Tribeca Film Festival: Rolling Out the Red Carpet
Stephanie Archer reports on her time during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and the red carpet photos and interviews she had the opportunity to be a part of.
There were so many red carpets I had the opportunity to be apart of during my time at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, not just as a reporter but also as a photographer. It was an exciting and electrifying time, as the energy pooled from surrounding photographers and reporters of several outlets. It was exciting to face my first challenges as a red carpet photographer and, with more experience under my belt, try my hand once again at red carpet interviews. This year, not all of my red carpets would be on my own as fellow writer Kristy Strouse joined me, making many red carpets a Film Inquiry reunion.
Red Carpet: John Legend and The Misconception of Cameron Post
While last year brought my first red carpet interview, this year would bring my first red carpet photo opportunity – and what a way to start the festival. Every year, Tribeca holds a series labeled Tribeca Talks where actors, musicians and directors, are interviewed by a member within their artistic genre. My first night of the festival, Tribeca presented John Legend, interviewed by Sarah Bareilles. Both were expected to arrive just before the show, a succession of clicks and lights announcing their arrival.
What a whirlwind! The flashing lights that reflected through my own lens, the flashing lights reflecting in the eyes of John Legend and Sarah Bareilles, a chorus of posing suggestions and the calling of names to have the stars give attention to a particular photographer. Everyone wanted the perfect pose, the perfect shot and a look straight to camera. The stars were quiet as they made their way down the line, Bareilles arriving before Legend, each stopping at various points in front of the Tribeca backdrop to accommodate as many photographers as possible. Happy to meet one another at the end of carpet, Legend and Bareilles both made their way back, posing together before heading inside for the night’s event.
What a high! I have always loved photography for the experience and the feeling of getting the perfect shot. I couldn’t wait for my next opportunity. I wouldn’t have to wait long as approval of coverage for The Miseducation of Cameron Post came just days later.
Where my first opportunity had only been two celebrities, The Miseducation of Cameron Post was something different all together. The film had premiered earlier this year at The Sundance Film Festival, winning the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, and the energy in the building was more intense, electrifying and exciting than any of the red carpets I had been on.
There were more photographers, a larger venue and more celebrities than I could have possibly imagined. Cast members Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Quinn Shephard, Kerry Butler, Melanie Ehrlich, Marin Ireland, Owen Campbell, John Gallagher Jr., Isaac Jin Solstein, Dalton Harrod and Christopher Dylan White, along with writer/director Desiree Akhavan, all made their appearance. It was an explosive feeling the moment the first cast member set foot on the red carpet – an experience I will never forget.
Red Carpet: When Lambs Become Lions
This was the first red carpet of the festival I would cover with fellow writer Kristy Strouse. Before the red carpet, and due to some confusion with the security staff, Kristy and I had the opportunity to speak with the director’s mother. Proud and excited for the night, she talked about her son being away from his family and his dedication to the project being overseas for three years, as well as his dedication as a filmmaker.
The beaming pride emanating from his mother was a rare treat. As film lovers and reporters, we had the opportunity to see and hear from those who are the support system of filmmakers. They were there from the very beginning and are here now at the moment of fruition. As her son walked onto the red carpet and we waited our moment to interview, I couldn’t help but notice her slip into the press line, proudly capturing the moment along with rest of us – a smile never leaving her face.
Interview with Jon Kasbe on the red carpet for When Lambs Become Lions.
Hi, this is Kristy Strouse and Stephanie Archer with Film Inquiry.
With the subject matter involved here, was there something in particular that drew you to it? That inspired you to make the film?
Jon Kasbe: Yeah, coming into this I hadn’t seen a piece of work created that really showed the side of the hunter. At the beginning, I didn’t really think it would turn into something. In the beginning, I was thinking “lets just try to show what they do and share it with people” and it very quickly turned into something much, much more complicated. And I realized that not only is this story super complicated, but these characters were not at all what I expected them to be like.
These are really funny people that I was totally drawn to and could relate to and understood. I found myself understanding the choices they were making. And, once I found myself at this dilemma, is when I realized that people needed to see this. This is amazing and kind of shocking. I think it’s worth sharing with people. That’s kind of what started it all and it grew from there.
Was there ever a time you felt discouraged?
Jon Kasbe: Oh, all the time [laughs]. I mean, I’m coming into this country as an outsider and I’m filming people on the brink of poverty. There’s a natural financial gap, inherently, no matter how much I eat the same food as them or live the same way as them, I have a camera and I’m flying into this country. So, there was always this sense of them needing money and me having it. We didn’t pay any of these characters, and it was really important to us that their motivation for being part of it was because they wanted to be, not because they thought there would be a financial benefit.
But, that was a constant struggle, and there were a lot of times they wanted me to pay them or fund things that I wasn’t able to do, because it didn’t feel right – it felt like crossing a line, and they quit the project sometimes. They said, “No more, we’re not going to keep doing this project if you’re not going to pay for this hospital bill, or this meal.” But, with time and patience, we always found ways to mend the relationship, and put that ahead of the project and continue working on it.
That’s amazing! Your mother said you spent three years in Kenya, was there anything you learned while there that surprised you, or that you’d like to share? Other than what’s included in the film of course.
Jon Kasbe: The sense of time was really interesting. I think in western culture there’s a lot more thinking about the past and present, like “what’s going to happen next?”. What I found with these guys was they were very focused on the present. It didn’t matter what you did yesterday, it doesn’t matter what you promise you are going to do tomorrow. It’s all about what’s happening right now, and it was really interesting to me. It really drew me in.
That was kind of the deeper thing I came away with, but other than that the sense of relationships is really, really strong with them. They put it above everything else, including this film in a lot of ways. Those are probably the two things that stood out the most.
Red Carpet: White Tide: The Legend of Culebra
This is a film I am hoping finds distribution. While I was unable to fit the film into my schedule, White Tide: The Legend of Culebra was a documentary I have wanted to see since covering its red carpet. There was such an energy and excitement that poured out director Theo Love while he was discussing his film, coupled by the calm, knowledgable Rodney Hyden beside him. There was a bond that was clearly present between these two that had been forged out of the making of this film. This was a red carpet both myself and fellow writer Kristy Strouse thoroughly enjoyed.
Hi, this is Stephanie Archer and Kristy Strouse with Film Inquiry. For the film, where did you guys get your inspiration? What started the whole process?
Theo Love: So this is a true story, it’s a documentary. And I am a documentary filmmaker and always looking for interesting stories, and I heard about this story about a guy in Florida who went looking for buried treasure. And I am a big fan of treasure hunting movies, so I was like “I got to meet this guy”.
So I called up Rodney Hyden, the great treasure hunter, and Rodney tells me this story that is unbelievable. And it’s a true story about two million dollars of buried treasure on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico named Culebra, that’s where the film’s title The Legend of Culebra comes from. And Rodney goes on this incredible journey to try to find this treasure, and that’s how we met.
That’s amazing. Did you ever think that maybe you could go see if you could find it? [laughter]
Theo Love: [laughter] Absolutely. Absolutely. A good treasure hunting movie makes the audience want to go look for buried treasure and this is that type of movie. As people are walking out of the theater, they are going to be picking up a shovel and heading to Culebra. For sure. [laughter]
[To Rodney Hyden] How did you feel being brought on board for this project?
Rodney Hyden: I thoroughly enjoyed it. Got a real kick out of working with everybody. It was fun.
Theo Love: Now because this is a documentary, Rodney actually went on this treasure hunt in real life. But he also became an actor in the reenactment, and this is the first time Rodney has ever acted.
What is the biggest take away you want for your audience after this film?
Theo Love: I mean it is such a great story, we just want people to have fun, buy some popcorn and enjoy a documentary in a movie theater. It’s not often that documentaries are a fun and engaging time at the movies. A lot of times documentaries are a little heavier. This is a fun adventure.
Rodney Hyden: It is.
Nice! And what was it like acting [to Rodney Hyden]?
Rodney Hyden: I was just being me . It really wasn’t hard. [laughter].
[laughter] So it wasn’t hard. And it was fun?
Rodney Hyden: Well, we took the attitude, ‘who’s going to play me but me?’ you know? And we had a good time.
Theo Love: I mean you wanted Brad Pitt to play you. [laughter]
Rodney Hyden: Absolutely.
Well, everyone wants Brad Pitt to play them [laughter]
Theo Love: Yeah, he was not available. [laughter]
Red Carpet: The Seagull
Where The Miseducation of Cameron Post was my largest photo coverage, The Seagull was the largest red carpet I had the opportunity to cover for interviews – the mixture of nerves and excitement building at the names of potential interviewees. For many of the interviews, there was only time for two questions, the line of reporters the longest I had been apart of thus far.
The excitement kicked into high gear the moment arrivals began. Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Glenn Fishler, Michael Zegen, Billy Howle and Mare Winningham each took their turn walking down the red carpet, each trying their best to stop at as many reporters and answer as many questions as possible. The carpet even featured a special guest appearance by Alec Baldwin – which was one of the biggest surprises of the night.
I was lucky enough to have a moment to speak with both Mare Winningham and Billy Howle regarding their involvement in The Seagull. First up was Winningham, known for her previous rules in Philomena, Turner and Hooch and Grey’s Anatomy. In The Seagull, Winningham was casted as Polina, a married woman deep into an affair with the doctor who treated her after her failed pregnancy.
Hi, this is Stephanie Archer with Film Inquiry. What drew you to this script and to be apart of this production?
Mara Winningham: Steven Karam and Michael Mayer, both of who I adore in the theater world. I got the call from Michael and Tom Hulce, who just passed [on the red carpet], and I think the film was pretty much cast and I got lucky and squeaked in. [laughter]
And did you find any certain inspiration to get into character? And had you read it before?
Winningham: I had. And I had seen so many productions of it. But I went back of course and read the play again, and then just concentrated on the screenplay. I think Steven‘s works was so definitive and so precise and so funny, and it was much easier to fall into that and pay attention to Ann Roth, who was the costumer who can always give you a beautiful overview of a film and not just the costume.
Following Mare Winningham, I had a brief opportunity to interview Billy Howle, the red carpet reaching its conclusion. In The Seagull, Billy Howle plays Konstantin, a writer, director and producer of his first play which he is to reveal for the first time – his potential success or failure compounded by the fact he is the only child of famous actress Irina Arkadina (played by Annette Bening).
Hi, this is Stephanie Archer with Film Inquiry. For anyone who hasn’t read this play, before going in or if they are thinking of seeing it, how would you best describe your character?
Billy Howle: I would say, he is a jealous, tortured, misunderstood poet, who requires more attention than the moment he is getting. He deserves more attention than the moment he is getting for sure.
Was there anything special that you did to get into character, to find Konstantin?
Howle: I actually wrote quiet a lot of poetry, I already did, but I kind of like to write in character so I wrote a bit.
Film Inquiry thanks Jon Kasbe, Theo Love, Rodney Hyden, Mare Winningham, and Billy Howle for speaking with us!
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