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“I Really Experienced the Idea That None of This Is Guaranteed” | Julian Higgins, God’s Country

Still from God's Country

The last two years have prompted much contemplation and reconsideration of the reasons why we make our films as well as the ways in which we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking—whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology or the way you relate to your audience—did you have to reinvent in order to make and complete the film you are bringing to the festival this year?

Our film was somewhat unique in that we were halfway through our shoot when the pandemic hit. We had to shut down in the middle of production, and we ended up waiting a little over a year before we had the opportunity to get the team back together to finish the second half of the film. In the intervening time, my thinking on a lot of things expanded and deepened, as it did for many people. I really experienced the idea that none of this is guaranteed—that concept was no longer an abstraction. So when I went back, my mission as a director had shifted from “getting scenes in the can” or “completing the film” to “enjoying and appreciating the process at every moment.” It felt very different and it yielded much better work and greater satisfaction and joy in the experience—both for me and, I think, for my collaborators as well.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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