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SXSW 2013: 'Bellflower' Producer Grashaw Talks Directorial Debut 'Coldwater'

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood March 9, 2013 at 7:32PM

Vincent Grashaw produced, edited and acted in SXSW's 2010 hit "Bellflower," written, directed and starring his fellow Coatwolf Productions pal Evan Glodell. Now he's back in Austin with "Coldwater," his feature directorial debut, which he also co-wrote. The testosterone-fueled drama centers on a teenage boy (Ryan Gosling look-a-like PJ Boudousque) sent to a privately run reform boot camp for misbehaving youth.

What was your biggest challenge getting this film made?

Like always, finding the money.  Over the course of 13 years, this film had several false starts and failed attempts… It never seemed like it was going to become a reality to me and I had come to terms with it many times that I would just be revising this script forever.  It was hard to find funds for a gritty drama with an all unknown cast.  Shit, at one point we had Ron Perlman and Lucas Black attached to play the two leads, but things still fell apart.  But Joe Bilotta at Flying Pig Productions gave me a shot after falling in love with the story. 

What was your length of shoot?

We shot for approximately 25 days, mainly in Malibu and Ventura.

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

I hope to continue making independent films where filmmakers get to retain full creative control. On 'Coldwater," all of us went through something very rare together.  Supporting each other from here on out is something I know all of us in intend to do.  We want to see each other succeed and achieve our goals.  I would totally be open to doing a bigger budget film in the studio system, but it depends on the script.  That’s everything to me.

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

The indie world is changing so much and so fast, I feel like people are still scrambling to see where everything lands.  It’s really exciting to be a filmmaker during this time because the path is still relatively unknown.  I do know there’s lots of opportunity!  I am still fairly new to the festival scene, but over the last couple years I have made a lot of friends and I feel like festivals are a great place to connect with everyone year round to showcase your work.  I think the biggest part of the indie film world that is just starting to evolve is self-distribution and crowd funding.  It’s seems like it may still be in its infant stage, but I’m definitely curious where it leads us.  Seems very positive!

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

"What About Bob."

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

Anthony Hopkins and Laura Dern.

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

WORST ADVICE:  Someone once told me prior to Sundance accepting the film that I should think of taking my name off of 'Bellflower.'

BEST ADVICE:  Another person whispering in my ear that I should tell that other person to go !@#$ himself.

This article is related to: SXSW, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW), Festivals, Festivals, Interviews

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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.