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The 70th Berlinale International Film Festival will be held from February 20 to March 1, 2020.
Our team of festival ambassadors and reporters bring you the dailies from the Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market and keep an eye on past editions archives. WATCH OUR VIDEO COVERAGE TRAILERS INTERVIEWS AND AMBIANCE   PHOTOS

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Interview with Cameron Nugent for Sailboat (2018) at Berlinale

Interview with Cameron Nugent for Sailboat (2018) at Berlinale

Actor, director, producer and editor Cameron Nugent began his entertainment career as a child with lead roles in TV series Round the Twist, Ratbag Hero and award winning The Big Wish, for which he received an AFI Nomination. He later appeared in Australian feature films Snowy, Dusty II, The Merchant of Fairness and Blackrock with Heath Ledger. As a young adult, he performed in television programs Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Stingers and Halifax.

After studying at Deakin University, Cameron started the boutique production company iCandy Productions. It was then that he donned the directing hat, making clips and working with Australia bands Kisschasy and Angelas Dish, receiving a YouTube Commendation for an Australian view record. His first feature was about animal cruelty in India: 'ATAAC A Documentary'. After which, he wrote, produced and directed short films- Smoking Will Kill You (which received Cannes Film Festival selection), Magic and Spider Walk, both of which are still on the international film circuit today. 

Cameron's most recent work is 'A Boy Called Sailboat' (2018), which he wrote, produced, directed and edited. The film tells the story of a pecuniary Hispanic family living in rural America living in near disastrous conditions. When their savant musician son named Sailboat writes a song that captures the hearts of everyone in town, their spirits are lifted. 

The film held its market premiere at the 2018 EFM in Berlin, with international sales being handled by Premiere Entertainment.

 

In an interview about his film, Cameron said the following:

 

How did the story come to mind? Is it based on true events?

CAMERON: My mind is full of crazy scenarios and stories, and SAILBOAT was just one of those that ran through my head a lot. It sort of spawned from wanting something huge and beautiful to come some somewhere small and unlikely.

 

Was it difficult to direct your first feature?

CAMERON: I’ve directed quite a bit of commercial and tv content, which can be very different, but the step up to feature felt right. I think part of the challenge and importance in the role of directing is knowing your content, and because I knew and had lived the story in my mind for so long, the actual visual direction was already in my head. The direction of the actors is another component, but I was extremely fortunate to have the benefit of great established adult actors who were extremely easy to work with. The kids, all inexperienced actors, were also extremely fun and easy to work with. I think with kids it’s about communicating on their level, and I’ve never really had an issue with acting like a kid :) Directing also becomes enjoyable when your crew is as dedicated and  as our was. We had an incredibly talented crew, especially my right hand man John Garret our DP, one of the most beautiful craftsperson I’ve ever met. That guys eyes should be insured.

 

How did you go about finding you cast?

CAMERON: We had strong ideas of whom we wanted in the adult cast, and our ability to reach them was strengthened when our casting agent Amanda Lenke Doyle came on board who had a great understanding of the script and characters. Then there were a couple of hail mary emails on top of that that allowed us to secure some dream cast in cameos. The kids were all untrained from the local town which was a conscious decision. The film asks a lot of the audience to suspend disbelief that the other components based in reality needed to be so grounded to balance the film. These kids were that anchor for us, and who better to get for kids in a small town that knew their each other well than the kids from a small town that knew each other well.

 

Do you think it's easier or more difficult to make indie films today?

CAMERON: I’m not sure indie films are any easier to make today, apart from the obvious move in recent times to digital cinema that allows world class quality at an achievable price, it’s always an incredible creative and logistical challenge, but we certainly have newer and many more platform on which to expose our films now, which is a great advantage.

 

Has Netflix been good for international indie films or made things more difficult?

CAMERON: Netflix have certainly broadened the horizon of expose for all films. The only disadvantage to the landscape that I can see in the future would be an over-saturation of distribution channels that would see films sometimes lost in a web of potential platforms, but  as it stands now I  think Netflix have shown they are willing to distribute many more films that the industry has allowed in the past which I can only see as advantageous for the industry. I don’t think the romantic legacy of cinema isn’t unachievable for indie film, but certainly the landscape has moved to a different area of mass exposure whether you see that as good or bad is a personal thing.

 

Do you have any anecdotes from the filming?

CAMERON: Anecdotes? Apart from the eagle that wouldn’t eat, the sailboat that weighed more than a house and was unmovable and needed to be in a tonne of moving shots, the car that wouldn’t run and we had to push in most of its moving shots, the firetrucks needed for the rain scene that pulled out 12 hours before the biggest day of the shoot, the snow in the dessert on Day 1, the daily challenge of getting the soccer ball to bounce through the right part of frame, the electrical fire when the sailboat hit powerlines, the crazy horse that nearly rode away with our actor, the meatballs that were to spicy to eat, the lizard that… No… No, there were none really..?

 

You achieved distribution for the film. When and how can people view it?

CAMERON: The film is available on Amazon and a range of other distribution channels if searched online, and also physically in Walmart and Target I think also. It will also be on HBO VOD starting from around mid-year. We also have a few cinema screenings that we will update and give notifications for on our facebook page. They start in NM in March, but will hopefully be spreading to LA

 

What were some of the most inspiring films for you that made you want to become a filmmaker?

CAMERON: I loved the old school filmmaking narratives based on pure and wonderful story, like E.T, Stand By Me, The Goonies, Godfather(s), The Sting, The Sandlot Kids, Let The Right One In, Jaws (Scando version)… Love films that were less reliant on sensational explosions and CGI etc to hold attention, and were rooted in compelling and wonderful story.

 

You attended Berlinale. Why do you think it essential to travel to the film markets as a director and producer?

CAMERON: Exposing your film to worldwide markets is imperative. Indie film can be buried in a world of amazing films, and your have to be present, available and noticed at every opportunity. These, markets and festivals are a great medium for the world to take notice.

 

What are you working on next? 

CAMERON: We are in very early pre for the follow up to ‘A Boy Called Sailboat’, which is actually a story that happens at the same time as the 'A Boy Called Sailboat', just in a different part of the US. It has had a few different name incarnations, but only last night renamed it ‘The Forever Gang’. It’s a early teen, coming of age, adventure that is everything but what it seems… And we can’t wait to sink out teeth into it.

 

Interview by Vanessa McMahon

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Berlin 2019: The dailies from the Berlin Film Festival brought to you by our team of festival ambassadors. Vanessa McMahon, Alex Deleon, Laurie Gordon, Lindsay Bellinger and Bruno Chatelin...
Ambiance, film reviews, trailers and podcasts, EFM insider information, and much more.
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