All-American Boy is about Sean who returns home from college break for the summer and he makes the decision to confront his long time crush from high school, only to be stuck in a web of blackmail and abuse. We spoke to the director of the film, Ian Liberatore about the making of All- American Boy.
What draws you to filmmaking and the cinematic language?
What draws me to film making is alternate reality that it takes you to both as a film maker and as an audiance member. Being able to tell a story and mold it in any particular direction you want fascinates me. I love that I can take a story and hit them emotionally to the brink of crying or I can make them laugh or I can make their jaws drop with a twist. Knowing that I am responsible for these reactions (with help of the rest of the cast and crew of course) brings a large smile to my face. Film has so many avenues it can take to evoke an audience and I want to continue to explore the multitude of directions I can go in.
Do you believe in film schools or does making a film teach you more than film school?
I believe film school is a useful tool to help mold your craft or help you to express your vision but I believe art itself does comes from within yourself. I was lucky to go to a film school that taught me all aspects of film so that I can better help understand what the rest of the crew are tasked with and always able to step in in an emergency.
What makes cinema stand out more than the arts for you?
What draws me to film more then visual art, music, and other artistic avenues is the combination of so many art forms including performance, set design, scoring, writing, etc. it’s a beautiful structure of so many types of art brought together to make a masterpiece and it can’t work without each individual piece.
Did you choose a certain directing style for making "All American Boy" based on the script?
When I chose to make All-American boy I immediately decided on a more “gritty” and hand held perception of the story to help throw the audience into the story ten-fold. I also decided with the sensitive nature of the film that I did not want to be grotesque in nature but show more unsettling images making the viewers more so uncomfortable verses appalled. As a new film maker I do hope to continue my journey with experimenting with different styles as I continue this path and I look forward to what I can bring to the screen.
How did you choose the cast and the crew of your film?
A majority of the crew were friends of mine but the rest I hand picked from interviews that I got from a Philadelphia film organization. I had over 800 people apply for the roles in All-American Boy on backstage.com and we auditioned close to 40 people. Some of the characters were easy to cast because they either fit the exact profile that My self and my casting department were looking for or they gave such a stellar audition that it blew us away. The emotional range of our characters were all over the place and we believe that we selected the right core group of actors to handle to material given to them especially from Christopher and Gary.
How did you fund your film and what were some of the challenges of making this film?
Funding the film came from a few different avenues. First my executive producers, Mike, Jim and Judy funded a good portion of the budget and I also reviewed a nice chunk of money from doing Kickstarter. I also had some remaining funds from dvd sales from my previous movie An American Hate Crime and then rest of the budget was covered by my own wallet. As for challenges, the biggest challenge was the timing of the filming as it was towards the beginning of the Covid pandemic and we had to recast a few characters and find some new locations just days before production started which added a lot of stress to already tight schedule with limited production assistance.
Do you consider yourself an indie filmmaker and what would most be the most difficult thing about being an independent artist?
I would consider myself a cross between amateur and independent film maker. Hopefully after another film or two I can give myself the title of Indie filmmaker. The most difficult part about independent film making for sure is finding the funds to make production happen. Finding a great cast and crew takes work but is fun and typically works in our favor. Sets and wardrobe can get very creative on a tight budget which is always fun. If I had to pick a second challenge it’s being creative with sound and picture as we don’t have the budget for cranes and multi can set up or what you would find on a Hollywood set but again the the fun of being creative... baring the funds!
What is the distribution plan for your film?
No current distribution plan is set as of right now for All-American Boy but if someone sees it and is interested in distribution, I would be game for it. If by the end of the film festival circuit, no distribution deal is made, I will be selling DVDs and digital copies via our production website to help raise funds for our next venture.
What is your cinematic goal in life and what would you like to achieve as a filmmaker?
My cinematic goal would be to become a full time filmmaker, not only making it a career but a lifestyle. Making movies is one of the greatest things in this world that gives me pure happiness and I would love spending the rest of my life doing it. As a filmmaker my goal would be to make movies that either entertain the audience or move them emotionally. Bonus points if I can do both with one film. I have so many stories I want to tell and share with the world.
What kind of impact would your film have in the world and who is your audience?
I would say that our film is meant for everyone in general. It is mostly meant for the LGBT community who do not have strong representation as center characters for films but it’s also meant for the rest of the world so that they can have a small window into the lives of the LGBT community and what these members have gone through.