g The Film Panel Notetaker: SXSW 2008 - Goliath - March 7, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

SXSW 2008 - Goliath - March 7, 2008

Yesterday, I flew into Austin, Texas. On my flight were the fellas from Magnolia Pictures, and none other than former CBS News Anchor Dan Rather. Today was the first day of the SXSW Film Festival. I picked up my badge in the morning, and was supposed to see a press screening at 2pm of Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay at the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar, but apparently the release print hadn’t quite made it to the theater, so it was re-scheduled for 5pm, but I wouldn’t have had enough time to get to the Austin Convention Center to see Goliath, which I have posted my notes from below. (FYI, I have just returned from a couple of parties. It is 1:44am Central. I plan to post my notes from the Second Skin World Premiere sometime tomorrow, and I will try my best to post as many panel notes as I can within the next few days. Please stay tuned.)

SXSW Film Conference & Festival
Goliath Screening
Narrative Feature Regional Premiere
Friday, March 7, 2008
Austin Convention Center – 6:30pm

Director/Screenwriter/Actor: David Zellner
Producer/Editor/Actor: Nathan Zellner

South By Southwest Film Festival Producer Matt Dentler introduced the Zellner Bros. before a screening of their latest feature comedy, Goliath. The film is about an every day Joe played by David Zellner whose wife leaves him and his best friend Goliath, a cat, mysteriously goes missing leading him to spin out of control as he learns of his pet’s whereabouts. The Zellners inject a lot of original humor to this seemingly depressing story, which actually does take a turn to the utterly bizarre, yet uplifting finale.

When asked by an audience member where David came up with the idea for the film, he said it was after seeing a dead cat on the side of a road and wondering whose it was. Being that there were dark musical undertones in certain scenes, another audience member asked about what some of their decisions were for the sound design. David said they wouldn’t normally choose something so base-y, but they wanted to portray an underlying sense of dread for those parts of the film. Nathan said they added string instruments to help balance out the darkness.

They were then asked about their process of filmmaking. Nathan answered that the film was shot last summer on nights and weekends. They often use much of the same crew form their previous short films, and they structured out the story before shooting it.

In one scene, David’s character is signing divorce papers with his soon-to-be ex-wife. There are several pages with lots of colored “sign here” stickers and the scene take a while to complete. One audience member asked why they chose to make that scene so long. David answered that it shows the pain of divorce. He actually shot several versions of it where there were longer and shorter stacks of paper. He thought the marriage and impending divorce had to come full circle. It wouldn’t have served well as a quick montage scene. It was more grueling drawn out.

After the discussion, David and Nathan pointed out some of the cast members in the audience, one of which was filmmaker Andrew Bujalksi who has a small role in the film as one of the bosses of David’s character.

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