MIFS: Where did the idea for the film come from? ,br /> For years, I drove by the Searcy County Livestock Auction and always wanted to see it. It just seemed interesting, and, given the fact it's a very rural area, one quickly exhausts the possibilites of traditional tourist activities. As soon as I finally saw it - I never seemed to be able to tell when it was taking place - I knew I wanted to film it. It was so interesting, a little world unto itself.
MIFS: How much did the project change from concept to final edit?
I didnt have a real clear idea of what the project would look like until i started editing it. I knew I liked the footage, but only when editing it did I realize that I had such mesmerizing audio of different kinds. It was a gradual process, and only over the course of editing did it really take form.
MIFS:Where there any challenges during production?
The only real challenge was getting people to not be uncomfortable with my camera. The auctioneer kept pointing me out to people, saying things like, "Hey boys - we got a visitor here today from National Geographic" (i was not from NatGeo). That did not make my job any easier.
MIFS: With the film completed, what has been the most rewarding thing about the whole experience?
The most rewarding part has been seeing people's different reactions. Searcy County for me is familiar but for most it is not. I thought the film was a comic piece. Not a single person I have shown it to has that reaction. Everyone finds it troubling at best, downright upsetting at worst. I did not mean to make something dystopian, and it's fascinating to see just how differently an audience can read a film.
Searcy County screens on Nov 10th as part of the 14th Annual Milwaukee Short Film Festival at 5pm in the Lubar Auditorium, MAM.