Review Fix chats with Don Cato, Artistic Director of the Queens World Film Festival, who discusses his film, â€Dead Man Rides Subway,â€ currently appearing at the Roxy Underground Short Film Festival.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in film?
Don Cato: While IÂ was a Landscape Architect working in Cambridge, Massachusetts I attended the Orson Welles Film School. I had been interested in film since I was a kid in Fredonia, but had pursued a more mainstream occupation. When I was able to start doing both I moved to Oregon to earn Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture and study Film & Motion Graphics in Fine Art at the University of Oregon
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this project?
Cato: I was one of a few filmmakers approached to make a short film of a poem from the book Token Entry: New York City Subway Poems, Edited by Gerry LaFemina. I chose the poem Dead Man Rides Subway by the Pulitzer nominated poet Cornelius Eady. Of course…there was no budget. So what.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Cato: I studied the poem. How they were phrased and ultimately, what they sounded like in the air. Once I felt the rhythm of the poem and had cast my lead we began shooting. My focus was capturing little moments. I shot in the subways about 10 hours over several weeks all the while ruminating on the idea. From those raw images and the voices, I worked to discover rhythms and crafted images to compliment, support and counterpoint those visual sounds.
I remained focus on one thing: words = poetic essence.
I craved the right score, I was thinking a Harry Parch/Glenn Gould mash up and finally found the perfect piece through Marco Oppedisano, a Queens composer and performer whose music I have long admired.
I felt I had the tonal soul of the piece in Marcoâ€™s music and once I laid down the track I went about the job of work to compose the piece. The process was about six or seven months.
Review Fix: What makes this different or special?
Cato: Hmmmmâ€¦..it is anÂ audio-visual poem which is open to interpretation.
Review Fix: What did you learn about yourself through this process?
Cato: Not a goddamn thingâ€¦.every film is focused hard work.
Review Fix:Â What was the feeling like on set?
Cato: Inspired playfulness.
Review Fix: What are your ultimate goals for this production and for the future?
Cato: I just want people to experience the work.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Cato: I am remastering some of my old work with DuArt and teaching at the Digital Film Academy. Right now I am screening submissions for my festival, the Queens World Film Festival so I am very focused on the incredible work that we are getting.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Cato: I am thrilled to be part of the Roxy Underground Short Film Festival with right other terrific films. Roxy is fine venue and screenings are always crisp and clear.
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