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SXSW '08 Interview: "Joy Division" Director Grant Gee

by William Goss

The "Joy Divison" Pitch: "Featuring the unprecedented participation of the surviving band members of Joy Division, now known as New Order, the film chronicles a time of great social and political change in England of the mid-70's and tells the untold story of these four men who transcended economic and cultural barriers to produce an enduring and profound legacy, one that resonates fiercely in today's heavily careerist music industry and over mediated pop culture."

Describe your movie using the smallest number of words possible.
It’s a documentary about a rock band and there’s a major clue in the title.

Is this your first trip to SXSW? Got any other film festival experience?
I was there in 1999 showing a film about Radiohead. It was all really good. Best moment was walking into a bar and Guy Clark was playing.

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?

Not including your backyard and your dad's Handycam, how did you get your real "start" in filmmaking?
Got a runner’s job on an MTV show called Buzz. It was very egalitarian, and within a month, I was shooting little features on video and Super 8 and cutting sequences that made it to broadcast.

Do you feel any differently about your film now that you know it's on "the festival circuit?"
Only that it's grown up and left home. Good luck to it.

During production, did you ever find yourself thinking ahead to film festivals, paying customers, good & bad reviews, etc?

How did this film get rolling at the beginning? Give us a brief history from writing to production to post to just last night.
Producers initiated the project. Needed a director. Phoned me. I said yes. Worked with writer Jon Savage. Shot interviews and street scenes in Manchester Nov-Dec ‘06. Edited at home in Brighton Feb-July ‘07. Premiered at Toronto Sept ‘07. Theatrical release in UK May ‘08.

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?
Never trust a firewire hard drive.

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition?
Patrick Kieler (Robinson in Space). Chris Marker (any/all...esp Sans Soleil).

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?
Wouldn’t know what to do with a big studio contract. Not a goal of mine. Just want to make interesting little documentaries and make a living doing it.

Finish this sentence: If I weren't a filmmaker, I'd almost definitely be...
A professor in urban/social geography at the University of Illinois in Urbana.

Have you 'made it' yet? If not, what would have to happen for you to be able to say "Yes, wow. I have totally made it!"?
No. No idea.

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?
Good ones are more important than ever.

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?
Depends entirely on the specifics of the individual film.

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?
Show them the trailer.


Grant Gee's Joy Division will play as part of the 2008 South By Southwest's "Special Screenings" slate. For more information, click here.

link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=2437
originally posted: 03/05/08 15:36:37
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