IT’S NICE TO BE APPRECIATED
Dennis Lim has a great half-page profile of writer/director Andrew Bujalski in the Sunday New York Times. Bujalski, who Matt Ross selected as one of our “25 New Faces” three years ago, has built up a big fan and critical base with his two features, Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation. Lim uncovers some good stuff — I didn’t know, for example, that Chantal Akerman was Bujalski’s filmmaking thesis advisor at Harvard and that she instructed him to run down the hall one day after a possible performer.
Lim ends the piece by discussing what the future could hold for a moderately successful no-budget filmmaker:
“He now finds himself grappling with the same career anxieties as his Mutual Appreciation hero, who goes through the motions of networking and self-promotion with an ambivalence that often shades into dread. Mr. Bujalski has acquired an agent and is looking to the economic models of independent stalwarts like John Cassavetes and John Sayles, who financed personal projects by taking on work for hire. Hoping for a shot at Hollywood screenwriting, he recently connected with some executives in Los Angeles, though he said he treated the meetings more like therapy sessions: ‘I would go in and tell them my problems,’ he said. ‘They always had a couch.’
As the big 3-0 looms for this chronicler of 20-something malaise, his first two features increasingly represent not just an impractical way of working but also a quixotic way of life. ‘As I get older and my friends get older,’ Mr. Bujalski said, ‘it’s harder to say to people, ‘Take a month off from your life and work for me for free.’ “