When did you first develop an interest in film?
I loved movies as a kid. Starting in middle school and throughout high school, I would always choose to do video projects for any class that would allow it. Usually it was just for extra credit, but I would take any excuse to make a movie. I would recruit my sister to video with my parents’ VHS camcorder, and a couple friends and I would make a short film about Beowulf or The Scarlet Letter, etc. The only editing equipment I had were two VHS players that I hooked together to crudely splice our terrible but hilarious projects.
Who are some filmmakers that you admire?
Lars Von Trier, PT Anderson, Alejandro Inarritu, Darren Aronofsky.
What is the process which goes into making a film? Is it something which anybody can do or does it take a certain kind of person?
Filmmaking has always appealed to me as something magical. Basically, you take words on a page and bring them to life. It’s an exhilarating process to watch something appear that you’ve written down. But, I would say that it takes a dedicated person and someone very passionate about that process to finish a film, especially a feature film which takes a lot of planning and work.
You've made a film about the tax system. Tell us a bit about it.
An Inconvenient Tax is a documentary film that looks at how the American Income Tax has gotten so complicated since its introduction in 1913. We do our best to take a non-partisan perspective to discuss the problem and various plans to fix it.
Can the tax system in America be fixed or will it always be broken?
Many experts and economists in the film argue that the tax code should be vastly simplified. This would create better transparency and fairness for all tax payers and hopefully fewer headaches in April. The major roadblock to simplifying the tax code, however, is that society is very complicated and there are a myriad of conflicting interests pressuring Congress to expand the tax laws. I think that a lot of the deductions and exemptions could be removed from both the individual and corporate income tax, but it would need to be a major focus of Congress and the public.
What are some the the enjoyable things about filmmaking?
I enjoy probably almost all of the filmmaking process. In documentary, writing and research are so exciting because I get to dive in and learn something new. The collaborative aspect to filmmaking is also one of the best parts. Usually, a film requires the talents of many people working together, and that is very rewarding -- sometimes stressful, but always rewarding in the end.
What are some of the challenges?
Logistically, a film must be planned very carefully, whether it’s a documentary or a narrative film. Usually, things go wrong when there hasn’t been enough done in preproduction. Then, it’s always hard work to actually make a movie, but I don’t see that as a negative. Nobody should get into filmmaking who doesn’t want to work their behind off.
Where can people watch An Inconvenient Tax?
Anyone interested in the film can go to aninconvenienttax.com
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