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12 Jul 0 Comment

Interview | Empty Nester

A woman has recently become the sole inhabitant of her long time home – or has she?. Directed by Nicholas Anderson.

1 – How did the initial idea for the film come about?

The original idea of the story came way before production started. I had just moved out of my childhood home and had gone to college, making my mother an empty nester. She claimed that she began seeing ghosts around the house and when she was sleeping, and the rest of my family joked that it would make a good horror film. Then I got the opportunity to get my hands on some equipment a few years later and it all came back to me.

2 – What attracted you to the use of black and white? Was there any influence?

While the thought of using black and white floated around during development, we only made the decision during post. I felt as though the film was lacking an eerie feeling that a lot of the films I was inspired by had; films like classic Hitchcock movies or the more recent works by Robert Eggers.

3 – What were the obstacles that you encountered as a director when making the piece? How did obstacles or inconveniences transform during production?

There really weren’t that many obstacles in making the film. The only real problem was managing schedules and working around budgets given that we were students at the time. We were working on a budget of close to nothing so we had to come up with unique and different ways to shoot the film and make it still feel like it was real cinema, ultimately we decided on using techniques from the past, like cutting on body wipes to make the takes feel longer without having rigs like steadicams.

4 – What films of the last 2-3 years have made the greatest impression on you?

Interestingly enough, I think television has made just as great of an impression on me as film has over the last few years. Shows like The Haunting of Hill House and Better Call Saul have been important influences on my filmmaking ideas. If I had to name a few films of the last few years that I wish I could have been involved with I’d say, Ad Astra, Hostiles, Lady Bird, and A Ghost Story.

5 – What directors or writers have been your influences and why?

I think I could probably have an endless list of influences. I have a fondness for the golden age of Hollywood and the greats like David Lean and Nicholas Ray. I’m just as drawn to modern filmmakers though, with low-budget directors making their dream films being a large inspiration to me; filmmakers like David Lowery, Mike Flanagan, and even Brie Larson. While they inspire me to want to make films, I aspire to be like the most acclaimed modern directors like Alfonso Cuaron and Richard Linklater. However, the filmmakers that I think I have the closest connection with are those that had similar backgrounds and come from a similar area that I do: the American Midwest; directors like Alexander Payne and the Coen brothers.

6 – Do you plan to make a feature film?

I do. My first completed screenplay They Were All Becoming Shades has gotten some small buzz. It’s a coming-of-age period piece set in 1950s West Texas. It’s been compared to classic films like The Last Picture Show, Hud, and Splendor in the Grass. It’d be a while before anything happens, and I plan on writing a few more stories in the meantime, but it’s my dream.

7 – If you had to define your style as a director, from your technical aspects, how would you define yourself?

I don’t think I quite have a style yet, but the more I develop it I see that I like to lean towards long takes, wide-angle shots, and natural lighting as defining characteristics of my style.

Born in Bloomington, Indiana to a film professor and film archivist, Nicholas Anderson always wanted to be a film director.