“EVERYTHING STRANGE AND NEW” director, Frazer Bradshaw
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday, Jan. 19, 11:30 am — Library Center Theatre, Park City]
A lot came into play when writing Everything Strange and New. I feel it’s paramount for the success of an indie film to be responsive to circumstances, and I tried to consider as many of those circumstances as possible during the film’s conception.
First and foremost, I feel that there is a distinct lack of innovation in the current crop of American indie films, and I wanted to make a film that could stand on higher ground than the off-Hollywood material that is so pervasive. It was most important to me, above all else, to make a film that was not derivative and not formulaic. And it was important to me to make a film that put content first. I wanted my film to give back to cinema as an art form, not steal clichés from it.
In the majority of current cinema, characters are designed dualistically, being either good or bad, regardless of how complex they may be. I see this as one of the shortcomings of the average American indie film, and as a filmmaker, I reject it. It’s critically important to me that my work not place judgments on its characters, and that it allows the audience to be free to experience the characters as people and not good guys or bad guys.
I wanted Everything Strange and New to reflect the cultural climate it was made in: working-class America. I built in issues and conflicts around jobs, money, family and housing, to that end. Though I did a little conscious predicting, there’s a lot in the film that the current economic climate has caught up with, including unaffordable mortgages, to name just one. I believe that cinema, one of our most democratic art forms, should speak to the cultural climate it’s made in if it’s to be powerful and meaningful.
I also felt I had a responsibility to myself and my investors to make a film which had a fighting chance of making its money back (and hopefully more). Making an expensive indie film is, generally, a mistake in the current distribution climate. I crafted my story around a budget I though made sense for its financial success. Only time will tell whether or not the budget was low enough (because things are looking kinda bleak).
As for exhibition, I’m in love with the experience that can, really, only be had in the cinema. I know that lesser exhibition formats are a current reality, but I couldn’t bring myself to dumb down my work for the tiny screen. Of course, it still plays well on DVD, but my work is contemplative, and a producer friend once said that I made “Internet-proof cinema” (but I expect that will change as the Internet changes).