Interview with Filmmaker Steve Bransford (LAND BEFORE LAND)

LAND BEFORE LAND, 10min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Steve Bransford
There were massive transformations of Southern U.S. landscapes in the 19th and 20th centuries in relatively short timeframes. Today those changes are hard to see and are rarely memorialized on the land.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I did a lot of research about the massive harvest of old growth longleaf pine in the Southeast U.S. between about 1880 and 1920. Through that, I learned about how many of those cutover areas were quickly reforested in the post WWII era with fast growing pine species like slash and loblolly. I was struck by how rapid these massive landscape transformations were and how very little of it is remembered on the land today. For the film, I sought to expand the focus to other types of landscapes like man-made lakes and eroded agricultural land.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

About two years. It was basically a pandemic project.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

landscape amnesia

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Getting the music right.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I appreciated that they really took the time to watch and reflect on the film. Sounds like they never had really thought about the porous boundary between what is considered natural and what is considered cultural.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

In the mid 1990s when miniDV cameras made shooting and editing digital video feasible

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Time Bandits

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I like when festivals do a good job curating a group of short films into one satisfying programming block. It provides an opportunity to see how ideas can resonate across films that are often very different in terms of style and content.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is great. It provides a very easy way to submit your film to a bunch of festivals at one time and to track the reception.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Indian street food

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m developing ideas for a new short environmental history doc with some of the same themes explored in Land Before Land. And I starting to spin up a walk-and-talk interview series with cool people in Atlanta, where I live.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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