The California tract houses are like the mundane meeting the mystical. Sometimes if you’re driving at twilight, and you see those houses, and they’re starting to light up, there’s something so beautiful, so ethereal about the fact that they’re all pretty similar, set against this desert landscape and the light just hitting them a certain way.
In every public space, everyone has their head down on their phone. Including me.
A lot of people dub our work as New Age. But for some reason, they don’t dub Stan Lee’s work that way.
In film, it is always collaborative, and so to me, it doesn’t make sense to not be collaborative in one of its most critical arenas – which is the screenplay.
I want to make the iPhone of movies.
A film set is all about hierarchy, but I always like to think about the circus. In the circus, there’s this real sense of tribalism, and they’re all on the road together. I don’t think the ring leader is more important than the clown. They all work together, and I think that I felt that on ‘The East.’
I think the political is personal, and the personal is political.
When I call ‘Action,’ I love to be surprised. And the actors I’ve been fortunate enough to work with always surprise me in the best ways.
The beauty of Netflix is, their job is to put stories out there, and not stories that appeal to everybody, which is maybe NBC’s job?
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend shooting a feature film on a still camera.
We’re taught that food in a dumpster is waste. But when you find bags of bread that are perfectly good, all of a sudden that waste turns into bounty. That’s an important shift in perception.
If you want to make an anarchist film, make it with a corporation.
People don’t really believe that their computer or sneakers are made by small hands, a child’s hands, or a person who is living such a miserable life. They somehow think that, no, that person has a tough life, but it’s an OK life.
Even in ‘The OA,’ we had to follow Guild requirements and put ‘directed by’ and the credits, and I’m embarrassed to put my name every time. I mean, who cares. Look it up on the Internet if you want to know who made it.
People are frustrated all over the country, whether they’re in Oklahoma or Oregon or San Diego or San Francisco or L.A. or D.C. or New York or Omaha or wherever.
Especially in America, when you move away from home, sometimes you get disconnected with your grandparents, your friends you grew up with.
I love watching ‘House of Cards.’
It took us nine months to write ‘The East’; we didn’t start writing it on the computer until seven and a half months into it.
No one dives a dumpster like a rich kid dives a dumpster, because there’s no shame.
I don’t know if any specific religion is the one to subscribe to. I’m not saying, one way or the other. I don’t want to get involved in that. But, I think having faith in this experience we are having as a group of people on Earth helps a lot.
I don’t think we set out to make ‘The East’ in order to necessarily change people’s hearts; I don’t know how much movies actually change people’s hearts. We wanted to make something that was thrilling and got you to thinking.
To make ‘Sound of My Voice,’ we had to conceive the entire world and understand it holistically. If you want to show less in a movie, you’ve got to figure out more.
I think if I was interested in writing on my own, I would be a novelist – then you could write about yourself, and that would be it. You wouldn’t need anyone else.
Faith requires a leap; otherwise, it just becomes science.
Sci-fi always appealed to me, like, since I was a kid.
I loved ‘Terminator 2’ as a teenager and ‘Sound of Music’ when I was a kid. I also loved ‘Requiem For A Dream’ as a college student and ‘Mulholland Drive.’ And I have loved ‘Lincoln’ as an adult. They are all the same, as they are all good stories and extraordinary actors.
I think it’s really important that you don’t get caught up in the way the filmmaking community isolates you and the way your life ends up being.
Actors love to do extreme things, so that is why they become actors; otherwise, they’d be novelists.
I went to graduate school for directing at AFI in L.A., and I wanted to be a director.
I wanted to be a filmmaker, so my parents helped me by encouraging me to save my allowance. So I bought my first video camera, and I would make movies, but I never made a movie that I finished until I was in college. There was no expectation, but I would make movies every day.
A good story isn’t preachy; a good story is always entertaining.
It’s funny how quickly human beings adapt.
That’s the key thing I learned from making ‘The East’: It doesn’t matter what happens in your life, good or bad. What matters is that there’s a group around you to catch you when you fall and push you back up a little bit.
I think ‘The East’ is political.
I never think the ends justify the means.
I’m very fascinated by genre.
I think that ‘Sound of My Voice’ is about the claustrophobia of living today, and how do you crawl out of the claustrophobia towards the light?
A director really doesn’t deal with performance that much, especially if you deal with great actors. Their work is the performance. What you’re helping them with is all the stuff they cannot be in control of.
‘Terminator’ is one of my favorite films, and so is ‘Terminator 2.’
I think we’re really hungry for family in America, especially when I feel like people are really pulled apart from their families.
I don’t want to make a 100 hundred million dollar movie I have no stake in.
The art house is an elitist idea.
I think that all the powerful religions are pretty much the same. People like to pretend they are very different, but they are not. They are really about believing in something bigger than yourself, something that’s unseen, and about having some faith.
Existing outside of irony is so hard.
I think that the campaign that Fox Searchlight has thrown for ‘Sound of My Voice’ honors the film’s roots and the film’s integrity, and I don’t think it overwhelms the film at all.
At AFI, you make three cycle films your first year, and then you make a thesis film your second year, and I watched Darren Aronofsky’s cycle films and was blown away – there was a young Lucy Liu, who was just part of that generation. And I just wanted to be part of that tradition.
I don’t understand how our story can be so bonkers, but ‘Captain Marvel’ isn’t. A lot of the ideas in ‘The OA’ that seem outlandish are just normalizing as the years go by.
‘The East’ could easily be a TV show.
I guess it the one consistent thing in my life was that sense of magic that film provide – I still remember the movies from my childhood that I loved.
We lived on anarchist farms, squatted in the inner city, and hopped rail cars. We wanted to see how other young people were creating meaning from their lives.
The first time I ever tried edamame, I thought it was gross. I didn’t understand the hairy skin. It didn’t taste good to me. Now I scarf down a bowl of edamame when I sit down at a restaurant, and I don’t think twice about it.
I’m a gay man of colour.
‘Sound of My Voice’ had been written before ‘Another Earth.’
I remember in grade school having a group of friends and enjoying that sense of community, enjoying living in an imaginary world that wasn’t just by yourself or your sibling but a whole group of people.
I love being on a movie set.
We want to make a 100 million dollar movie that we have created, in the way James Cameron or Chris Nolan does. It’s so inspiring when high-quality auteurs are writing and directing those movies. That’s pretty cool.
I think we have to go through a lot of rituals in order to fill the gap of meaning in our lives.
You just have to make sure you keep living your life, challenging yourself, putting yourself in unusual experiences, thinking about what you’re interested in doing, and going there.
I’m just interested in carving out a meaningful life.
It’s funny how you never know who you’re going to share your life with.
I feel like I studied anthropology in college for a reason.
‘The Terminator’ is grounded in so much realism. It’s again a story that centers around a woman that isn’t a ‘woman’s picture’ necessarily. I found it really thrilling, both ‘Terminator 1’ and ‘2.’ When you watch it it’s such fine storytelling.
It doesn’t really matter what someone’s hair looks like or if the sound is perfect. Every director who’s made a couple of movies knows that, because you can replace the sound. Or, like, any one shot is not that important, because they all add up together.
I love James Cameron. I love what he does.
It’s awesome to be part of a gay family.
On ‘Sound of My Voice,’ I was the first and last word, which is kind of a dictatorship. I like collectives, though.
Nobody can seem more politicised and glamorous than the baby-boomers. But their kids are surprisingly robust and late bloomers.
The best dumpster meal I has was the first one I had.
Group think and groups in general allow you to more fully give yourself to something other than yourself and your betterment – to feel a sense of belonging. Now is this a good thing? I don’t know, but it’s something that is longed for, at least by me.
Marvel’s storytelling is much wilder than ‘The OA’s,’ but no one talks about that.
I always think that ‘Sound of My Voice’ is a movie about the crumbs in ‘Hansel and Gretel.’ You know, those crumbs. It’s about finding your way out of the claustrophobia and alienation of modern life.
Any director who’s willing to be brave not only in terms of subject matter but also in terms of being emotional and moving you is what inspires me.
When I was 14, I saw ‘Terminator 2.’ My mind was blown. What a beautiful movie. I found it really deep and also so entertaining.
That’s the beauty of filmmaking: it’s extremely humbling because you do it all over again all the time.
It’s not easy to learn to trust someone and let someone trust you.
We would meet truck drivers, and they were like, ”Orange Is the New Black’ is my favorite show.’ And we’re like, ‘What? This looks like a Red State, Trump-voting guy, and he loves ‘Orange Is the New Black?” I think that’s the power of storytelling.
If you really want to have an anarchist experience, make a movie with a studio.
I remember being a kid, I was a little kid when my dad took me to ‘Munchausen.’ I guess he took my whole family, but I kind of didn’t want to go for some reason. Then we got there, and I was so mesmerized by the movie, and I was really taken by the young Sarah Polley. I didn’t realize until many, many years later that it was Sarah Polley.
I think disparaging something you don’t understand, while a very normal thing – I expect more from serious people.
I thought ‘Gone Baby Gone’ was really modern in showing a couple going on an adventure.
When I was 17, I grew from being something like 5’2” to 6 foot – I grew a lot – and I don’t remember growing… I feel like the same thing is true of writing. You’re waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney, but you just fall asleep at some point, and then the magic happens.
Whatever you think of Edward Snowden, it took bravery to do what he did.
The country gets so beat up in the media. It’s worth remembering how much we love America.
What I’m drawn to most as a filmmaker are these tribes that are seen as ‘fringe’ cultures. We live in a society where many young people feel alienated, and these family constructs are an antidote to that.
I think if there’s anything 2016 has taught me, it’s that we have a real hard time with women in our society; we have a hard time with the feminine.
Violence doesn’t interest me very much.
I like how collaborative and cult-like filmmaking is. It’s really family-oriented, tribe-oriented.
Sarah Polley’s ‘Stories We Tell,’ James Ponsoldt’s ‘The Spectacular Now,’ Destin Daniel Cretton’s ‘Short Term 12’ – these are really important movies.
I think about a lot of my favorite directors, and I think about their first films, and I have great admiration for the earthiness of those films.
Claustrophobia is a theme that I feel is really rife in ‘Sound of my Voice’ and struggling to come up for air from that feeling.
People are longing for tribe and community.
You think it’s so cool to have movie stars in your movie, but they become people.
You can’t just express yourself and it becomes a movie. You have to get beyond that.
I hate Q&As. They make me feel awkward.
A novel is both a story and a piece of writing. A movie is a story and a piece of filmmaking.
The beauty of ‘The OA’ or ‘Stranger Things’ is that they are both made by Netflix for Netflix. And so there was a freedom all of a sudden that matched our intention.
I think if aliens came to Earth, we would laugh. If there was an alien technology, we would laugh.
We entered ‘Lucid Grey’ into the Georgetown festival on April 27, 2001. Now ‘Sound of My Voice’ is opening on April 27, 11 years later. It couldn’t have happened in a more perfectly cinematic way.
It’s so hard to shoot wealth. It doesn’t show up on film.