We’re in Austin, Texas for Fantastic Fest and this is not your first merry-go-round here. What is so important about bringing a film to a festival rather than having the premiere at, say, a local cinema in your hometown of Whangārei, New Zealand?
David Farrier: At a festival you’re guaranteed an audience that loves film. This festival in particular, they’re film nerds, they love genre films, they love unusual films, and so you’re showing a film here, people are excited to see it. You’ve already got an audience that’s going to be somewhat on-side and supportive.
And also, you are showing it to people in a room who are excited to see something for the first time. I mean, this was the first time this documentary’s played anywhere, and that’s just a fun feeling in the room. When I go to a film that’s never played anywhere, I’m excited. So yeah, for me, showing people, it’s a great feeling.
You say you’re excited, but last night you said—and you did stay in the room for the most part, I think you might’ve popped out for a breather from the Michael Organ of it all—but you said that you would’ve preferred to not watch the film because you can’t stand the guy. But there you are in the room with an audience, hearing them react in real time. What were you going through?
Yeah, I mean, it was a weird thing because he’s just been in my own head for so long, and sitting in an edit room with Dan Kircher, who cut the film, we spent hours in an edit suite looking at that stuff. So the idea of watching the cut again, on one hand, is awful, but it’s also magic hearing reactions: what people pick up from it, what people like and what people don’t like, how they react in a way that you might expect or not expect.
That’s all fun, and it’s like a little litmus test for what you’ve made, how other people process it. You make it for people to watch. So for the first time, getting to hear and feel responses, it makes it worth going through the pain of having to hear your own voice droning on, and hearing Michael again and again. Overall, it’s a good thing.