John Kestner | Interview

RSTMPA -What initially drew you to filmmaking?
John – I’ve been a film fan for my entire life and grew up in front of a television or in a movie theater—and even a drive-in movie theater!
RSTMPA -Who are your filmmaking influences, and how do they inspire your work?
John – I’m a huge fan of Stanley Kubrick, but there are so many other directors I admire like Billy Wilder, Blake Edwards, Mel Brooks, John Landis, Sidney Lumet, Sam Peckinpah, and William Friedkin.  I’m inspired by their films, some of which are timeless.
RSTMPA -What are some of the biggest challenges you face as an independent filmmaker?
John – As an independent filmmaker: all of them!  Money, mostly.  Locations.  Casting.  I live and work in Arizona so the brutally hot summers are challenging, but otherwise it’s a great place to shoot!  I’ve found some genuinely talented people who have been winning awards for their acting roles!
RSTMPA – What advice do you have for aspiring independent filmmakers on building a strong crew?
John – As Alfred Hitchcock used to emphasize: The script, the script, the script!  If you put the work into a great original story with wonderful parts for actors, you will build a dynamic team and see your films come to life.  Have a  solid script and everyone is dying to show up.
RSTMPA – What strategies do you use to get your films seen by a wider audience?
John – I enter a lot of festivals all over the world and love the idea of reaching audiences everywhere.  If you look on FilmFreeway, you’ll find thousands of them and they’re hungry for films!
RSTMPA – What are your thoughts on the future of independent cinema in the digital age?
John – I’m amazed by what my crew can do with digital technology.  It is in the indepedent filmmaker’s hands to make a truly professional film that rivals the studios in Hollywood if you find artists with their own equipment and resources for editing.
RSTMPA – Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your winning film?
John – Keeping an energetic curiosity for everything you see and read and experience.  Just constantly ask yourself about anything, “What if…?”  And don’t be afraid of where you takes you.  For our short, Hanging Buddy, I told everyone that we could either do very well on the festival circuit or we could get cancelledand we won over 50 awards!  So don’t be afraid of offending anyone.  Just do it.
RSTMPA – Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited to work on?

John – We’ve just finished our seventh short film and have a dozen more short scripts, along with numerous features screenplays if we ever find the funding to make that leap.  We’ve won over 230 awards so far and we’ve screened in just about every area of the world, so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and see where it takes us.

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