An autobiographical film about the director testing positive for Huntington’s disease. Dylan Reid attended Oberlin College where he studied Film and Mathematics. After testing positive for Huntington's he decided to focus on filmmaking for his remaining years. It is with great pleasure to interview him for Chicago Movie Magazine. His project was recently an official selection of Chicago Indie Film Awards.
What draws you to filmmaking and the cinematic language?
Filmmaking is just such a complex and layered endeavor, it requires so much of you, and I think that is what makes it so engaging for me. I've always been interested in so many fields, and cinema gives me a great variety of tasks, from writing to editing to directing. I've been a film buff my whole life, but before being diagnosed with Huntington's, I wasn't sure I'd ever make a film. Once I knew I was working on a shortened timeline, I knew I had to make something I could be proud of with my time left, and cinema was just the obvious way for me to do it. It's always been my favorite medium of art, and it was just a matter of pulling together the resources to get it done. Do you believe in film schools or does making a film teach you more than film school? I went to a liberal art school, so I don't have direct experience with film school. I'd say I'm happy I did that instead of film school because I believe it led to a more well-rounded education. Making a film on a low budget requires so many different skills, it's not just questions of aesthetics, the seemingly boring work of budgeting and logistics end up being essential as well. What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you? For me, cinema provides both the empathetic connection of literature, with the simple beauty of images. The ability to create characters and stories we care about, and accent that with immediate emotional responses beautiful or horrific images gives us, leads to a kind of poetic synthesis of the best art has to offer. It gives everything you make a sense of reality to it, which was perfect for making an autobiographical story. It allowed me to make something that splits the line between documentary and fiction. Did you choose a certain directing style for making your film based on the script? I wrote the script myself, but I did keep in mind as I was writing it, how I'd want to shoot it, and that influenced the script quite a bit. So I'd say it is really the other way around.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your film? We relied on friends and their connections for the cast and crew, which is necessary for a micro-budget film like ours. Luckily I have a lot of talented friends who contributed and helped make something we are all proud of. Hopefully, the next project will have a bigger crew and we will hire more professionals, but it worked out well for this smaller and more personal project. How did you fund your film and what were some of the challenges of making this film? We used a combination of Kickstarter and self-funding. The biggest help of all was friends agreeing to work on the film for cheap or even for free. The biggest challenge was having to act and direct with a small crew, I'm not going to do that again! Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker and what would most be the most difficult thing about being an independent artist? Yes, and it is very difficult to work in the world with a limited budget. Trying to make a film just requires so many people to help out. Working with a smaller crew and a limited budget requires coming to terms with practical reality. Not everything is going to turn out how you wanted, and you have to plan for what you are actually capable of doing.
What is the distribution plan for your film? We’ve been relying on advice from people who have gone through this before. The biggest problem is that we lack any connections to people in that world. Our approach so far has been to hit the festival circuit and see if that could lead to making some introductions happen. If all else fails we will probably contact a sales agent. What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a filmmaker? I'd like to complete a trilogy before my symptoms start to kick in. Honestly, if these films get any audience at all, even a very small one, I'd be happy. What kind of impact would your film have in the world and who is your audience?
I don't know, I guess my audience is anyone who feels a ticking time clock in their life. I don't expect my film to have any significant impact at all, it is just part of the world now, and that is enough.
Link to Trailer: