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Director Daniel Campbell Talks 'Antiquities'

17 Feb, 2019    added by : Paul Hansen
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Antiquities is a distinctive new film which is alternately sensitive, touching, inventive and funny. The plot centers on Walt (Andrew J. West), a young man who returns to the small Arkansas home town of his deceased father in an attempt to gain a greater understanding of his departed parent. As part of that process of discovery, Walt takes a job at the same antiques mall at which his father worked. Along the way he meets a number of quirky and colorful personalities. The film also features Mary Steenburgen who plays the role of Walt’s therapist.

ScreenPicks recently posed some questions to director Daniel Campbell about the movie.

What inspired the story for Antiquities and what themes is the film exploring? 

Campbell: Antiquities is very loosely based on my first short film that I wrote and directed in 2009. My writing partner, Graham Gordy, and I both lost our dads early in our adult life. A lot of the inspiration came from the denial, pain, healing and all that comes with the emotional rollercoaster one goes on when you lose someone close to you. Every character in the film is dealing with some sort of loss in their life that is holding them back in some way.

Is this the first feature which you directed? Were there any surprises in the process or lessons that you plan to apply to your future projects?

Campbell: Yes, Antiquities is my feature directorial debut. I think it will be tough to learn more on a film than I did on this one. But the main lesson I learned and will apply to future projects is to trust my instincts. There were a few times on set that I talked myself out of an idea that I wish I ‘d pushed for in hindsight. I’m really glad for those moments now, because I can see that if I would have trusted my gut, it could have elevated the film. This gives me confidence going forward.

Are there any other filmmakers that you particularly admire and have they influenced your work?

Campbell: I love movies that are character-driven and there is no one better, in my opinion, than the Coen Brothers. Their dialogue is so incredibly sharp and funny without ever telling a single joke. John Hughes, Alexander Payne, and Spike Jonze are also very much at the top of my list.

What advice would you have to give to those wishing to pursue careers as writers and directors in the film industry?

Campbell: I would first tell them to find projects they are really passionate about. As a director, you are with a film so long even after production, that you’re going to want the fuel to motivate you through the marathon that is indie filmmaking. I would also tell them to find and surround themselves with intelligent people that they can trust creatively and that will give brutally honest notes. Finding people that give honest notes throughout the process is really difficult. Lastly, tell them to not take those brutally honest notes personally. If they are good notes, the pain will go away once you see the results on screen.

Is there anything in general you would like to tell audiences about Antiquities?

Campbell: I would tell them if they liked Monster’s Ball, then they will LOVE Antiquities. No, I would say if they don’t like it, then blame me because our cast and crew poured everything they had into this small indie film and treated it like it was a multi-million dollar budget.

Would you like to share with us what your future projects are?

Campbell: I’m working on a dark comedy now that I’m really excited about. I can’t say too much about it, but there is a bit of a magical realism element to it that I’m really looking forward to diving in to. I thought I was going to get a call for Avatar 2, 3, 4 and possibly 5 but that didn’t happen. It’s not over until it’s over, though.

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