run their production in a more responsible way. Those that follow through can receive the SSFTag, which is a seal of approval from the organization that is placed in the end credits, branding the film as a sustainable production. Rebecca and I also did a presentation at the NWFF in December where we really outlined what we did day-to-day on The Off Hours. We’ll probably make this presentation a part of the DVD as well.
Is your showing at SIFF on the 6th your Seattle premiere?
Do you have any plans for your SIFF showing other than being really excited?
It’s incredibly exciting to bring the film home and show it in the city that made it all possible. There are many people who had critical roles in making the film happen who will see it at SIFF for the first time, so I can’t wait to be there for that. We’re going to bring together many of the cast and crew for the Q&A’s and there will also be a post-screening party at the Zoo Tavern on Eastlake Ave, just down the road from the Neptune, co-sponsored by Women In Film/Seattle.
Considering the years of patience you had to endure to get this film made, do you have any advice for other filmmakers going through similar situations trying to get their films made?
If you have a project you can’t imagine walking away from, don’t. Find a way to make it happen using whatever resources you have, and then work harder than anyone else to ensure that the resulting film justifies everyone’s effort. No one will ever want your film to happen more than you.
To help get some butts in the seats, in 15 words or less could you explain to our readers why they should see your movie at SIFF?
It’s an honest, heartfelt film that truly showcases the talents and beauty of this city.