We recently had the pleasure of talking with filmmaker Jonathan Rasmussen, whose film, Everyone Is, is showing at this year’s Indie Grits Festival.
1. What is your connection to the South?
I moved to North Carolina from Oregon in 2001 – I consider the Carolinas my home. I currently attended UNC Charlotte.
First thing I ate when I moved here was grits at a diner. I wasn’t a fan initially, but I have since converted to a stone-ground snob.
(Ask about my cheddar-jalapeno-sriracha grits.)
2. What was your muse for this film?
ADHD. In 2015, I decided to use my struggles with the disorder to fuel my creative work. So I looked inside and back. In high school, collage was my form of art therapy – as the process is similar to the inner workings of my mind. The deconstruction and seemingly randomized associations of images mirrors how I break down stimulus into understanding and new ideas. So I took my history with collage and decided incorporate it with my work in film by adding sound and movement.
3. What was your first film?
A self-portrait titled, Failure, for my introductory film production course in 2013. The assignment was to interview someone “interesting” for a short documentary. My subject was a busy local musician who was difficult to schedule. When I finally sat down with him, it was only a few days before the project was due.
Anxious and rushed, I forgot to turn the microphone on. With no audio and no time to reshoot, I was screwed. I fell into a bad depression – feeling as though my life was a constant stream of messing up, despite my best efforts. So I decided to channel this feeling into a theme for a film about myself in a self-depreciating comedic way.
It was shot and edited within 24 hours. It was well received, and I decided to pursue the cinematic arts going forward. is still my favorite personal piece.
(Fun Fact: I ultimately failed the class.)
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
No set or shots. Just a lonely guy cutting up old issues of National Geographic in a dimly lit basement someplace.
5. If you’ve been to Indie Grits before, what’s your favorite memory?
I was involved with the UNC Charlotte Gold Reel Film Fest last year and was actively studying regional festivals – with a keen eye on Columbia.
I was only able to attend the closing party – and was impressed by what I saw. Indie Grits in every detail was so well put together and thoroughly “thought-out,” from design to promotion and the actually event.
I promised myself to not miss 2016. Having a film accepted has been a great source of pride and I am very excited to attend.