Talents from other disciplines try hand at helming
— Andrew BarkerMICHAEL KEATON
“The Merry Gentleman” Keaton’s involvement with “Gentleman” started out as an acting gig, but something clicked when the thesp read through Ron Lazzeretti’s script about a depressed hitman. “I knew how to tell my version of the story,” Keaton says. “The first word that came into my head as I read the script was ‘quiet.’ I saw the rhythm in it. I trusted that the rhythm of this script was similar to European and Asian films. There was no need to rush anything. I put the faith in the audience to feel about it how they’re going to feel about it.”
— Andrew BarkerELLEN KURAS
“Nerakhoon (The Betrayal)” Begun 23 years ago, Kuras’ helming debut –a docu about a Laotian family grappling with the lingering effects of the Vietnam War — inadvertently launched her cinematography career. “When I hired a cinematographer many years ago, he wasn’t able to grasp the idea of images speaking for themselves in terms of visual metaphor,” she says. “That’s when I decided to do it myself.” Some 38 projects later, Kuras says she never planned to take so long to reveal her directorial ambitions. “I’ve been a little busy,” she says.
— Anthony KaufmanAMY REDFORD
“The Guitar” Although she has acted in three films over the past year — including “a 15-second” role in Sundance Dramatic Competition entry “Sunshine Cleaning” — Redford says that directing is her main focus. “I started out when I was in high school directing theater, and then I kind of got hijacked into acting,” she explains. Redford says her inclination is to see things more from a director’s p.o.v. “I’m always taking into account the whole universe of a project instead of just my part.” Her debut, “The Guitar,” unspools in Spectrum.
— Addie MorfootPAUL SCHNEIDER
“Pretty Bird” “I’m not sure if I know how to direct at all, but I do know I love this story,” says the thesp-turned-helmer of “Pretty Bird,” the true tale of three men who aspire to build a human rocket belt. Schneider, who got his start starring in the early work of David Gordon Green and recently had a role in “Lars and the Real Girl,” says his biggest concern was “making it an energetic, pleasurable experience for the actors. I didn’t want to repeat the mistakes that have been made by some of the directors I’ve worked with.”
— Matthew Ross