6. The movie you love that no one would expect you to love.
This one is easy. "Babe." To this day I’d still count it (and its pitch black, surreal, criminally-underappreciated sequel) among my favorite films. It was written by George Miller and nominated for 7 Oscars which I think might surprise a lot of people. It’s one of the very rare films that is just as powerful and relevant to adults as it is to kids. I’m fiercely loyal to it as well. I once refused to go to a friend’s birthday party in elementary school because they were going to see "Gordy."
7. The movie that defined your childhood (and why).
Rob Reiner’s "Stand By Me" is a film I remember relating to on a lot of levels as a kid; primarily the rural location and focus on male relationships. It felt like a film about me and my brother and our friends. Despite not actually being one of the main references for "Hide Your Smiling Faces," it frequently comes up when discussing the film, so it’s hard to ignore the unconscious influence it had on me and my work.
8. The movie that defined your coming-of-age/high school experience.
A film that had an enormous impact on me in my teenage years was Lynne Ramsay’s "Ratcatcher." I saw it around the time I started to take the possibility of being a filmmaker more seriously, and I was really inspired by its attention to detail and its quiet but powerful tone. It felt like a fresh take on a genre I was losing interest in at the time. It was the first time I remember seeing such an intimate and personal story about children. It changed the way I began to imagine my own future work—to see new possibilities for the kinds of films I could make—and became a big point of reference for "Hide Your Smiling Faces."
9. The last film you saw that you loved.
The last film that I saw and truly loved would have to be Leos Carax’s "Holy Motors." I didn’t get around to seeing it until late last year, but it absolutely blew me away and exceeded my lofty expectations. There’s a thrilling energy to that film that is unlike any other. I also love the way it eulogizes cinema’s past while simultaneously making use of and celebrating the tools and technology of the present. I think a lot of filmmakers are conflicted about the pros and cons of the current transition in how films are made and seen, but I haven’t seen anything explore this idea as thoroughly and inventively as "Holy Motors." I had a silly grin on my face the entire time.
10. The film that made you fall in love with cinema.
Though I saw it long after I was already deeply obsessed with film, my first viewing of Tarkovsky’s "Stalker" gave me a whole new appreciation for the medium. I better understood that part of cinema’s appeal, for me, was its unique ability to accomplish something no other medium can. I was completely transported. The way its images and sound combine so fluidly is hypnotic. It’s a specific feeling that I only experience while watching certain films, and never as strongly as with "Stalker." I realized the power that a film can have to be so much more than simply a form of entertainment.