“St. Vincent” Director TED MELFI Talks Personal Filmmaking

St. Vincent, one of last year’s most beloved films, was buoyed by inspired performances by a stellar ensemble ( Bill Murray, Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Melissa McCarthy) and top notch storytelling from writer/director Ted Melfi.

The narrative, which centers on the unlikely bond between a 12-year-old named Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) and his crankier than thou neighbor Vincent (Bill Murray), could have been framed as a simple and charming coming-of-age story, but instead Melfi aimed for something more real and, for lack of a better word, human.

During today’s interview with Melfi, he explains why, thanks to  the easy accessibility of such elements as digital cameras and Final Cut Pro, you’re either a filmmaker or you’re not. Whether it’s picking up a camera, penning your script, or gathering up financing for your short or feature, just go out there and do it:

“We have to leave our stories behind – and if you don’t leave your stories behind, you’ve left nothing behind.  All we have . . .are the (stories) of (our families) and that’s a story that’s worth telling. Either you’re telling it or you’re not telling it. And so you take the value out of your life (and) you tell those stories. If you’re not doing it , then you’re not a filmmaker. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you are professing to be a filmmaker and you want to be a filmmaker or a writer or producer or anything, then you have to do the work.” 

Melfi, who cut his teeth in filmmaking as a producer and commercial director, partly based St. Vincent on the intricate and close-knit relationships with his own family.

I loved the movie, which came out this week on Blu-ray and DVD, and I’ll review the DVD in a future post.


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