If you’re an independent filmmaker, you could learn a thing or two from British writer/director Gareth Edwards. His feature debut Monsters, an alien-invasion movie set in Mexico, is the kind of film one would expect to cost tens of millions to make. Yet Monsters was made on just half a million, which is is about what one CGI flower cost in Avatar. Well, thereabouts.
The ever-resourceful Edwards cut costs by shooting the film entirely on location with a minuscule five-man crew, using locals to fill in supporting roles and by doing all the special effects himself at home. To paraphrase my four star review, Monsters works because it keeps the focus on the characters and panders to our fear of the unknown.
While publicising the film here in Australia, I was lucky enough to talk to Edwards over the phone about Monsters before it opens nationally on November 25th 2010. During my allotted 20 minutes, I planned to ask a range of questions regarding the film, but because Edwards answers with such depth and consideration – he’s not just reciting what he told the last guy – time flew by as we talked about the film’s minuscule budget, the pitfalls of film marketing and the future of independent filmmaking. Rather than transcribe the interview as I usually would, I’ve decided to upload the audio so you can truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of Edward’s answers and latch on to his train of thought.
Listen to the interview below the jump. Enjoy!
Key points of conversation:
|0:00 – 0:26||Introduction.|
|0:26 – 1:53||How Gareth prefers to define Monsters.|
|1:53 – 4:10||The political undertones of the film; immigration and the War on Terror.|
|4:10 – 6:40||Why a bigger budget might have been a curse.|
|6:40 – 10:30||The perils of film marketing.|
|10:30 – 13:07||A response to those who don’t believe he shot the film on mere thousands.|
|13:07 – 15:56||The future relationship between Independent filmmakers and Hollywood studios.|
|15:56 – 17:50
||Whether he would sign on to a big Hollywood film or not.|
|17:50 – 18:36||Monsters sequel or prequel potential.|
|18:36 – 19:57||Diary entry recount of a typical day of shooting Monsters.|
|19:57 – 20:42||The supporting “actors” from Mexico and whether they are aware of the film’s success.|
|20:42 – 21:50||On finding a pirated DVD of Monsters in Mexico.|
Read our review of Monsters here.