In Conversation with Genevieve Anderson

Genevieve Anderson looking at the monitor

When it comes to the film industry it’s all about who you know not what you know. Today I am speaking to a woman that is creating a name for herself in the film industry. She is a director, artist, producer and writer. I had the pleasure to watch her latest film DUSTWUN. To say she is very talented is an understatement. You can tell how passionate and devoted she is through her work. Here is my conversation with the beautiful and talented Genevieve Anderson

Dustwun


David:
Hello Genevieve. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with me. Bring me back to the day you decided you want to be a director. What inspired you?

Genevieve: I am an accidental director – when I made my first film, Boxed, I wasn’t thinking about wanting to direct, I just needed to tell that story. I still feel that way, and the title “director” is a little off-putting because it suggests that one is doing all the work, when filmmaking is an entirely collaborative process. If anything, I identify with the title in terms of having specificity of vision – that I do have, and I direct the path of the story. I am deeply inspired by the desire to tell particular stories, and the process of doing that is endlessly challenging and inspiring.

David:
You also are an artist, producer and writer. Which title do you feel feeds your creativity most?

Genevieve: I suppose artist, as the umbrella for all that I do. Producing is something I am good at, but it isn’t based in creativity as much as resourcefulness, confidence, and precision.

I love writing but am not yet as confident with that. I am a director/storyteller by nature, and I suppose that is what feeds the creative engine the most.

Genevieve Anderson


David:
You just got digital distribution deal for your film 
DUSTWUN. Why was this film important for you to make?

Genevieve:
I made DUSTWUN from my experience living 30 miles from the US/Mexico border in Southern Arizona for four years, in one of the hotbeds of the immigration debate. I lived in between the border and the US checkpoint, which I had to cross every time I got in my car to go somewhere. I have a step-brother in Border Patrol, so heard many stories about undocumented migrants (“illegal aliens” to the BP), drug cartels, and the nitty gritty of guarding the border. I had migrants cross through my back yard. I volunteered with the Samaritans dropping water and supplies in the desert as well as Casa Alitas, the all-volunteer center for asylum seekers. I broke bread with conservatives on a regular basis (something I never thought possible before moving to Arizona), and learned that nothing is as black and white as it seems. DUSTWUN came out of the need to tell a simple story – a fable – about what is most important, regardless of your political opinions, and that is connection and compassion.

David:
What did you learn about yourself in the process of making DUSTWUN?

Genevieve:
I learned to trust myself. I was terrified about making this film – a feature working with human actors and not puppets, going into debt to make it, all of the unknowns – I’ve never been more scared in my life. I made the mistake of bringing on an associate who I had known for many years and who had directed three features. This person came on board as a producer and proceeded not only to alienate my entire crew, but to try and steal my film. She used my insecurity against me, and once I let her in, it took a lot of time and money to get her out. It was a tremendous lesson in trusting myself and never letting anyone into a project who isn’t thoroughly vetted. I learned the importance of heeding red flags – when crazy rears its ugly head once, it’s most likely the first in a series. You have to remove crazy out of the gate. As dreadful as the experience was, it was an education that I am ultimately grateful for.

Genevieve Anderson



David:                                                                                                                               You have accomplished a lot as a female filmmaker. Do you feel you get treated the same or given the same opportunity as a male filmmaker?

Genevieve:                                                                                                                       Of course not, but it’s never bothered me. Maybe it should have. The inequities and double standards have existed and continue to exist, although the door has opened wider for women, transgender, and people of color, which is great. If you focus on inequity, then that’s what you see and experience. I have always focused on the work. As I talked about in the previous question, my worst experience working in the business was with a woman who tried to dominate me, not a man, so go figure!


David:
What are your plans for your next film? 

Genevieve:
I am working on a few things: developing DUSTWUN into a limited series for television, an indie feature about friendship and death shot in Guanajuato, MX, and a puppet feature in development starring Paul Giamatti (www.tooloudasolitude.com).

David:
If you could change one thing in the film industry what would it be?

Genevieve:
I would erase its obsession with age and beauty. It’s getting better, and youth and beauty are great, but there are so many more interesting representations. I’ve always been far more interested in scars and abnormalities, both real and metaphorical.

David:
Who’s work in film has influence you? 

Genevieve:
My film God is Andrei Tarkovski, who wrote the seminal book on cinema, Sculping in Time. His films are about the inner world of consciousness and dream, which film, I believe, was created to give dimension to. I love Hal Ashby’s films, Peter Weir, Agnes Varda, Jane Campion. There are many more…

David:
Who are some actors you would love to work with?

Genevieve:
I am looking forward to working with Paul Giamatti again on the feature of Too Loud A Solitude. He is a dream. I recently met Ethan Hawk, and I think he’d be a lot of fun to work with. Anthony Hopkins, Tom Waits, Idris Elba.Susan Sarandon, Melissa McCarthy, Angela Bassett, Adriana Barraza, Tilda Swinton. Actors who are shape-shifters are my favorite – those who can abandon themselves and become something entirely new. The ones I listed (there are many more) are all well-known actors, but I would love to discover new talent, like Crystal Hernandez in DUSTWUN. This was her first film and she is going to be a star. I loved all my actors in DUSTWUN and would love to work with all of them again.

Genevieve Anderson directing Dustwin


David:
What advice do you have for people struggling to make it in the film industry?


Genevieve:
My best advice is simply to get in – start production assisting to get your foot in the door and build up from there. Relationship is EVERYTHING, so meeting people and building connections is paramount. Your work ethic is everything. Your attitude is everything. Sticking with it is everything. The industry is not  a casual occupation – it is rigorous and soul-crushing and fickle and a million other things – to choose it you have to be averse to wild fluctuations in luck, finances, and trend. It is in no way a steady or predicable occupation.

David
: Thank you for your time. What are some words of wisdom to all the readers? 

Genevieve:                                                                                                                  Be humble (but not a pushover) be gracious (but not obsequious), be grateful (always). Stick to your vision while always refining it, and don’t suffer fools!!

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