We were excited to have a chance to speak with HIFF 2010 Industry Toastee Ben Barenholtz about his new documentary WAKALIWOOD: THE DOCUMENTARY, which is having its World Premiere at the 20th Anniversary Festival on Fri, Oct 05, 4:30PM at Sag Harbor Cinema. The film will also screen Sun, Oct 07, 8:45PM UA East Hampton Theater 3.Click Here to purchase tickets.
As a key figure in the Independent Cinema landscape, from producing the Coen brothers films, distributing progressive and edgy films through Libra Films and Circle Releasing, and exhibiting classic and underground films by Stan Brakhage, Andy Warhol, Maya Deren, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Buster Keaton and D.W. Griffith at the Elgin Cinema in the late 60’s, how did you find yourself making a film in Uganda?
Given my record, don’t you think it was natural for me to go to Uganda or any other place that can provoke my interest. The choices I have made have always been unpredictable. I was sitting in the the car going to the airport asking myself, “What the hell are you doing at your age? Go home idiot.” But on this trip I managed to reacquaint myself with the reasons I got involved in film to begin with and to realize that I will never retire or be satisfied with past accomplishments or even write a book.
You co-directed Wakaliwood: The Documentary with Alan Hofmanis, is this both of yours directorial debut? What made you want to sit behind the director’s chair at this point in your career?
I directed my first documentary a few years ago called “Music Inn” for which we are still trying to raise the money to clear the music rights.
I never sat in a directors chair.
You’ve been in the industry for almost 50 years, yet you’re still experimenting, creating and utilizing new media to great effect. In fact, you’ve created a Kickstarter campaign for the documentary to help raise finishing funds for the film. What are your thoughts on the changing landscape of producing and distributing films? Are these new platforms exciting to you or do you yearn for the old days?
We started our Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to promote and market the film and to pay off the post production costs. I only yearn for the future, unpredictable, changing landscapes, and distribution methods yet to be developed. I don’t think anyone really knows what will happen next and I can tell you with certainty that I don’t know what I am going to do next.
DON’T MISS HIFF’s upcoming ROWDY TALK on Saturday, October 6th at 10:00am at Rowdy Hall. Filmmakers who have used the crowd-sourcing platform to fund their films share how best to utilize this new concept. Guests will also discuss the impact the company has had in the film industry in the past two years and what we should expect for the future. Admission is first come, first served.