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Saturday, June 22, 2013

BAMcinemaFest: Q&A with Zach Clark

by Susan Yung

How is it that around the holidays you can be surrounded by cheerful humanity and yet feel utterly alone? Zach Clark's White Reindeer (screening June 23 as part of BAMcinemaFest) stars Anna Margaret Hollyman (Gayby) as a Virginia real estate agent dealing with personal tragedy at the worst time of year. She strains to put on a good front in her encounters with swinging neighbors, strip joints, and garish department stores. It's a subversive look at this emotionally fraught season and the desperate measures people take in search of fulfillment. Drawing comparisons to the films of Douglas Sirk and John Waters, White Reindeer was an official selection at SXSW and winner of Best Feature at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Zach Clark reveals his cinematic inspirations and details about his newest project.

1. When and how did you come to know you wanted to make movies?
I saw Tim Burton's Ed Wood when I was 12 and started renting from an indie video store when I was about 14. I got into cult movies, Euro-art-house, and auteur Hollywood stuff and around that time inherited my grandfather's video camera. Haven't stopped since.

Zach Clark
Photo: Robin Holland (
2. What would you be doing if you weren't a filmmaker?
For starters, I would probably have a savings account.

3. What are some of the challenges you faced while making your film, both artistic and logistical?
We shot a Christmas movie during the one winter in Virginia that it didn't snow. So, we rented snow machines. They were so loud, a cranky old man called the cops. So, we gave them clementines and everything worked out okay. I ended up cutting all those scenes out of the movie.

4. Talk about your favorite movie of the past two or three years.
My favorite movies of 2013 so far are Post Tenebras Lux and Behind the Candelabra. Instant classics about love and death! My favorite movie last year was probably the third season of Louie.

5. Are you working on a new project now?
I'm currently writing a script about a young nun who was really goth in high school. She comes home to visit her estranged family because her brother just returned home from the hospital after having his face burned off in the Iraq war. It's set in Asheville, NC in October, 2008. As usual, it's a comedy.

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