KEITH FULTON AND LOUIS PEPE: LOST WITH GILLIAM

Do you feel a little guilty about capitalizing on a doomed project?
Keith: We did a lot of soul searching in the process of doing this film. Terry is a friend. We’ve worked with him a lot and, yeah, we’re representing something that was his failure. But I think in a very candid and sympathetic way. What’s gratifying for us now, kind of dispels all these fears, is that people come out of the movie saying we want Terry to make this film. People seem to be really sympathizing with him. So, it doesn’t feel exploitive in that sense.

Louis: See there was a moment when the whole thing was starting to go south. Everybody was going back to Madrid, we’re waiting to find out about Rochefort. And we said that we don’t feel right about shooting. We feel like vultures. So we called up Terry and said, “Look, you gotta tell us what you want us to be doing because this isn’t why we came here initially.” And he was the one who said, “Keep shooting. I have been working on this for so long and it’s been so miserable and somebody has to get a film out of it and it doesn’t look like me so it better be you.” And his other attitude was, “Your film may be the only record of a lot of people’s hard work, so tell the story.”

How do you guys function as a team on documentaries?
Keith: Lou does the shooting and, on the set, I perform more of a producorial role, arranging interviews, trying to figure out what’s going on, trying to get into a room where you’re not supposed to be. Opening doors. In terms of editing, we pretty much have equal roles.

What kind of challenges do you face when there’s no script and you have no idea where it’s gonna go?
Louis: You go in with an angle, but you’re always looking for conflict because conflict makes for good drama. I think on this project the most difficult thing was trying to figure out what was happening at any given moment. There are 150 people on this crew, they all have slightly different points of view. There are all sorts of machinations that you’re not privy to, and you’re trying to figure out what’s really happening today.

Keith: It’s terrifying because there were many days when we finished shooting and we had nothing. We even left Madrid thinking, maybe we don’t have a film. We didn’t get to shoot as long as we thought we were going to shoot. We thought we were going to be there three more months, so it’s actually a very daunting task, making a documentary in that style.

Louis: And the other thing is when you’re shooting a scene, when you think something’s happening here, to get the story, you gotta get all the pieces in real time. You’ve gotta get the main line in the scene and all the reaction shots and you’ve got one camera, so you have to think on your toes. When do I pan from this person to this person? Do I leave the room now before they tell me to get the hell out of here or do I stay in? You become intuitive and trust your instincts.

Do you guys have plans to transition into narrative films?
Keith: We have plans to definitely try that. We’re assembling projects to try to do a fiction film. It’s not what we want to turn our attention exclusively to. I think doc filmmakers assume that’s the next step. But we’re just dying to make a fiction film because we’ve been doing that kind of work all along anyway.

Louis: Yeah we’ve made fiction shorts. There’s a lot of filmmakers whose careers we respect because they straddle the line. You think of Wernor Herzog and Wim Wenders and Michael Apted and filmmakers who sort of recognize that fiction and docs are both kinds of storytelling and they employ different strength and skills.

Keith: We want to go back and forth, but it’s time to switch over to fiction film because documentaries are exhausting, not that fiction films aren’t.

Terry has said he is going to make this movie no matter what. Will you guys be there to document it?
Keith: Absolutely not! There was some talk that we may have been part of the curse of “Don Quixote.”

Louis: Well, on the set, every day some new disaster and they would say who’s the Jonah that’s bringing the bad luck that we have to throw off the ship. We wouldn’t want it to be us. He should do the film, but he should do it free from anyone peering over his shoulder.

Keith: We talked about this while here, while he’s at the festival and we all agreed – let’s not do this again. How do you beat “Lost in La Mancha”?




Posted on October 30, 2002 in Interviews by

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