Exclusive Heartland Film interviews with the creative minds behind Truly Moving Picture Award-winning films:
Kurt Kuenne – Writer/Editor/Sound Effects Editor, Batkid Begins
On one day, in one city, the world comes together to grant one five-year-old cancer patient his wish. The Truly Moving Picture Award-winning documentary Batkid Begins looks at the “why” of this flash phenomenon. Why did the intense outpouring of spontaneous support for a child reverberate around the world and become one of the biggest “good news stories” ever?
Mark Magidson – Producer, Samsara
Truly Moving Picture Award winner Samsara was filmed over a period of 5 years in 25 countries on 5 continents, and shot on 70mm film, the film transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. By dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, Samsara subverts our expectations of a traditional documentary.
Alison Klayman – Director, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Interview Part 1:
Interview Part 2:
Truly Moving Picture Award winner Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry is the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.
Chris Miller – Director, Puss in Boots
Chris Miller took the time to chat with us about his film, Truly Moving Picture Award winner Puss in Boots! In the interview he discusses what it’s like directing animation rather than live action films, as well as how it works collaborating with a voice cast as opposed to live action actors.
Buck Brannaman – Featured Individual, Buck
Buck Brannaman, the featured individual in the new TMPA-winning documentary Buck, took a few minutes to talk with us about his life and the making of the film. We chatted about horses (naturally!) and how he opens up in the film, talking about his difficult childhood and how it relates to his work now.
Cindy Meehl – Director, Buck
Cindy Meehl, director of the Truly Moving Picture Award-winning documentary Buck, talked with us about the origins of the film and the power that it has to impact audiences. A non-filmmaker, Cindy attended one of Buck’s horse clinics and discovered a deeper, more important story that stretched beyond training horses. In the interview she talks about getting to know Buck, and what it is about him that affects people so profoundly.
Werner Herzog – Director, Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Renowned director Werner Herzog took a minute to chat with us about his most recent film, the Truly Moving Picture Award winner Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Herzog has made films, both narrative features and documentaries, all over the world. With this film he transports audiences into the heart of the Chuavet caves in France, which contain the oldest known human cave paintings. Herzog discusses both the breadth and depth of the film, as questions of the human soul arise as his 3D cameras display one of the first incarnations of art ever discovered.
Mike Mills – Writer/Director, Beginners
Writer/director Mike Mills started working on the script for Beginners shortly after his own father passed away. As a way of wrestling with his father’s death, Mike began to work through the myriad feelings and turbulence resulting from his mother previously passing away and his own father’s subsequent coming out. In many ways the film became an autobiographical account of Mike’s own thought process. In the interview Mike talks about having a Jack Russell Terrier similar to the one in the film, and how he, too, spoke to it, just like the character Oliver does in the film.
Tom McCarthy – Director, Win Win
Tom McCarthy, director of the new TMPA winner Win Win, talked to us about his film and what the Award means to him. McCarthy has also directed the TMPA winner The Visitor, making this his second Award. Tom talked about putting together his cast and finding the perfect balance between comedy and drama in making an enjoyable yet meaningful film.
Cary Fukunaga – Director, Jane Eyre
Cary Fukunaga, director of the TMPA-winning adaptation Jane Eyre, joined us for a chat about his film. He discusses updating the literary classic for a new generation, and how some of the gothic elements played a key role in the creation of the tone and atmosphere.
Dereck & Beverly Joubert – Director/Producer, The Last Lions
The husband and wife team of Dereck and Beverley Joubert joined us recently for a chat about their Truly Moving Picture Award-winning documentary The Last Lions. They discuss the logistical problems associated with living in the field for seven years, tracking a pride of lions on a daily basis. They also talk about choosing which scenes to include in the film, as some of their footage shows the grisly and brutal side of nature. In addition, they talk about the Big Cat Initiative, which they’ve launched in partnership with National Geographic in order to raise awareness about the plight of big cats around the world.
Tom Hooper – Director, The King's Speech
The director of two Truly Moving Picture Award-winning films, Tom Hooper joined us for a brief chat as he eagerly anticipates Oscar season. Tom had previously directed the TMPA winner Longford, and now with The King’s Speech nominated for twelve Academy Awards, including Tom himself for Best Director, we expect to hear a lot more about him and his film in the coming weeks. Tom discussed his role in directing the film, his cast of seasoned British and Australian actors, and shared some insight into the research that went into the film and how it affected the speech therapy King George VI underwent. Thanks to our audience on Facebook and Twitter for suggesting many of the questions we asked!
Nigel Cole – Director, Made in Dagenham
British director Nigel Cole talks with us about his Truly Moving Picture Award winner, Made in Dagenham. Nigel discusses the historic moment in civil rights history that his film depicts, a story that has never before been filmed. He also mentions finding desolate factory settings, a result of the current economic situation, in which to shoot his 1960s factory scenes.
Nathan Greno & Byron Howard – Directors, Tangled
Nathan Greno and Byron Howard join us from Australia to discuss their new film, the Truly Moving Picture Award winner Tangled. They talk about their involvement with the project and what they love about animation. Don’t miss their discussion of the “Hot Man Meeting” they held with some of Disney’s female staff in an effort to make the most handsome hero in Disney history!
John Cameron Mitchell – Director, Rabbit Hole
Interview Part I:
Interview Part II:
John Cameron Mitchell speaks with us about the challenges of crafting a meticulous, carefully balanced family drama. Rabbit Hole, a film that explores the grief experienced by a couple who have lost their son, is based on the play of the same name by David Lindsay-Abaire. Although difficult at times, the film explores the human journey in a realist, honest fashion. John talks about his love for the source material, working with stars Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, the difficulties of balancing humor and grief, and in finding the right tone for the hope at the end of the film. He also discusses the finer points of directing, including finding the small gestures that can carry more weight than any line of dialogue.
Randall Wallace – Director, Secretariat
Randall Wallace, director of the Truly Moving Picture Award winning Secretariat, talks about his involvement with the film’s production, including the use of small hand-held cameras to capture the intensity of the horse races. Wallace also talks about those films that truly move him, and mentions a couple of his own films. As the screenwriter for the Truly Moving Picture Award winner Braveheart, Wallace certainly knows a thing or two about crafting powerful films.
Bruce Beresford – Director, Mao's Last Dancer
Bruce Beresford is the director of five Truly Moving Picture Award recipients, with Mao’s Last Dancer following Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy and Paradise Road. In this interview, Bruce talks about exploring the complex world of ballet, the experience of filming in a foreign land, and the films that have inspired him.
Chi Cao – Actor, Mao's Last Dancer
In his debut feature film, Chi Cao plays the role of a Chinese ballet dancer who defects to the United States. In this interview Chi talks about his experience being a first-time actor in a major production. He also discusses filming Mao’s Last Dancer in his homeland of China and his unique relationship with Li Cunxin, the author of the autobiography from which the film was adapted.
Rob Reiner – Director, Flipped
World-renowned director, producer and writer Rob Reiner talks to us about his sixth Truly Moving Picture Award-winning film, Flipped. Reiner describes the moment he decided to make the film and why he chose to set the film during a “time of innocence.” He also shares his personal most truly moving picture and how meaningful that film is to him and his career.
Thomas Balmès – Director, Babies
Director of the unique, non-fiction film Babies, Thomas Balmès shares with us his experience working intimately with newborns and their families, the lessons he learned from making the film and what he hopes others will learn when they see it. A father himself, Balmès also shares some surprising discoveries he encountered while filming.
Chris O'Donnell – Actor, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Chris O’Donnell, who has acted in Grey’s Anatomy, Fried Green Tomatoes and Batman Forever shares his experience playing Kit’s dad, Jack Kittredge, in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. O’Donnell expresses his love for the film and how important it is for children as well as adults. Set in the Great Depression, he explains the pertinence of the film’s message for children and adults, especially in troubling economic times.
Patricia Riggen – Producer, Under the Same Moon
Patricia Riggen, producer of Under the Same Moon, shares how her inspiration for the film developed from her desire to create truly moving films. Despite opposition from others, Riggen was determined to make a heartwarming film that didn’t focus on all the negative issues that receive so much attention. She also shares her hopes for what people will get from seeing the film.