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Five Questions with Daylight Savings Director Dave Boyle

The indie film world doesn’t commonly produce sequels (Linklater and Solondz being the obvious exceptions), and it’s even rarer to see one come as quickly as Daylight Savings does. Returning to the characters he first explored in last year’s Surrogate Valentine, namely singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura, playing a fictionalized version of himself here, Savings premieres tonight in SXSW’s 24 Beats Per Second section. Valentine made waves at Southby last year, and paired with Boyle’s still-fresh 2009 offering White on Rice, the young director is quickly establishing himself as a prolific and exciting voice.

Filmmaker: What inspired you to follow-up Surrogate Valentine so quickly with a film that returns to the same characters? Were you planning on this second installment while you were making Valentine?

Boyle: There’s something to be said for momentum. It seemed important to start shooing the second film before we all moved on to other projects. The whole thing has kind of blended together into one long 2-year project!

The idea for Daylight Savings came about during post production, right before our debut at SXSW 2011. We had such a good time making it, and more importantly, we felt like there was more of the story to tell. Once we made the commitment to do it, we found a three week break in everyone’s schedules in August and September of last year and we decided to make it happen.

Filmmaker: What is it about Goh’s personality that strikes you as so ripe for this sort of documentary / narrative blend?

Boyle: Goh and I are both pretty laid back and reserved, though both of us are in fields that reward high energy. I felt like I could do something semi-autobiographical with Goh in the lead, transposing my experiences in film to the music world.

That’s not to suggest that somehow the “Goh” of the movie is a facsimile of myself, or that we are exactly alike in real life. His true personality shines through in a number of ways, though at the end of the day he really is playing a character.

Beyond that, Goh is just a really watchable presence on screen. Though untrained as an actor, he has that magnetic quality that makes you want to see what will happen next.

Filmmaker: Can you talk a bit more about the process of developing Goh’s character for the films? How much of what we see here and in Surrogate Valentine comes from real life, and how much is invented?

Boyle: A good deal of what you see in the movies is slightly autobiographical for one (or both) of us, though mixed in with a healthy dose of exaggeration and outright fabrication. Along with Goh’s experiences and my own, we also had the experiences of co-writers Michael Lerman and Joel Clark to throw into the mix.

While traveling around the country with the first movie, Goh and I had lots of long discussions about where to take the character next. And we both agreed that we ought to go darker and dig deeper with Daylight Savings.

Filmmaker: What was the songwriting process like? Did you collaborate at all with Goa to try to link his songs in thematically with the film?

Boyle: I try to leave Goh alone during the songwriting process. I give him ideas, but I try hard not to crowd him too much. When we work on the score, he brings me tons of music, and I pick and choose what I want to use.

Filmmaker: What else are you working on at the moment?

Boyle: I’m attached to direct a script called Cover Band by Matt Warren and David Zarif that I’m really excited about. It’s another music-related film, about a tribute band that goes back in time and ends up taking the place of the original band in history. It’s my first time directing something that I haven’t written, and I think the script is terrific though it’s also much bigger than anything else I’ve attempted.

But before that, I’m directing two Japanese language films with producer Ko Mori. One is called Komorebi – a detective story that takes place in Osaka, and the other is called Man From Reno, which I’m hopefully shooting in San Francisco this year.

I’m also writing something with Michael Lerman that he’ll direct sometime later this year.

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