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Interview: Miranda July (The Future)

“But as time goes on where other people’s perspective come in you just let go where it becomes a real movie at that point. I don’t watch my films anymore where they become like ex-boyfriends where I loved them but also moved on.”

A thirty-something couple decide to take another step towards cementing their relationship by adopting a homeless cat — which leads them to re-examine their life and their relationship. Much like her debut film “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” Miranda July’s sophomore effort centers around quirky characters with undeniably charms — think of a Solondz-lite world that is less confrontational and accentuated on whimsical traits. A rom com with atypical rom com characteristics, this Sundance/Berlin Film Festival preemed The Future was picked up by Roadside Attractions and released on the last weekend of July and is currently expanding in theaters nationwide. Here’s our sit-down with the writer-director-actress-artist and, the voice of Paw Paw.

Yama Rahimi: How did this project started?
Miranda July: It started, the first kernel of it, when I was editing the first movie which was a very dark time for me. Actually I was going through a break-up and here I was editing a relatively light and funny movie. I remember thinking that next time around I should show this kind of feeling, just this side of life where things do not magically work out. That was the seed of it. The first image was stopping the time which I thought I was playing that part but you follow this ideas through years and years. I got married since then and so many things happened and I no longer wanted to be that person.

Interview: Miranda July (The Future) IONCINEMA.com

Rahimi: How do you feel about doing press long after the film has finished and premiered in Park City and Berlin?
July: In a weird way it’s tough as it is, it’s also like a healing process where you move further away from the battle wounds of making it. Like if we had more time for that scene or if I haven’t hired this person, it would have been easier. At Sundance all that and the wounds were still fresh and on my mind where I was just shaking where I still want to edit it. But as time goes on where other people’s perspective come in you just let go where it becomes a real movie at that point. I don’t watch my films anymore where they become like ex-boyfriends where I loved them but also moved on.

Interview: Miranda July (The Future) IONCINEMA.com

Rahimi: How difficult was it to get this film made compared to your first film?
July: Well on the one hand it was easier because everyone who was involved financing this movie were involved in some way with the first movie. But that side happened in the middle of the recession where a lot of companies were just dropping right and left. Specially for a film like this where they thought it won’t make any money. So the budget where I thought would significantly more that the first movie wasn’t at all. I actually had less days to shoot. Also now that I’m known I was busted by the unions where I had to make everything more legit. It was tough and it’s a movie without any stars which puts it in certain bracket.

Rahimi: Jon Brion did the score for the film. How did the collaboration came about?
July: He was the lucky thing that came from the first movie which he saw and asked me I want to score your next movie. It was a great collaboration for three weeks which mostly at night because he works only at night from 8pm to 5am. I came with certain sounds, some of them from Brian Eno stuff and different songs. He was testing sounds with me to see if I respond to it and if I did we work on that. I’m not a musician so we tried to create a language together.

Rahimi: How important was winning the Camera d’Or in Cannes and did it have any impact on your career in anyway?
July: Well it’s worth to mention that this movie was entirely financed by European money which is related to that. The movie did really well in a lot of European countries because of the auteur tradition which is celebrated there but does not exist here. So it had an impact on my career in a practical way.

Rahimi: What’s next for you?
July: I just finished a book that comes out in the fall that’s called “It Chooses You” and it’s a non-fiction book with my own writings and interviews with people who sell stuff through the Penny Saver classifieds where I met Joe Putterlik, the old man in the movie which was an unrelated project but I ended up casting him in the movie who’s a non-actor. So there’s that story and a lot of other stories and photographs. I’m also working on a novel which is many years away.

Rahimi: You are from Berkeley originally. How did it shape you?
July: Berkeley kids are kind of unique because we grew up without a norm. For me the norm was to be around people who are passionate or even fanatical about what they loved or causes. They cause their own jobs and way in life. Not that everything was radical all the time. I’m a total product of that more so than my parents because they didn’t grow up in Berkeley. They were a little surprised when I dropped of college because I knew what I wanted to do and didn’t have to be hired by somebody else. Although I wished as a kid things to be more normal and live in the suburbs. Looking back I’m glad I didn’t and it’s a wonderful place to grow up.

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IONCINEMA.com's award guru Yama Rahimi is a San Francisco-based Afghan-American artist and filmmaker. Apart from being a contributing special feature writer for the site, he directed the short films Object of Affection ('03), Chori Foroosh ('06) and the feature length documentary film Afghanistan ('10). His top three of 2019 include: Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, Todd Phillips' Joker and Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse.

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