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SXSW '07 Interview: "Confessions of a Superhero" Director Matt Ogens

by Scott Weinberg

The "Confessions of a Superhero" Pitch: Chronicles the lives of three men and one woman who work as characters on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard. This feature length documentary explores the fascinations, obsession, and allure of fame through the eyes of these very unique people struggling to make it in LA.

Is this your first trip to SXSW? Got any other film festival experience?
This is my first experience at SXSW and the first festival with this particular film. I have directed other documentaries and short films that have screened at other festivals around the world.

Back when you were a little kid, and you were asked that inevitable question, your answer would always be "When I grow up I want to be a ." what?
When I grow up I want to be a garbage man. I was envious of the guys who got to hang off the back of the truck.

Not including your backyard and your Dad's Handycam, how did you get your real "start" in filmmaking?
I was living in New Orleans and one night was held up at gunpoint and robbed. I decided to make a film about violent crime, particularly in New Orleans and went to Angola State Penitentiary and interviewed a bunch of inmates.

During production did you ever find yourself thinking ahead to film festivals, paying customers, good & bad reviews, etc?
Not really. Of course I wanted to have as large an audience as possible, wanted to sell the project, etc. But I really focused on the film. These characters were a handful and most of my energy was working with them.

How did this film get rolling at the beginning? Give us a brief history from writing to production to post to just last night.
I was directing a commercial on Hollywood Boulevard and was completely distracted by these people who dressed up as movie characters and worked for tips. I kept talking to them during breaks and almost immediately thought this would make a great film.

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?
Find a way to make the film no matter what. There were a lot of odds against us and an uphill battle all the way to the end. The hardest part was when you ask for favors from people. You canít expect them to work on your timetable, so it can be tough to move as fast as youíd like. We worked with four different editors by the end.

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition?
Itís hard to say. There are so many filmmakers that inspire me for so many reasons. I also donít feel like I consciously take anything from others. I probably steal things from them subconsciously. The real inspiration is that directors before me have encouraged me to direct in the first place. Ive watched films and realized that I wanted to give it a shot as well.

Did you watch any movies in pre-production and yell "This! I want something JUST like this .only different."?
I watched as many documentaries as I could. And I made everyone working on the film watch as many as I could force them to watch. I probably took some editing techniques from one film, cinematography from another and so on.

Say you landed a big studio contract tomorrow, and they offered you a semi-huge budget to remake, adapt, or sequelize something. What projects would you tackle?
I would like to adapt this documentary into a narrative feature film. I think the real life characters translate.

Name an actor in your film that's absolutely destined for the big-time.
I have no actors in the film being that itís non-fiction. They all want to be actors. I think Joe McQueen, who plays the Hulk, is a very likable character and I would cast him if the appropriate role came my way.

Finish this sentence: If I weren't a filmmaker, I'd almost definitely be...
A garbage man.

Who's an actor you'd kill a small dog to work with? (Don't worry; nobody would know.)
Too many to name.

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?
Any good press helps.

You're told that your next movie must have one "product placement" on board, but you can pick the product. What would it be?

Aston Martin so I can get one for free.

You're contractually obligated to deliver an R-rated film to your producers. The MPAA says you have to delete a sex scene that's absolutely integral to the film or you're getting an NC-17. How do you handle it?
The pressure. Youíre putting me on the spot. Iíll cross that bridge when I come to it.

What's your take on the whole "a film by DIRECTOR" issue? Do you feel it's tacky, because hundreds (or at least dozens) of people collaborate to make a film - or do you think it's cool, because ultimately the director is the final word on pretty much everything?
So funny you ask this. We discussed it when we were putting the credits together. I did not take a film by credit. This is my first feature and felt it was a bit pretentious to start the film this way. I produced the film as well as directed it so I didnít need to see my name all over the place.

In closing, we ask you to convince the average movie-watcher to choose your film instead of the trillion other options they have. How do you do it?

The characters are real and whether youíre someone trying to make it in the entertainment business or you install dry wall in Kansas City, you will empathize with these people. You will laugh and cringe. Go see this movie or Iíll hunt you down.


Matt Ogens' Confessions of a Superhero will have its world premiere at the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival! And check out BSide.com for even more info!

link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=2093
originally posted: 02/21/07 02:04:44
last updated: 03/06/07 17:30:10
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