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LAFF: Destin Cretton Talks SXSW Grand Jury Winner 'Short Term 12,' Immaturity and the Mystery of Indie Film's Future (TRAILER)

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 16, 2013 at 1:11AM

Destin Daniel Cretton talks his "Short Term 12," from Sundance winning short to SXSW Grand Jury prize-winning feature...
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I Am Not A Hipster
Destin Cretton's "I Am Not A Hipster"
Biggest challenge of getting this film made?

Rather than reflecting on finance challenges --  I would say how rare it is to find good, trustworthy, honest producers in this industry. And by some miracle, I did.  The teams at Traction-Media & Animal Kingdom were way too good to me and this project.  I can't wait to see what projects they all champion next.

Tell me about your crew. I know you've worked with the same cinematographer on most of your projects.

My crew.  Don't get me started.  I was lucky enough to bring most of the team from "Hipster" onto "ST12:" Brett (Pawlak, dp), Joel (P. West, composer), Ron (Najor, producer), Asher (Goldstein, producer), Joy (Cretton, sister/costume), Nikki (gf/artist), Brad K. (everyman).  And after this project, we pulled a bunch more into the family.  I feel really lucky to work with extremely talented friends that inspire me in both art and life.  Anything good in these films is a direct result of having them around.

Do you want to continue to make independent films, or are you hungry to work with bigger budgets in the studio system?

I want to keep working with good people and telling stories that I'm really passionate about.  Beyond that, I have no idea.

How do you think indie filmmaking has evolved over the past five years? The festival scene? And do you think those changes are positive?

Everything has changed in the past five years.  I can barely keep up.  I teach part-time at a video/film high school class, and the techie stuff these kids already know how to do freaks me out every day.  It's hard to imagine that the craft of making a film was once a giant mystery when people are now editing on their smart phones.  It's pretty exciting. Everyone seems to be trying to figure out what's going to happen next, and no one really knows.

Who is your target audience for this film, and what do you anticipate being your biggest hurdle in reaching them?

You know, from the few pre-screenings that we've had, I've been pretty surprised at the range of people who have connected with this story.  So I'm really wary about labeling who its target audience should be.  But I'm really excited to premiere at SXSW and find out how people will react to it.

If you could only watch one movie over and over again for the rest of your life, which would it be?

"It's a Wonderful Life"...or "Willow."

You're directing a silent black and white film; which two living actors do you cast?

Melanie Laurent & Will Ferrell.

Best advice you've ever received? And the worst?

Best advice: Just be thankful you're not in politics. Worst: You need to network more.

This article is related to: South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), SXSW, Festivals, Festivals, Interviews , Los Angeles Film Festival, Short Term 12, Brie Larson


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.