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The Guest | Director Adam Wingard

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?

On set once I see the actors rehearse the scene I always ask myself, “What is the maximum length of time I can get away with on a single shot in this sequence and how can I keep the camera moving without feeling forced or superfluous?” This is directly related to the question of attention but I can only filter the audience’s experience through my own. I get bored easily and my mind wanders often when watching films so one of my main goals is to make work that appeals to my own disorganized attention. I once saw a video of Krzysztof Kie?lowski describing the process of shooting an insert shot of a sugar cube that absorbed a drop of liquid. He sent someone out to buy all different brands of sugar cubes and only settled when using a stop watch, timed out and found the one that would consistently absorb the fastest. That really made an impression on me. One must consider time as a tangible factor when making films. Kie?lowski and I make totally different movies, but the same lessons apply — keep the audience’s attention and consider this for every shot no matter how insignificant it may seem, and in some ways the more insignificant the shot seems the more this is necessary.


[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 17 at 11:45 pm – Library Center Theatre, Park City]

Sundance 2014 Responses

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