Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kevin Chenault on "Young Islands"

What was your filmmaking background before making Young Islands?

KEVIN: Skateboarding. This might sound fluffed, but skateboarding introduced me to everything that I find important today. Music, Art, and Filmmaking. We started making skate videos when I was 12, my parents gave us (me and my friends) an RCA Hi8 camcorder that was really nice at the time and we immediately sat it on the ground and tried to ollie over it. My parents were really great about it they just handed me the camcorder and said "have fun" and we took their advice.

Where did the idea come from and what was the writing process like?

KEVIN: It is a bit strange and I normally don't remember things like this, but my girlfriend and I were watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I stopped the film and ran for a piece of paper. I think it had to do with one of the flashbacks in the film about young Hedwig. The idea was something that happened to me as a kid and the writing was really fun and fast after that first idea.

What kind of camera did you use ... and what did you love about it and hate about it?

KEVIN: Canon xl2, with a ps technic 35mm adapter that allowed us to use prime lenses. I loved the look of the camera and adapter together. We traveled to Nashville to test it out at AC Inc. and it was exactly what I wanted the film to look like. I didn't hate anything about it; I sometimes didn't like my lack of knowledge of the adapter and camera.

What sort of sound system did you record on and why did you choose not go directly into the camera?

KEVIN: We used a Roland r44, I think. I let a friend borrow it for a film he's shooting right now so I don't have it in front of me. We wanted to have more control of the audio and if we hooked it straight into camera we wouldn't have had any of the mixing ability.

Why did you decide on black and white?

KEVIN: Black and white was one of the last things that happened during editing. The film was shot with color in mind. An influence for the film is Stephen Shames (photographer) and especially his black and white photography of inner city kids. There were actually scenes that were staged like some of his photographs that didn't make it in the final cut. Black and white felt right.

What role does music play in the success of the movie and how did you get your score?

KEVIN: I don't know about success, but I love all the bands in the film. The Gizmos, Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers), Angel Corpus Christi, and Bon Vivants. The music that holds everything together is by Jesse Gallamore.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

KEVIN: The smartest thing was to make films with friends, which isn't a new or original idea.

The dumbest things would probably take up too much time to list and would have to be given by Jill Nellis or Tabitha Timmons (producers) because I seem to have suppressed them.

And, finally, what did you learn from making the film that you have taken to other projects?

KEVIN: Don't talk as much. We'll see if I can even do that on the next project, Different Drum, which we will begin filming soon.

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