How did you pull together the funding to make the film? ^ In a Crazy – crazy ass way. I pitched this film twice. The first time I scored, then the week before we went, the money fell through. Why was I not surprised? We were all ready up and running – so we had no choice but to move ahead. The second money guy I met with was a Coptic Egyptian Christian. You do the math on that, especially given the content of this film. We met at the House Of Pies in Los Feliz. This was obviously for the whole shebang… we had no choice because a delay would have pushed the film way back due to schedules – DP, Sam, list goes on. Anyway, he went for it and signed on 4 hours after I met him.
How does an indie filmmaker survive years without pay just to get their project out there and hope it makes money? ^ You don’t. You just work and you keep moving. Work in ways and in places where you can preserve the freedom and energy to work on your movie. Find a place where you can keep your irreverence too. Don’t become a stuck up, brown-nosing, ass-kissing, shallow do-gooder.
The film looks stunning, how did you achieve such an amazing look with so little funds or resources? ^ You shoot 35mm for anything under 500K and you will immediately have to compromise. But there are certain elements to what you are putting on the screen where you cannot compromise – otherwise the vision suffers. I remember making a deal to forsake film stock and shoot one take on a key key scene in exchange for a set of Canon slant focus lenses. I knew how badly we needed those lenses. They were used on Sam in his key monologue. I had no interest in shooting the scene without them. That’s what I’m talking about. You’re clear on the things that are set in stone. The rest will fall into place. I had a very clear idea without getting too complicated as to what I absolutely needed. There was a certain look I dreamed of from the get-go. I wanted to get in the middle of it all and I wanted to be “in there” with the actors. I also wanted to bring in the elements of voyeurism. And I knew just when and where I wanted to do that. I wanted beautiful European colors and I wanted shots that were composed like paintings. We went through four production designers with this film. There’s no in between. The DP – Glen Ade Brown was the only man for this job. We looked at hundreds of DP’s before Glen. He achieves a certain raw, but very beautifully magical feeling in the way he shoots people. The rest is gravy. We connected in the ways we needed to – and we danced from there.
The new cut of the film is vastly improved, what process did you go through to get to this new spectacular version? ^ I have this incredible mentor who was invaluable at critical times in finishing this film. When he saw my rough cut, he offered sound advice. He told me that if I was going to put something out there with this kind of edge, I would have to do 2 things:
Be brutal. And explore every single option there was in making this film as tight and focused and bullet proof as it could possibly be. Because that was, in his wise opinion, “the key” to it’s survival in a harsh cut-throat industry.
Enter my producer. Jade has been there creatively from the get-go, but my producer (Darin Kuhlmann) stepped up when I needed him most. He provided me with a platform in finding this cut and supported my decisions every single step of the way. He was patient and he believed in what we were doing. That helped set the stage.
A few weeks later, we showed what we had to Bob Hawk. He told us that I had made a film that cut so close to the bone and was so uncompromising that I had no choice but to go all the way in focusing and refocusing the cut to a place where there was only one spot where someone could take a jab at – it’s utter core. So I went further and all the while I pulled it away from anyone seeing it. And all the while people said “What the hell are you guys doing?” They were like “Get over it!” I was like “Bullshit – get over yourself.” Now, six – eight months later, whether or not this cut is drastically different I’m not sure. A lot of people feel that it is. But I do know one thing – A wise old wine conneusour once told me that there were 2 parts of the human body that were oh-so close together. So close, they might be mistaken for one another in the dark. But when the light goes on, they are not the same. In fact, they couldn’t be more different. That is the story of Looking Through Lillian.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of JAKE TOREM: LILLIAN’S ADDICTION>>>

Posted on October 25, 2002 in Interviews by

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