Friday, September 18, 2009

Q & A With George

This is a transcript of a SKYPE interview with George Gittoes and producer Gabrielle Dalton. The interviewers are college students from the ASU Art program who's teacher, Dan Collins, had them do an academic screening of the film The Miscreants of Taliwood.

Q: How did you find your second camera man?
GG: He was my second choice, I had to go into Pakistan as a film teacher. The first guy was a rather large guy body guard type, but he had no natural talent. I was later talking to a guy who would be come my second camera man who was looking at what the other guy was doing and just said that it was stupid. He had never picked up a camera before but he had a natural talent for the camera, its like being able to paint, you can understand how to move a brush but you have to have some natural instinct.
GD: He was very courageous.
GG: a little bit to courageous. We really did end up in front of the the Red Mosque. It was illegal to be there and I had to ask him if we were even allowed to be there. The people in the Mosque though we were involved and tried to surrender to us.
GD: and he was only 23 right?
GG: I think he lied, I think he was really 22.
GD: We took him to Australia to have some real training.
GG: He has a pretty good job now, not in film but it is still good. He had three brothers one was of the Taliban, one was head of the Police, and the last was a brilliant librarian. We needed all of the tools they had to offer. We got arrested at the Red Mosque and his police head brother got us out.
Q: How many hours of footage did you shoot?
GG: I had two cameras because then I would always have a copy in case things got damaged or lost on the way back to Sydney. I had to smuggle out the tapes. I would give the footage to people who live in other provinces. Who have then have to connect with and export company in Sydney who has nothing to do with film. We never labeled them correctly. They would say things like it was for a wedding. It's like the Bourne Identity you have to hide everything.
Q: I always thought of 2 cameras as a way of having different angles but these were copies? Just how many cameras did you bring?
GG: I had 3 HD cameras, and a mini DV.
GD: We tried to shoot this entire movie in HD because we knew that was how it was going to need to be presented.
Q: How much story boarding did you do or was it more intuitive?
GG: I would have to make trips to Chicago and each trip we would do a kind of rough assembly, and it took me only 2 trips because this one I really understood what needed to be done.
GD: It's a very interesting style we work with. We know anything that George passes with the camera will turn to gold. We knew when this was going to do great things.
Q: Can you talk about Nick?
GG: We work very close together, he is like a great tailor. We have never had a disagreement. It was a very complex edit and we and to make the effects.
GE: It was all done on Final Cut Pro, we didn't have all this technical stuff.
GG: The only thing I've got to say is that it's really a joy to edit when you have 2 cameras. You never have a problem with flow. Just having that second point of view makes it that much better in production standards.
GD: We got to look at the film as it was coming back to us in Sydney. Nick just liked to let things simmer, but the best was when we received the Taliwood films.
GG: They are, getting them was a bother and it creates a dialogue about what they are doing. I would never take someone in there with me. It would be irresponsible. So the people there are very important.
GD: George had these super powers to foresee things. He pointed to the map and knew where this was going to be, but if you go back 3 or 4 years ago you never would have known that this was going to be the hot spot.
GG: I had an obligation to do it because no one else had the kind of incite I've got about all these things, but I don't know where are all the balls are going to bounce, but at least I have the balls. I though we would have gotten into a bigger conflict in the mountains during the shooting of the drama. All I had to do was pay them off with 8,000 rupees ($120).
GD: We don't go into this we much money.
GG: That's a lot of money to them. That's a fortune to a local. Had they felt I was a foreigner they would have tracked me down. I don't think I would have gotten out.
Q: Why did you pretend to kill yourself in the beginning? What was the motivation in creating death in a setting where it was real?
GG: People are really ghoulish, and I thought I would just give it to them. I have a special effects guy and so I used him. I wanted to put up a road sign where you don't know where things are real or not real. No one actually knows what is real like the weapons of mass destruction.
Q: Was the violence a sensitive subject or did the people just laugh it off? The people in Pakistan?
GG: They love any kind of spectacle it was more interesting to than the real people dieing. It is better to create than destroys.
GD: It brings up the issue that the play of stress. That because they don't have an outlet they have to keep it all bottled up.
GG: It was like an exorcist because I have already killed myself and I had the relief of going on with the documentary.
Q:How about the paring of the Pakistan drama with the authenticity of the documentary, and the power in the paring?
GG: The big Idea for me and it was huge,that I could have made it here to western standards, but the goal was to make a Pakistani drama that would sell. It would have been selfish to make a western drama. So we made a Pakistani film and it was a best seller. The sold over 40 thousand copies. We find four film and keep the message as true as possible. We are going to go to Afghanistan in the future to make a werewolf movie. There is going to be a lot of werewolves in Kabul when we get there.


Dan Collins said...

Fantastic job of transcribing the Skype interview, Jennifer! Thanks so much. Dan

Dan Collins said...

A coupla edits that you might make... I think you know that George was working in Pakistan...not Palestine. And he took HD cameras with him...not hasty cameras.

Anonymous said...

This is the cool link!You get to hear Georges latest thoughts which are amazing and you get to see Hellen Rose, Georges partner and she is fantastic. Their work is great together.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous! Goerge is tha man! And Hellen is tha lady! Amazing voice!

Love from anonymous;)

Fungud said...

Hey, where can I buy a copy of this? Thanks. Great film.