Father & Daughter Film Report
The man behind TWITCHY DOLPHIN FLIX
Amanda first ran into film maker James Christopher at his Texas Revolution Film Festival, and since that time we have been seeing his films - and him - at film festivals everywhere.
After his win at the Twister Alley Film Festival in Woodward, Oklahoma for his latest film:
DIS ASSOCIATION VLLE
we managed to corner James by the bar to get an interview on his newest flix, himself, and Twitchy Dolphin Flix, currently Austin's most prolific independent film company.
What stage of your life did you become interested in working with films?
Man, I always wanted to works in films. My mom claims it was when I saw Jaws in utero. When I saw the Crow, in the mid 1990s, I thought it was something I would want to do. For the first 18 years of my life, certain films just hit me and I ended up falling in love over and over again with the medium. I just didn't think regular people MADE films. So, after a 7 year Army career, I realized that the school I attended, the University of Texas had a great film school. So I just took a shot. Had a writing sample and then had it in.
What gave you the idea / What event led you to make DIS ASSOCIATION VILLE?
DVille, as we affectionally refer to it, came from a lot of places. Some of it personal, some of it my love affair with small town Texas. I just wanted to play with this notion of ‘home’ and ‘family’ and see where that took me.
What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with in producing this film? (Either filming-wise, organizational-wise, business-wise, editing, etc….?)
Of the 14 films we’ve done, this one was one of the easiest. I think the cast and crew really bought in. I think the hardest thing was not shooting the whole thing in a wide. I love West Texas!
What did you learn about yourself personally by making DIS ASSOCIATION VILLE? (Outside of the fact of it’s a portrayal of something you experienced.)
I think it felt like the first time I made a grown up film and that I was capable of it. That’s of course, not true, but I just felt that everything was falling into place.
James & the Twitchy Dolphin Flix Crew are the driving force behind the highly successful (and loads of fun) Austin Revolution Film Festival
What advice can you give others who wish to make a film?
Get the word no out of your vocabulary. Lots of people will tell you can’t do something. Just ignore it and move forward.
What have you done to get this and your films ‘out there’? How do you feel distribution is changing?
Distribution is a tough thing to handle and is really the last nut to crack as it were. Lots of deals are out there. Lots of deals that will pay filmmakers nothing. For me, if I don’t get a cash up front deal, then I would rather self distribute and use the big following we have to help get the film out there. We’ve done it so far and it works.
Where do you see the future of films heading? As an industry? As content?
People are saying its dying. That all the good stuff is on TV. I think there will be a change, but nothing that will doom movies. It’ll ebb, flow and adapt. We might see a point where super big budgets are not being done as much as they prove dangerous for studios. Maybe a pivot to smaller films at that point. it’s the wild wild west out there for sure.
In your own words, what makes DIS ASSOCIATION VILLE unique from anything else you’ve made? From other films out there…?
I don’t like to get into the whole thing that my film is unique to other films on the circuit. As for me? I think it is unique to the rest of my catalogue. Its a bit more dramatic, a bit more introspective and definitely more personal.
Whatever you can think of you wish to be known that I'm not asking that you would like expressed, want to be known, or will help promo the film…
Thanks so much for the time. I think all filmmakers should just try to be honest about their films, where they are and what they're making. Let the work speak for itself and always try to get better.
From left to right: Allison Wood, Andrea Dettling, Jessica Bybee, James Christopher,
Shelly Bybee, & Nathan Bybee