A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night | Director Ana Lily Amirpour
Attention, our audience’s and our own — it’s a valued commodity these days. We struggle to command our audience’s attention, for them to discover our work and then, once they’ve discovered it, to actually focus on it. Meanwhile, we struggle to focus our own attention, to fight our society’s weapons of mass distraction so we can not just see our work to completion but fully discover the meanings within it. What role does attention play in your work? Can you discuss an instance where you thought about some aspect of attention when it came to your film?
It’s funny because in this business there’s such an insane outward emphasis on getting the audiences attention, understanding their appetites, and predicting the outcome. Everyone wants to know how to control that. I think everything filmmaker has it in them already, because film is for an audience, so we are all some type of exhibitionists or entertainers. But the business side of things gets us going crazy thinking about whats been done, what’s going to be next, what producers and financiers and agents want, what actors might want, what grants we could apply for, tax incentives, etc etc. And that’s a million audiences! All you can ever stand a chance at figuring out is what you really want. I remember when I sat down to write A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, I had written and rewritten a few other scripts that were being ‘packaged’ for months and years and I said to myself, I’m sick of this shit- I’m going to write something where every single scene is something I actually want to see and hear people saying and doing; I’m going to be gloriously selfish about it and figure out what turns me on and what I really want to spend the next year of my life looking at. And then the film started to come to life. And once that happens with a few elements; with your script, your cast, your locations, your crew… more things started to follow. Pretty soon a lot of truly awesome people got on that ride with me. And because it started from what I actually wanted, the people who came were the right ones. And we enjoyed every second of it from script to screen. And I don’t know that every film can be like that, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that as a filmmaker, and person, I try to avoid the human herd instinct and keep the focus on my own attention. If I have a result in mind- I’m not paying attention. If I’m worrying about what someone else wants- I’m not paying attention. If you’re not paying attention, you’re not in the moment, if you’re not in the moment, you’re not really free, and if you’re not really free, you can’t be truly creative. It goes from writing the story, to picking the cast, to everything. What do you really want? What do you really like? That’s what matters. Like Bruce Lee said: The individual is still greater than the system.
[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 19 at 8:30 pm – Prospector Square Theatre, Park City ]