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“My Confidence was in the Dumps”: Bob and the Trees | Writer/Director Diego Ongaro

What fear — whether it’s personal, or one related to the development, financing, production or distribution of your film — did you have to confront and conquer in the making of your movie?

My biggest fear happened with the writing of the script. It came down to lacking confidence. It was very hard to come up with a good story that has enough life in it — real life in it — but also a strong narrative. With my wife and co-writer, Courtney Maum, we kept going back and forth. She’s a novelist so she was pushing for a more scripted story, while I wanted something looser and more contemplative. For years, we couldn’t get the balance right — it was always too much of this and not enough of that. I’d set February 2014 as a deadline for myself to start shooting, and not only was the clock ticking — but we’d just had a baby, too! The pressure of having an infant really pushed things into high gear in a good way. After researching and spending time in the woods with loggers, slaughtering animals with Bob at the farm, things came into focus — I had a better idea of the story I wanted to tell, and the way that we could tell it. In hindsight, I think it was good that the film took such a long time to write. It gave me time to really sit with the story so that I could tell it in an authentic way. But re-visiting those roller coaster years when my confidence was in the dumps over the struggles we had with the script —no thank you. I learned a lot to be sure but it was scary.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday January 26 at 2:30 pm — Prospector Square Theatre]

Sundance 2015 Responses

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