Posted by: Manasa Vedula | February 27, 2010

Director panel discussion: ‘The Same But Different’

Circuses are all the rage this season. That may be an exaggeration, but it was the topic of the films of the directors at the panel discussion at the Columbia Art League on Saturday.

The ringmaster of the discussion was Ingrid Kopp, who runs Shooting People in New York, an organization that aims to connect independent filmmakers from all over. The people  of discussion were Nuria Ibanez, director of “The Tightrope,” and Aaron Schock, director of “Circo.”

Both directors fell in love with the subject of Mexican circuses, though neither knew the other was making a film about the subject. They may have had the same subject, but their interpretation differed.

The world is nicely big enough for the both of us,” Schock said.

Schock looked at the circus as a business. The circus he chose to follow was a family business, and the heart of his film is about family problems — namely the conflict that takes place between the ringmaster and his wife.

In “Circo,” a key issue is whether the family would keep passing the circus down to the younger generations. Schock shot the movie entirely on his own over a span of 21 months. This seemed especially astonishing when he revealed that he was a self-taught filmmaker andCirco is his first full-length film.

Ibanez’s film, “The Tightrope,” centers on the question, “What does it mean to be an artist?” She spent a year “discovering the story,” as she put it, but only three weeks on the actual filming.

Ibanez asserted that she too liked working with a small crew. She had two people with her during the process. She said this kind of semi-isolation allows for more freedom.

What do they want to do next? Ibanez has some aspirations to work on a fictional film and also is very intrigued with the idea of capturing what it means to be a child on film. Schock half jokingly said he wants to learn how to use a tripod since his first movie didn’t have one.


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