OMATG Week 2

April 17, 2017


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We began our second week with 5am call times and finished with a 5am wrap. In between we shot some legendary material out at a beautiful Wyeth-ish farm. But! Let it be known that we only spent two days on pastoral loveliness. The rest of this movie takes place under grungy underpasses, on sunbaked freeways and in brutalist interiors.

I mentioned in my last entry that sick-to-my-stomach feeling that greets me each morning. Conversely, on the drive home most nights, I'm full of adrenaline, ready to keep shooting. I've been trying my best to nudge the latter mood to the start of the day. One thing that's helped is meditation. During the shoot of A Ghost Story, I tried this app called Headspace for a ten day free trial and found it immensely helpful in settling my mind each morning. As we were ramping up for this, I went ahead and bought a subscription and started again. I've been doing it each morning and it's become something I actively look forward to. I aim to recalibrate myself to feel excited about the opportunity each day brings, instead of feeling so woe-is-me as I drag myself out of bed, across the floor and into the car that will ferry me to my doom. I realize this sounds like an advertisement. So be it.

Speaking of recalibration, today actually marked the beginning of Week 3, and we started the morning off with a bunch of new cast members. It felt like we were making a different movie. We will feel this sea change at least once more during the last two-thirds of production...

Next week I'll tell the tale of young master Asher, the coolest kid who ever got plucked off the street on his way to school to be in a movie.

Posted by David Lowery at 9:33 PM

OMATG Week One

April 9, 2017

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I'm forcing myself to wind down at the moment, so I can get to bed by 9pm so that I can wake up at 3am to get to location by 5am to kick off the second week of production of The Old Man and The Gun with a nice pre-dawn shot of a fellow on a horse.

The first five days went off pretty much without a hitch, with wheels greased by the two days of prep we'd already spent shooting. We missed half-a-day on a process trailer due to a sudden thunderstorm, but other than that - this whole endeavor feels pretty breezy. I still wake up every morning with a knot in my stomach, thinking that I need to retire, but those feelings have been fading faster than usual. It's a pretty tightly knit group of friends we've got making this movie here, and there's nothing like hanging out in the presence of good pals, watching legends do their thing on super16mm. This movie feels lighter and scrappier than anything I've done. It's also the least intrinsically me of all my movies thus far, which is part of what excites me about it. I'm stepping outside my usual comfort zones a little bit.

I'm not going to post daily updates, the way I did on Pete's Dragon, but I might throw up some images and random asides here and there as we go.One of those asides is going to be a brief mention of Personal Shopper, which I saw at the Esquire Theater (my home-away-from-home here in Cincinnati) last weekend and have since become increasingly obsessed with. I haven't enjoyed thinking about a movie this much in ages. I went home and bought all the records by Anna von Hausswolff, whose music plays during the closing credits, and have been listening to them in lieu of making a return trip to the theater, which I nonetheless hope I'll be able to do next weekend.

Posted by David Lowery at 6:51 PM

Early Hauntings

January 31, 2017

I was tracing the history of bedsheet ghosts in movies and media during an interview the other day, but I think my lifelong love of all things ghostly surely began with the Gus Was A Friendly Ghost books by Jane Thayer.

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This picture above and the one below are both shockingly representative of a scene in A Ghost Story!

I also love that the title contains the word Was, putting the series definitively in the past tense: Gus Was A Friendly Ghost. That sort of contextual titling is like catnip to me! I need to go to my parents' house and find these. Maybe the one where Gus finds a baby ghost in a crib would be good fodder for a sequel.

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Posted by David Lowery at 4:00 PM

Sundance Day 7

January 26, 2017

Now I'm heading home. Over the past seven days, the world got a whole lot worse, but up in this snowy mountain hamlet a little bit of optimism burned bright. I haven't figured out quite how to use it yet, but at least we've still got it.

A Ghost Story entered that world in the best way possible. I'm overwhelmed by the response. I think we all are. I'm still not reading reviews, still not logging into twitter, but the word of mouth has crept my way and I can't quite believe it. This photo, taken by the wonderful Shawn Bannon as we walked home from the premiere, sums up the experience.

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Thank you to everyone who went to see it, who wrote about it, who talked about it in line and on shuttles. And thanks to A24 for supporting us and also for making sure the party later that night was full of pie. Now it's time to lock this curious spirit up, to be released again at a later date...

I also saw a lot of amazing short films. That was an amazing experience in its own right. My fellow jurors, Patton Oswalt and Shirley Kurata, spent many hours in the dark together, many car rides to and from theaters marveling at the work we were seeing. Picking the winners basically came down to a lot of well-argued coin flips - these movies were all so good! You can see the winners we chose here, along with Patton's amazing intro:

I also squeezed in seven feature films: I Don't Feel At Home In This World Anymore (timely title!), Person To Person, The Yellow Birds, Beach Rats, Where Is Kyra, Get Out and The Novitiate. I could have sat through a dozen more, but alas, it's time to get out of this bubble and get back to Texas and make The Old Man & The Gun - a movie whose title basically represents everything that's wrong with America. Hopefully I can figure out a way to justify it.

Posted by David Lowery at 9:06 PM

Sundance Day 1

January 18, 2017

Was it really nine years ago that I made my first trip here? That is insane to me. I am currently cozy in bed in my room at Sundance, resting up before the mad rush of the next six days. In addition to representing A Ghost Story, I am also on the Short Film Jury, my duties to which kick off one hour from now with the first of six blocks of films. I always try to see short films at festivals, and I'm very excited that for once I'll be able to see all of them.

A Ghost Story premieres on Sunday. About it's release into the world, I am curious. Slightly nervous. But confident. I'm read for whatever reactions come our way.

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We'll see how it all shakes out in a few days. Until then, I'm going to go watch a bunch of shorts, as many features as I can squeeze in, and try not to think too much about the fact that our next movie starts shooting in just seven weeks in Ohio...

Posted by David Lowery at 1:52 PM

The Best of 2016

December 31, 2016

After a few years off, I decided to make a top ten list this year.

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You can read it in its entirety over at Indiewire.

I saw 235 movies this year, which is 31 more than last year. Over half of them theatrically. I'm gonna try to maintain this upwards trajectory!

Posted by David Lowery at 11:12 PM