NYU alumni reveal perils of indie filmmaking
April 29, 2014
Antonio Campos and Sean Durkin met at NYU and are now making it big in the film industry. They spoke with WSN to discuss their production company Borderline Films, their new film “James White” and the struggles of film financing.
Campos and Durkin are two-thirds of the head trio that makes up Borderline Films, a production company that, along with third member and fellow NYU alumnus Josh Mond, was conceived and started while the three were film students.
“We happened to meet at the exact right time for all three of us,” Campos said. “We all were itching to make a movie and we really wanted to take advantage of everything we had in film school. And at the same time we were all developing our tastes together.”
The three friends were new to the industry and optimistic about working together in order to make it as far as possible.
“We didn’t know exactly what the company was going to be,” Durkin said. “We just knew that we all wanted to be directors and that we would help each other do that.”
Campos has already directed two films — his debut “Afterschool” starring Ezra Miller and followup “Simon Killer” with Brady Corbet — while Durkin directed 2011’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” The latter starred Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson and “Girls’” Christopher Abbott, who will also take the leading role in “James White,” Mond’s directorial debut.
“The original goal of the company was that we would all be directors, and we would do whatever we could to make each others’ first features,” Durkin said. “So ‘James White’ is Josh’s first feature. It’s a completion of the original goal of the company, which is really exciting.”
“James White” developed from a short film Mond made last year. With the help of Borderline, it has become a feature starring Abbott, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, Cynthia Nixon and Ron Livingston. The film is finished shooting, but the production team has mounted a Kickstarter campaign to aid with additional costs.
“To get this film done the right way, to get it through post production and for all the final elements that come together, we felt like Kickstarter was a good way to do that,” Campos said. “And for us, too, we had never done it and it fits with the way that we want to make things. We maintain control.”
Campos and Durkin said funding can often be the most difficult part of making an independent film, but so far they have managed to hire great casts and crews to work on their films, which have played at major festivals to acclaim.
“A lot of [our connections are] people that we went to school with at NYU, people that we crewed for and people that we were in classes with,” Campos said. “Then over the years you continue to make movies, you continue to meet people and that family of collaborators grows.”
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 29 print edition. Ife Olujobi is film editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.