CAREFUL WITH THAT AXE
Directed By Jason Stutter
Indie Express: Tell us about your film?
Jason: My film is titled "Careful with that axe", it is about a boy who tries his hand at chopping firewood with a razor sharp axe... with bare feet.
IE: How did you come up with the idea for the film?
Jason: The film is inspired by the song "Careful with that axe, Eugene" written by Pink Floyd. My girl friend wanted to skip it during a road trip and I came up with some spiel about how it was an important piece of music, due to it's important, under current safety message - this blatant lie failed to work.
IE: How did you find the cast?
Jason: I needed a cheeky seven year old boy to play the lead and luckily the special effects artist, Keven Stevens, had the clever idea of giving life to a cheeky boy seven years earlier.
IE: How long did the film take? (From conception to final edit)
Jason: This film came together very quickly. It was shot HD on a borrowed camera over one day. I used to work as an editor and have my own final cut pro rig so I cut it myself. My brother, Matt Stutter, is a sound designer and has his own rig. He did the track lay at his home and then we did the final dolby mix at Park Road Post in Wellington. Because the film is short, it was an easy film for WETA to scan to 35mm. Actually the film takes up so little storage that I delivered the film-out frame sequence (the single frames that are scanned to film) on my iPod.
IE: Any particular moments from filming that stand out for you?
Jason: Well, one bad moment was when the farmer, who owned the remote property that we shot on, forgot to leave the gate open os our crew of three had to lift all of our equipment from the road to the location.
IE: Tell us about your film's festival experience so far?
Jason: I got to travel to San Miguel in Mexico earlier this year. That was incredible. The film has had an incredible journey around the world and it's always fun to hear how it did. A friend of mine just emailed me some photos from Valladolid where the film's title was up in lights. Festivals are a great payoff for all the hard work.
IE: What are you looking forward to at the AFI festival?
Jason: Meeting other film makers over a few beers and hearing stories about how they made their film's. I also get a kick out of hearing audiences scream during "axe" so that'll be fun.
IE: What has been your most interesting Q&A so far? What was your favorite question? How was the dialogue afterwards?
Jason: I was interviewed by MTV in Mexico - as in Music Television - I had just arrived after 13 hours on a plane and another 5 hours on a bus, I was badly in need of sleep. Moments before said interview I was given a nice tall glass of tequila. The interview actually went remarkably well until I was asked how I was enjoying San Miguel. Being unfortunately totally useless at pronouncing Spanish I stammered around the name of the city who were kindly hosting me - having the surname Stutter this is never a wise move, and definitely not on MTV!
IE: What films or filmmakers inspire you?
Jason: I love both comedy and suspense equally which may explain why I'm a big fan of the Coen Brother's work and Alfred Hitchcocks film's. I love the showmanship that these filmmaker's bring, they want to entertain their audience and be liked. I also love anything directed by Steven Spielberg.
IE: What made you decide to become a filmmaker?
Jason: I've never wanted to do anything else, and the scary thing is I don't think I can do anything else so I better keep working hard!
IE: What is next for you?
Jason: We're currently putting together the finance to shoot a comedy-crime-caper feature film, which has Jemaine Clement from HBO's Flight of the Conchords attached. The New Zealand Film Commission have also funded the writing of a couple of my feature treatments.
IE: If asked to give one piece of advice to a new filmmaker making their first short film... What would it be?
Jason: Keep it short and have fun making it.
IE: What are your favorite short films currently on the festival circuit? (Like your short film playlist)
Jason: I don't know the title but I saw a great short in Mexico where a guy is just sneaking around, his shoes squeaking as he walks. He seems odd and different from everyone else around him and then he meets this beautiful woman - who is also sneaking about in squeaky shoes and seems odd. They fall in love and sneak about kissing. So simple and so great.