Don S. Davis ~ Related Interviews
 
Sel originally interviewed Joel Miller back in August 2005, regarding his recently completed indie film called The Still Life. After a great deal of hard work on Joel's end, Warner Brothers will be releasing The Still Life on DVD on August 7, 2007. We recently caught up with Joel to find out what's been happening in the last two years.

You can place The Still Life in your Netflix queue here.


Q1. Joel, I'd like to thank you for keeping me updated on your film. When I first interviewed you regarding your film, it was back in August 2005. The DVD is now scheduled to be released on August 7, 2007. Would you mind telling me some of what you've done in the last two years from the finalizing of the film to now?

Wow! I can't believe it has really been that long... The final edit of the movie changed since then, I believe... I want to say that back then it was still a rough edit...

We really did well at the festivals getting into 26 total, and winning a whole bunch of awards for both the film and the soundtrack...

After we hit the majority of the festivals is when I started trying to secure distribution and as you know Warner Bros. is distributing the film in North America. I am now pushing on the publicity side and working on securing overseas distribution... Good news is we have several companies interested... The soundtrack is going to be packaged and sold with the DVD... I always felt that the music was an integral part of the film and I pushed very hard for the two to be sold together in a single unit. The soundtrack will be sold separately as well but that won't be till the end of the year...

[Sel's note - you can order The Still Life through Joel ]


Don and crew.

Q2. You've put more than five years of your life into creating and promoting this film. By that I mean, writing the screen play, producing the film, marketing it and then taking it to various film festivals. Now that it's being released on DVD, do you feel like a parent watching his kid gets on the school bus for his first day of school?

LOL! I don't know if a parent is supposed to be sick of their kids... To be really honest, I'm a bit tired... Throughout the process I've really had to wear all the hats and it has really worn me down...

I can't wait 'til the next film because we are going to have a budget and there will people hired to help out... With that being said, I'm very proud of the film and the soundtrack and I'm blown away at the incredible response from SOOO many people... The film hasn't hit the market and yet we still get 30 to 40 emails a day asking questions about the project. I think the best part is to hear from artists who relate to Jason's character in the film. We get a lot of emails from struggling artists who are glad that their cries are heard and understood. I like that stuff and it keeps me going...

I'm proud of the film but if it is my kid, I can't wait 'till he moves out! LOL



DP Rich Barbadillo and some guy named Don.

Q3. Is Robert Miano’s character name “Rifken” based on your real-life nickname?

You got me! Must have done your research there... On the road, everyone called me Rifken... I called Robert's character Rifken as kind of an inside joke for my music friends...


Don, Jason and Rachel

 

Interview with Joel Miller ~ The Still Life ~ Part II



Jason & Don

Q4. Your main character Julian Lamont is an artist, who creates a new artistic movement called "Destructionism". He's a talented artist, yet he's an alcoholic. After a rough night, he creates "Destructionism" by literally destroying his art work. As an artist yourself, how did you create the idea of 'Destructionism'?

There is a famous painting in L.A. by Manet [Sel's Note - Edouard Manet is a French Realist/Impressionist Painter, 1832-1883] of a bum... The painting is huge... When I was a little kid, I was with my father and he was telling me how amazing it was that a guy could paint something and people will now remember him for hundreds and hundreds of years... I looked my dad straight in the eye and said "Who cares if you are dead."

When you are young, you say things to your parents hoping to hurt them. My dad never said anything and because he said nothing I think it always stuck with me.

It's true if we aren't here to make our statement what are we here for? The other part is it bugged me that people know Van Gogh as the guy who cut his ear off. People don't just cut their ears off... There is more to it! I wanted people to recognize and think about the inner torment that must affect a guy like that... Not just for his expression (his art works) but for himself...

Think about the guy behind the mask sometimes...



Don, Jason & Rachel


Q5. With art, you create, and yet with Destructionism, you are forced to destroy what you've created in order to give meaning to Destructionism. Part of the worth of Destructionism seems to be in proportion of the value of what you've destroyed, as it gives it a greater meaning. Destructionism seems to be the complete antithesis of being an artist. How did you create "Destructionism?" It seems to me that it reflects a great amount of self-loathing and self-destruction on Julian’s part.

Destructionism was the hardest part of the film to come up with...

Most artists aspire to create their own "movement." Though I strongly support all forms of creativity, I think that artists spend too much time trying to be different instead of trying to be the best they can at what they already know. Collectively, we are still artists ~ don't try so hard to be unlike everyone else...

In The Still Life, Don’s character creates Destructionism as a way of making more money. It's a gimmick, a marketing ploy, and yet it works...

Was Da da a gimmick? How about Cubism? Whether I think so or not is not important, but art in and of itself should be OUR movement... There is a lot to think about when you really start to dissect the business behind what we call "art." Destructionism is a very plausible movement... That is scary! I hoped that in creating it, I also destroyed the idea of it.  It's a horrible concept...

When writing the film, I think I had a lot of anger in me. I hated growing up and hearing critics bash peoples’ self expression. There is a lot of rage in the film.

Rachel Miner's character thinks she is talented because she learned how to paint in school... Life is your school! Nothing can teach you more than doing it hands on. While I respect the institutes of learning, I don't respect the individuals who think they know it all because they've read all the books...

The other big theme of the film is isolation. Everyone in the film is lonely. I don't want to be the young artist who hates who he has become... I don't want to use a woman when deep down, I don't really love her (Rachel's character). I don't want to be old and alone (Terry Moore's character), I don't want to be that businessman who manipulates people for self gain (Don's character), I don't want to be the addictive art buyer who buys for investment purposes and thinks that because they fund someone else's existence they are now a part of them and owed something (Mr. Rifken), and lastly I fear the woman who is as intelligent as she is beautiful (Holly Fields character)...

Life is a maze that you have to work hard to make it through... If you so chose to be an artist do it for yourself but never isolate yourself... If you have no one to share success with, you are not successful.


Don
  Joel's interview continues here.

 

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