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“Chaos Has its Own Reward”: Directors David and Nathan Zellner | Damsel


As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films?

With Damsel almost the entire film was shot outdoors, on location, in the wilderness. With every step of the filmmaking process we try to approach it knowing exactly what we want, but with the flexibility to adapt as needed. Dealing with animals, extreme shifts in weather and remote locations, adapting was essential. When a prop was malfunctioning we chose to embrace its flaws rather than try to force it to work, and it made for a funnier scene. When a moose decided to invade our set we filmed it for b-roll. In these cases chaos has its own reward. Sometimes it’s frustrating as hell, but most of the time it forces us to come up with a creative solution that’s more interesting than what we’d initially intended.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Tuesday, January 23 at 3:30pm — Eccles]

Sundance 2018 Responses

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