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Greg W. Locke, writer/director: FOREVER INTO SPACE

February 22, 2015
Greg W. Locke, writer/director of FOREVER INTO SPACE

Greg W. Locke, writer/director of FOREVER INTO SPACE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Forever Into Space, from concept to financing.

A few years back I made a very low budget music documentary. My goal with that one was to make a non-fiction film that could play alongside Godard‘s early 60s flicks. Artsy, free-wheeling, unconcerned with mass appeal – all that dreamy stuff that only outsiders can do these days. That film played at some small fests and was celebrated a little bit in the hometown of the subject, but that was about it. A friend of mine who works as a DP here in New York City saw it and eventually convinced me to move to New York. He wanted me to be here, to work on films, to write. I spent the better part of a year working on other people’s productions – big and small – while writing screenplays at night and on the train. The city took hold of me, it inspired me. That said, I wasn’t enjoying working on other people’s productions. It just wasn’t enough for me. To justify the insane cost of rent I needed to be doing work I believed in. I needed to run my own show. I didn’t want to get stuck in the NYC for-hire production circus, I wanted to make art. So I started brainstorming ways I could make a movie in the city. The plan was big and deeply detailed, but pretty much boils down to this: make the biggest movie possible for the smallest amount of money. I planned everything around my resources. I sold off 17 of my paintings in order to upgrade my camera and have a little money to live off of; I wrote a 22-page project proposal that I made anyone wanting to work on the film read several times and sign off on. I formed a team of seven producer/actors (and one soundman) to make the film with. We would work as a committed team. No one got paid a dime but everyone received an equal ownership over any profits the film potentially makes. No craft services, no cars, no nothing. We ended up spending $880.09 to make the film, and I’m happy to say that I think it’s a big, pretty one. Once the film was done we did a little bit of modest fundraising so we could enter festivals. Eventually we met up with Robert Hawk and screened the film for him. He gave us some input and we went to work on a second cut. Then a third cut. Eventually we showed Bob the film again and he loved it and came onboard as our festival consultant. He suggested Cinequest and here we are.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Forever Into Space. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

Our film is certainly not for everyone. That’s the kind of art I like to make, and I think that’s the kind of art most of my favorite artists make, so I’m okay with people being split on the movie. I’m okay with people not liking it. I think that’s just part of it. So for me that takes away the fear element that I think a lot of filmmakers experience when their movie premieres. That being said, I’m not excited about the premiere either. Making a film is a marathon, and by the time you finish you’re just exhausted and burnt out. You’ve spent so much time working on it and thinking about it and making it the best that you can that you just sort of lose track of how you feel about it. And it’s never going to be quite what you wanted it to be. I don’t know if that makes sense unless you’ve made a film or not. As for the audience reaction. I suppose I hope some people love it and connect with it. If people are paying for tickets to see Forever Into Space, I sincerely hope they enjoy their time watching the film, even if they’re just sitting there hating it, I hope they have a good time doing so. But let’s like the movie, guys! Okay?! Okay!

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Forever Into Space.

I’ll tell you about the worst part of making the film, since I’m that kind of guy. The worst part was the back-breaking part. There was nothing glamorous about the way we made the movie. I worked as the producer, writer, editor, director and DP on the film, so I had a whole lot of gear to haul around. I had no AD, no PAs, no assistant, not even a car or a cab – just me, lots of luggage and the NYC MTA system. So I got the largest suitcase I could find and the largest backpack I could find, and stuffed them both as full as could be. Oh, and then also the camera bag. I hauled all that gear around Brooklyn – up and down all the subway stairs. Up and down the stairs to our fourth floor key location. Through the endless 4th Ave. station, over and over. Down through the sand at Coney Island. Through Midtown crowds, down the broken brick streets in SoHo – you get it. And I never let anyone help me. I was stubborn. I wanted – WANTED – everything to be hard. I had been working in studio productions and was really sad about all the waste I saw. How comfort was so important to everyone. They were constantly coddling us at every turn. I wanted to do the opposite of that. I’ve seen Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams enough that my idea of filmmaking has much more to do with sweat and back pain than it does jumbo shrimp platters. The only thing I had to waste was energy. A filmmaker friend who knows me well said to me “you’re going to be the junkyard dog of Cinequest.” I thought that was funny. I hope to find some other animals while I’m in San Jose.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

I think the approach we used to make the film is simultaneously progressive and simple. I like to think our film is notable from a production standpoint for very unique reasons. I think it’s fun to look at. I think it has a beautiful score and original music. I think the actors are all babes and all gave good performances. It’s a weird film that was made in a weird way. It’s a movie about New York City made by an outsider, which I hope people find interesting. So yes, I think – I hope – Forever Into Space has some things going for it – mostly the bit about how we made the movie. The very unconventional plan we used and followed through on. The whole idea was to not just make a movie that was artistically successful, but to make a piece of art that had interesting talking points. And I think we did that. So why should people see it? I suppose people who love art and love discussing art should see it because if nothing else, it’s made to discuss. I think it’s good for that, and other things.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Forever Into Space. Give us your acceptance speech.

I’m not big on the concept of awards for art, but I understand why they exist and it’s a good time. And I’m nothing if not a fan of film, so I always look forward to the Oscars because it’s a fun night. That being said, If I were to win an Oscar for Forever Into Space I would give an impassioned speech about the film I felt should have won the award, which in 2015 I’m guessing will be Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. And that would probably be the last award I would ever win. Because that’s not how it works, Greg.

See FOREVER INTO SPACE at Cinequest!
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