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Camp X-Ray | Director Peter Sattler

Camp X-Ray

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?

Strangely, the first thing that comes to my mind is the military call to “ATTENT-ION.” The military uses it at the beginning of formal procedures or assembly, which to me, in a strange way, has some parallels to film as well. I love the beginning of movies. A great movie opens strong and demands that you stand up and pay attention. In this day and age, our audience is more distracted than ever. Their attention is being fought for by a million pieces of art and entertainment. So I love a movie that opens strong, like a slap in the face, and really grabs your attention. Like a drill instructor calling his cadets into formation, it’s saying, “Stop whatever the hell you were doing and LISTEN TO ME because what I’m about to tell you is IMPORTANT.”

It’s why I chose to open Camp X-Ray the way I did. Because I know the audience could change the channel at any minute, and I want to get my hooks in as quickly as possible. I want to let my viewer know that I’m going to respect the time they give me by fighting to EARN their attention.


[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 17 at 12:15 pm – Eccles Theatre, Park City]

Sundance 2014 Responses

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