|INTERVIEWS - Andrew Gurland|
Andrew Gurland, director of the soon to be released Cheaters, was nice enough to answer a few questions I had about his films and his career. You may have heard of Gurland from his work in the short films, "Black People Hate Me and They Hate My Glasses" and "Fuck Gramaglia Up." He and Todd Phillips (Road Trip), in addition to starting the New York Underground Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival for thier movie Frat House, which was never released when HBO recieved allegations that some of the scenes were staged.
I first heard of you and your films from the web. How important has the internet been for getting your films exposure?
internet, working in the short form was far less rewarding because there
were such limitations on how many people could see your work. Now, I am
inspired to make shorts until I die, or at the very least, am bed ridden.
There was quite a bit of controversy over your film Frat House when people accused you and Todd of faking some of the scenes. Why do you think people care if it was fake or not?
of the controversy is that HBO refuses to show the film, so they seem
to be the ones who care the most. Why? They can not afford to have the
documentary ethics of all their productions (especially this one) put
under the microscope. The frats involved also care, for they fear that
if their hazing rituals are exposed, they will be shut down permanently.
That is the reason we were met with all the charges in the first place.
I don't think anyone else really cares. but rather, like yourself, just
enjoy a good controversy. The saddest part is that Todd and I really love
the movie, and it breaks our hearts that it just sits on a shelf somewhere.
When you completed the screenplay for Cheaters, were the studios all over you, or did a take a while to get the film made?
As soon as
I finished writing the screenplay for Cheaters, there was interest from
the studios. My managers, Chris Bender and JC Spink, did an excellent
job of getting the right people to read it.
How hard was it to make a PG-13 film?
PG-13 was pretty complicated. Although there was no cursing, no violence
and no nudity, the MPAA kept giving me an R. They were asking me to remove
one of the funniest jokes from the movie, for "sexual suggestion".
Eventually, I was forced to appeal the rating, and I won the right to
use the word "hand job" in the movie. That's something I am
very proud of.
How does making a studio film compare with making a student film?
It seems like Cheaters was supposed to come out 5 years ago. Why the delays?
Line agreed to make the film, they were unaware of my Jewishness. I hate
to be the one who cries anti-semitisem, but you do the math.
Are studios the big bullies that everyone makes them out to be?
the ones spending the money on the movies. To think that they will not
have strong opinions is unrealistic. That said, I equate their behavior
Which is harder? Making a narrative feature, or a documentary feature?
thing about documentary is convincing your subjects to participate. In
a narrative film you never have to worry about that. Actors are always
more than willing to engage in any act of humiliation a film maker can
Have you gotten many offers to work in television?
How often do you consider dropping the writer/director thing and making "girls gone wild" videos?
When I asked Gurland what he planned to do next he replied, "my goal is to make another HBO documentary. The frat house scandal has been very humiliating to me and my family, especially my uncle. I desperately want the opportunity to redeem myself in the world of documentary. If for no other reason than to lift the cloud of shame that surrounds my poor uncle.You can see Fuck Gramaglia Up at www.iFILM.com
writer/director of Cheaters
writer/director of Maryam
writer/director of Wet Hot American Summer
director of Gigantic: A Tale Of Two Johns
co-director/writer/co-star of Dirt