Interview with Filmmaker Ian Harris (WHAT MATTERS)

WHAT MATTERS, 14min., USA, Crime/Drama
Directed by Lauren Robbins, Ian Harris
The lives of 2 men cross at a bank robbery, reminding us that not everything is simply black and white.

Get to know filmmaker Ian Harris:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
I (Ian) had a conversation with my good friend and podcast partner Ty Barnett about doing a short film with a white guy and a black guy on the bus and their inner thoughts judging everyone including each other. Then ending up in a situation where they had to interact and we realize neither was who we thought they were. It was just going to be he and I. But as America saw more and more of these police shootings and such, I asked to change the idea to what we have now. Ty agreed and we wrote it. I wanted to make sure that the story was told from multiple views and represented different ideas, so I asked Lauren (LaLa) if she would co-direct it with me. Lucky for me she said yes.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The script was around for a year or 2, but once LaLa and I decided to make it, we set a date that we both had available, which was about 6 months out, and started raising money and building cast and crew.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
We had 2 days to shoot it and a LOT of sets and moving parts. The biggest thing is we could not rent a bank, so we had to build one out of an airport set. The production and post was actually every smooth. It was an amazing cast and crew.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I actually got teary eyed when people got out of it what we wanted. I think several people got one or two things that we hoped to get out of it. I liked how it affected people differently and some people got different subtleties that were planned and others felt them and maybe didn’t realize we did something on purpose for that reaction. People actually used words to describe it that we use internally amongst ourselves and that was amazing. I love that people got that neither guy was bad, but societal pressures make people do things, make snap decisions and our biases and prejudices, even subconscious ones can lead to tragedy.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
For me, when I was in high school, I wanted to write comedies and be a comedian and over the year years it developed into all films.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Airplane and A Clockwork Orange

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
We loved the feedback and input. Of course any marketing or ways to get press that might write reviews is good!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway is great resource for filmmakers. It makes festival searching researching and submitting super easy.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Me (Ian) am honestly a fan of any good food. I LOVE pizza. I LOVE BBQ Ribs. I LOVE sushi.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
We hope to take “What Matters” and see if we can do a feature version. I have a feature starring Sean Astin in the works called StandBy, about anxiety and the things that keep us from achieving our dreams. LaLa and I are also working on a feature called Killer Book Club with Vivica A Fox and Monica Potter. We are both involved as producers, but hopefully we end up co-directing that!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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