|SxSW 2016 Interview: ASPERGER'S ARE US director Alex Lehmann
by Jason Whyte
ASPERGER'S ARE US - At SxSW 2016
'ASPERGER'S ARE US is a coming of age documentary about four friends on the autism spectrum who have a comedy troupe and are preparing their farewell show. You can learn so much about someone by understanding what makes them laugh and that's the point of this movie." Alex Lehmann on ASPERGER'S ARE US which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film.
I am thrilled to hear your movie is showing at SxSW and this is your first time here! Are you planning to attend your screenings?
Yes! I am excited to be attending the premiere on March 12th as well as the second screening on March 15th.
Talk to me a bit about how you got your start in the industry and your previous work!
Most of my industry experience has been as a director of photography. As a DP, I have always been invested in other people's films. The story and characters have always been as important to me as the visuals.
So how did this movie come together from your perspective?
I wanted to make my own film. At that point I had written a few scripts but didn't know how to get them made. I read an article about a comedy troupe in Boston called Asperger's Are Us and I said "I want to tell their story and I can make this right now." I flew out to Boston with a camera and a mic shortly thereafter.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee and or sugar are we talking about here?
The quest for immortality through art. I hope you didn't stop reading before getting to the real answer which is dark chocolate, coffee, and pizza.
What was your biggest challenge with making this movie, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you, where you knew you had something special?
The biggest challenge was not having a chance to edit the doc until principal photography was done. By then I had an investment in the characters but I was dying to know how others would respond. I started showing cuts to friends, they loved it and they wanted to help; they donated better editing equipment, post production hookups and great editorial notes. I knew I had something special when my filmmaker friends rallied. Two of those friends, Sean Bradley and Chris Dowling, came on as producers and really helped me get it done.
I am about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie and how it was shot.
ASPERGER'S ARE US was mostly shot on a Sony EX-1. It is a small reliable HD camera that allowed me to film without drawing attention to myself. This was a follow doc so top priority was being able to keep shooting and keep moving while doing most of it as a one man band.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?
Austin really embraces genuine people and eccentric energy, so this is the BEST place we could premiere!
After the film screens at SxSW, where is the film going to show next? Any dream venues?
We don't know precisely where yet. There's a bunch of venues we are exploring. I want to take it to Boston, back where it all started.
What would you say to someone who was talking or texting through a movie?
I probably wouldn't say anything. The last time I was at a movie and two people got into it about texting things got physical and theater was evacuated. People really like their phones.
We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?
Go out and do it and don't stop until you're proud of it.
And finally, what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?
I saw the premiere of ADAM at Sundance in 2009. It was a great movie that weaved in elements of my favorite book THE LITTLE PRINCE. I literally hadn't heard of Asperger's syndrome at the time and that was the film's subject.
Be sure to follow the progress of the film on Facebook or on Twitter at @frenchycanuck!
We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview in our interview series for our site. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!
This is one of the many films screening at the 2016 SXSW in Austin, Texas taking place March 11-19. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte
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originally posted: 03/07/16 00:56:20
last updated: 03/07/16 00:59:13