Davis Banta is a production assistant.
What was your role on IWW and for those people not familiar with filmmaking, can you describe the job?
I was a general PA, doing various jobs from transferring footage onto a hard drive, to hitting play on a dvd that was supposed to play in the background of one scene, to whatever task needed an extra pair of hands that day.
How would you describe In-World War (the film itself) in no more than seven words?
Why did you get involved with it? How did you hear about it? What interested you in this film in particular?
I had taken a class taught by Brant [IWW director DJ Bad Vegan] on DIY filmmaking, and shortly after that ended he started production on IWW.
Did you enjoy working on the film? What was the best part for you?
IWW was a very interesting experience. Every one worked really hard at the jobs they had, and although there were times when getting the shot we needed was really stressful, the whole cast/crew did anything they could to make it run smoothly.
How long have you been working in film/involved with film?
At this point, I’ve been working freelance for about 3-4 years, and have gotten a pretty decent kit together.
What is your goal in filmmaking generally (director, writer, director of photography, key grip, etc.) and why?
My overall goal would be directing, because I appreciate how all the aspects of production contribute to the finished project. Also, I have a background in acting, and appreciate process of working on the set with the performers in a scene.
In your view, why is filmmaking and making art important to society as a whole?
Art, and film in particular, can create a certain distortion of the world around us that offers us a unique opportunity to access other viewpoints and perspectives.
Did helping make an indie film leave you with a positive or negative outlook on this type of ultra-low budget filmmaking (and why)?
I left with a positive view of the people involved that are driven by a passion to do a good job at this kind of work.
How do you feel about the genre of science fiction? Is sci-fi just for fun or can we tell serious stories that are culturally relevant? (Okay, that’s a loaded question....but still, what do you think?)
At its best, Sci-fi can approach subject matter and topics that are difficult for us to honestly have a dialogue about through the lens of story. For me, its important in this kind of genre to make sure the story is always being served and not get distracted or overwhelmed by too many other elements of flash or special effects that take away from the ideas.
The film takes an usual sci-fi approach to issues around the so-called “war on terror” (specifically racial profiling and Islamophobia) and the consequences of massive personal debt -- how have these issues impacted your life and your work?
The most direct affect these issues have had on me is in my own psychology, and my perception of the country as a whole. The mind-set of the war on terror has left a national imprint of fear and distrust that we’re going to be dealing with for a long time, even if specific policies were reversed.
Before you started with IWW, what did you expect it to be like working on the film?
I really had no idea. From taking Brant’s class I knew that the schedule and purses would be tight, and we’d need to be efficient.
How was it actually, compared to that? What was exactly as you expected it? What was very different?
I think what surprised me the most was the way the locations we shot at, locally around San Francisco and Oakland, lent an atmosphere of realism that I hadn’t pictured just from reading the script. I’m very interested to the see how the project is shaping up.
DIY filmmaking can be rough. What was the worst moment? If you have one, share a painful memory from making the film, to give a taste of how tough it got.
It wasn’t too bad for me, just a couple of late nights, but I remember there was a lot of stress around shooting a specific driving scene -- the actor had to concentrate on driving in Oakland and his on-screen performance, and they had to fit the camera and other gear in the car. I think the sound recordist wound up crammed in the back seat kind of curled up so she and the microphone weren’t in the shot.
What have you been doing since you worked on the film? What other film projects have you done?
I’ve been producing online web video content for various clients, including Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Last year I got a grant to write, produce, and perform a sketch comedy show that featured live performance and video sketches.
Why should people get involved with, donate money and/or help out on IWW?
Brant’s a great guy with an interesting vision, and supporting this project will also go along way to help him keep getting more people involved in the DIY film-making process. Also I want to see the finished film.
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