INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL LIR & BAYOU BENNETT. Interview Conducted by Zef Çota

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1 INTERVIEW WITH LIR & BENNETT Interview Conducted by Zef Çota 12/11/2012

2 INT. NEW YORK CITY CAR RIDE - SPEAKERPHONE - NIGHT How did you guys first get together? EXT. LOS ANGELES CAFE - DAY I spent a year working on a documentary, and Daniel was also working on a documentary, so we had a lot in common, and so that was kind of our meeting I worked on a documentary about the teenage prostitution problem in Tijuana, Mexico and these people who were trying to help guide these young people away from it towards a better future. I found out at our first meeting that Daniel was also a professional editor. So I thought, you know, he could edit my film that I had been working on for 10 years, sneaky me. I put his number in my phone, as "Daniel editor." Five years later he is still "Daniel Editor" in my phone even though we are married. He actually did end up editing my film, power of women you know So, what inspired the two of you to get into film making in the first place? I was working on my 2nd degree, Masters of Fine Arts at a University and I was doing mixed media and I realized that as I was doing the filming I was like wow there s something about filming that I just absolutely loved. (MORE)

3 2. (CONT'D) I just realized that I just want to reach more people and make a bigger effect in the world through art. How about yourself Daniel? I was really lost. I just took a class in film and I don t know, man, it just completely felt like the right thing, like Cinderella and the shoes, you know? Like putting on the shoes that absolutely fit you know? When we got together we became even more powerful as filmmakers. Since then the art has been on such a level - what would you say......it s like a team. We dream together -and when we come together, it turns into a dream team type of activity. So we had a lay over on a plane somewhere, I think Chicago and we were going somewhere and that s when we started writing TEXT ME. So it was completely a co-writing experience, co-directing, with cast picked together, everything together. That was when we realized that was where the power was. What was the experience like in making that short film? We shot TEXT ME like four or five times before we actually went to film it. So we filmed the whole script and let the actors improvise a little bit. And at first there were really funny things, and we would write them into the script...you know.

4 3. We ve used that technique before, like Daniel said, which is, shooting a film before, and also putting the actors in the room together and having them try out for the part together. It definitely worked because the performances helped attract our genius Executive Producer, Doug Claybourne "RUMBLEFISH", WAR OF THE ROSES", "FAST AND THE FURIOUS" to work with us on our new feature. He worked with Francis Coppola who said the most important element in film is "Performance, Performance, Performance. What made you guys move from New York to L.A.? You know I love New York. I ll never forget my experiences here, I love the energy, I love the art, I love everything. But if we want to make it as feature filmmakers, we need to be where feature films are being made. And so I just told Daniel, look, I m going to turn in my letter of resignation to my University, and in the winter we re going to move. We didn t have an apartment, again, we got rid of a ton of stuff and we just came here. I just knew, that we were just going to do it and just you know, follow our dreams. And since then we ve been living off of making films from the first day that we moved here two years ago, and it s been unbelievable, the people we ve met in the movie industry.

5 4. You guys recently worked on a documentary short film. Could you talk about that for a little bit? The thing with Bayou is, what we really enjoy, is making movies that are relevant. This kind of project came along and it felt like we could do two things that we loved doing- changing the world, you know to make a better world and then also, filmmaking. So these three girls, three African American students in a Pasedena public school wanted to really make a change in public education because kids are dropping out, especially on the African American and Latino side. Kids don t feel that education is relevant and everything seems to be directed towards testing. How good are the test scores that you have and that determines your whole future, which is bullshit. Bayou and I felt real strongly about education and I'll tell you why Bayou felt strongly about it in a second...but, like these three kids just completely stole our heart, man. They were like these three presidents of the United States, little presidents. So intelligent, more intelligent than anyone we ve ever met. What they wanted to do, we got so behind it, we helped, we developed this film with them, and the mayor presented it. People were crying, and people were laughing and everyone wanted to buy it. You know, how can I get it to my organization, or my group or my school board. It was cool. Yea it was awesome, because one of the things we wanted to do was to make a film that wasn t just a bunch of talking heads- you know interviewing. We wanted to make a personal story. So it s not just about these girls. (MORE)

6 5. (CONT'D) We got them to find a guy, a student, that was unmotivated and going the wrong way, Nick, the main character, could be in a gang and go to Prison. One of the problems is that they ve got a higher wave of dropouts recently and also they spend $9,000 a year on a student going to school but $46,000 for a person in jail, yearly. It s unbelievable, and a lot of people are dropping out and not caring. We wanted to make this into a personal story, find us a character that doesn t care anymore and he did at one time, and they found this kid...nick. And he is such a character. You guys recently worked on a project with Coldplay, what was that like? What I liked about Coldplay is they re a really positive message type of band. To be honest with you, I feel like this world, if anyone would look around to some extent is crumbling and what I like about Coldplay is that they re uplifting. Their videos celebrate art and creativity and kind of beauty. What do you guys think about the current landscape of cinema? I feel like there s incredible movies out there to see and then there s just always going to be movies that are just studio junk. What s cool is that, no matter what your voice is, there s going to be an audience for what you do in film because of our advanced communication systems... Bayou, would you like to add more upon that?

7 6. Yeah. I kind of feel there have been some breakthroughs. I don t want to say everything s needless violence and sex. Is their any current film makers that encourage both of you? I feel like filmmakers disappoint me a lot. They ll do one really, really amazing film, and the next one is not interesting. LOST IN TRANSLATION was extremely interesting and then I wasn t as excited about her other films. Sofia Coppola is the director of LOST IN TRANSLATION. But I don t want to bash her at all because I really, really respect her cinematic genius. There s one person that even though he doesn t do films that are interesting every time for me, it s his attitude about film making that is completely inspiring to me and that s Danny Boyle. I couldn t agree with you more! I recently watched Trainspotting, again for the first time since I had seen it in the theater...i forgot how great that movie is. DANNY BOYLE, is the director of TRAINSPOTTING, 28 DAYS LATER, & SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. (CONT D) Bayou, would you like to mention any filmmakers that have been influential to you? I love Tim Burton, I just do. He s my absolute favorite. I did include some of his inspiration in the music video we did recently. (MORE)

8 7. (CONT'D) Beatlejuice meets Old New Orleans and we did the music video in New Orleans, so that was a great inspiration, to be able to use some of his kind of film noir kind of feeling and his kind of bright greens and eerie reds and blues. So that was really fun to be able to take one of my idols and kind of inject it into a music video. I d have to say I'm really, I know, that s it, I'm just going to stop there OK. So this leads up to my last question...as sort of a team, as filmmakers what are your goals for the future? Well, I definitely know right now that getting closer and closer to doing our feature film, SKATEBOARDING WITH SADAM, which I m pretty sure is going to be in preproduction in We d like to shoot that, that would be filmed in Israel, like 90% Israel, 10% L.A. That would be a big goal of ours, to finish that and lead into production in Could you guys talk a little bit about SKATEBOARDING WITH SADAM? what that s about? SKATEBOARDING WITH SADAM actually is inspired a little bit by the movie STAND BY ME. It basically tells the story of a teenager who s really kind of an outcast, he doesn t have any friends, doesn t feel like he fits in, and he lives in L.A. (MORE)

9 8. (CONT'D) He travels to a town in Israel for the summer, to see his grandmother, and he hooks up with these skater kids there that are skateboarders just like himself and he finally feels like he fits somewhere in this universe. He meets this kind of bold and fun and witty and kind of wild Israeli girl. And they start to really hit it off, but his whole life just becomes completely interrupted when the first Gulf War in 1990 starts and Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait and this war starts escalating. This kid comes from a town where a cat getting stuck in a tree is a huge problem, and the fire department would come. And now they are passing out gas masks and now the scud missiles are aimed at Tel Aviv...and he s really a coward at the beginning of the movie, you know, and the whole movie, through these different missile attacks (Laughs )...But don t tell him the whole story! Got it. Don t worry we won t spoil the ending. Yeah, So the final thing is he has to decide to either come home to safety or remain in Israel - and stay with the people he loves...and we don t want to tell the end of the story. You'll need to come out to the theatre to see what happens!

10 9. LINKS TO THEIR WORK 1. "Text Me" Film 2. "Finding our Voice 3. "St. James Infirmary" Music Video 4. "Skateboarding with Saddam"

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