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WAH DO DEM NYC Premiere: In Conversation with Filmmaker Sam Fleischner

June 17, 2010

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The Ballast recently had the chance to sit down with filmmaker Sam Fleischner on the eve of the NYC and LA premiere of his award winning film WAH DO DEM, which he co-wrote and co-directed with long-time friend Ben Chace. We originally saw the film and loved it at a debut screening before it hit the festival circuit, judging by the awards it’s won since, everyone agreed with us!

WAH DO DEM is shot documentary-style as it follows Brooklyn musician Max (Sean Bones) as he is dumped by his girlfriend Willow (Norah Jones) the night before they leave on a cruise for Jamaica. He decides to go-it alone, we travel with him as he arrives in Jamaica and is robbed while at the beach. He’s stranded and the film follows his adventures trying to make it on foot to the American Embassy in Kingston. His unexpected adventures and the characters he encounters along the way make the film fresh and surprising.
Read what Sam had to say below about how he began, how 2 friends ended up making a movie that took them to Jamaica, and what he’s got on deck next.

Most importantly the film premieres tomorrow night (FRIDAY the 18th) in NYC and LA. Details below, we’ll be attending and covering the NYC premiere at 7:20 pm with a second show at 9:30. Details below:

Cinema Village
22 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10003-4424
(212) 924-3363

PREMIERE at 7:20 FRIDAY NIGHT!

Could you give us some background on how you started making films?

I’ve always been into taking pictures and videos, but it was in college that I began to understand the power of cinema, and I decided I wanted to make movies.

How did this particular project come about?

My directing partner Ben won a cruise in Prospect Park (Brooklyn) and invited me on it.  I thought it was a cool opportunity to make a film on a boat and also a way to gain access into Jamaica.

You co-wrote and co-directed this film with your long-time friend Ben Chace, how was it working together professionally?

Collaborations are tough, and we both had two compromise through out since we have very different sensibilities.  That said there is no way I could have pulled this off alone.  We have a deep trust and ultimately were motivated by the same macro-themes.  It was a successful collaboration which taught us a lot.

When you knew the film would involve a journey across countries on a cruise ship, what did you want the character to portray during the journey?

We wanted to unravel the pretense of a cultural elitist from Brooklyn.

There is some really beautiful camera work throughout, especially in Jamaica. What were some of the challenges of shooting there?

Just accepting that I had no control and need to respond to a live and unpredictable mise en scene.  But that made it really fun and fresh too.

Your filming technique uses the landscape to take on it’s own role in the film, with pauses on the natural surrounding. Why was this so prominent?

Since we were contrasting 3 distinct environments it was important to treat the locations as a character or even the protagonist.   Also, Jamaica is really beautiful.

What’s the next project on the horizon?

Doing the cinematography on a film being directed Michael Corrente called Loosies.  Production starts this summer.  Peter Fascinelli is in it alongside Vincent Gallo and Michael Madsen.
Should be fun.  I also have a bunch of my own film I’m eager to make so hopefully I can get going on one of those soon too.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 6:26 pm

    Would have loved to be apart of this

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