SxSW 2022 Interview – GOOD NIGHT director Adam Van Wagoner

“The short depicts two stories told in parallel, both about accepting the unknown. It follows Sara, an astronaut, as she finds herself in a situation of certain death and struggling to accept death and what happens after, and Sara, as a child, being scared of sleeping in the dark and the uncertainty of what may happen, if and when she wakes up.” Filmmaker Adam Van Wagoner on GOOD NIGHT which screens at SxSW 2022.

Welcome to SxSW and congratulations! Is this your first SxSW experience?

Yes, it is my second time submitting a film and first time attending and being accepted! It is really exciting to be able to be a part of the festival.

How did you first hear about SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

I found out about SXSW through a high school short about making a film for SXSW, so it made me think the festival was this amazing event that I would want to submit to in the future.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

The idea came from wanting to deviate from all of my previous films, so I thought of making a film centered around space. I eventually came up with the astronaut portion of the film first, but I came to the conclusion that it would just be depressing if the astronaut just died and roll credits. After a few months, I came up with the parallel story idea with the astronaut being younger to make it more bittersweet.

Who are some of your creative inspirations? Any particular filmmaking talent or movie that inspired you for this project?

One of my more recent but direct inspirations has been Don Hertzfeldt. His films are just bursting with an indescribable creativity. The most direct inspirations to this film were probably THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL and IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

I used TVPaint to animate frame-by-frame. For editing, audio, and effects, I stuck to the Adobe Creative Cloud, such as Premiere, Audition, and After Effects respectively.

Since this film was created for school, I had to fit it into three minutes for a school competition which proved to be a challenge early on. The storyboard would hit around four to five minutes, so I was not able to get all of the pacing, dialogue, and the shots I wanted to in three minutes, but I still think it’s my best work so far.

What would you suggest to film festivals as a way to show more short films or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

I think film festivals do a great job of making shorts accessible within their event, however the general public is more likely to go to a movie theatre than attend a film festival. Like how Disney/Pixar plays a short before the movie starts, maybe film festivals can partner with movie theaters to show select shorts that opt-in before movies.

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone to get their start as a creator or filmmaker in the industry, what would you suggest?

Start creating right now with whatever you have at your disposal. Your first few works will not be perfect. You being able to embrace that and address it for your next work will show your potential in the industry.

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

It would have to be IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY.

This film and many others like it will be showing at South By Southwest taking place March 11-20. For more information point your browser to!

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