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Cold in July | Director Jim Mickle

Cold in July

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? 

I remember hearing an interview with Tom Savini where he said if he had one wish he’d go back to a time when he could watch movies without thinking about all that goes into the movie making process. When your life revolves around filmmaking, it’s a pretty romantic notion to imagine a time when you could experience movie-watching as innocently or naively as a youngster without seeing everything as a decision someone had to make on a tight schedule, or imagining the crew just out of frame, holding their breath during a take, waiting for lunch to be called after “cut.” My sister and her boyfriend are both production designers (Russell Barnes designed Cold in July and We Are What We Are) and for them to watch movies, it’s an epic challenge to see past the wallpaper and the tablecloth print and the vintage lamp in the corner of the room to remember there’s a story going on also. When movies do manage to break through that barrier, it can be an almost religious experience, something Gravity did for me this year just as Children of Men had done a few years back. Recently Korean cinema has done this for me. Director’s like Bong Joon-ho and Na Hong-jin and others make films that are unpredictable, mold-breaking genre films that for a moment make me forget the “hows” of the filmmaking and remind me what it’s like to watch films innocently and just pay attention to the story and its characters. Our new film Cold in July is made in that same mindset. Taking a story in unraveling, unpredictable turns, I hope people walk out feeling like they’ve seen something for the first time.


[PREMIERE SCREENING: January 18 at 5:30 pm – Library Center Theatre, Park City]

Sundance 2014 Responses

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