I sat down with Indrieri to learn a little more about the film and the process of making it come to life...
How did you start working with Garrett Leight?
Joey Indrieri (JI)- I met Garrett years back, and, at the time, I had this short film, which I shot completely independently with zero money called Heading Weast. As it was developing, I realized that it really fit his brand. And we’re in the day and age where if you make a short film it has to be attached to something for people to see it. It has to have a vehicle – it’s like a trailer – it has to hitch onto something in order for it to move. And I thought, “OK, I’ll make this independently and then I’ll see what Garrett thinks of it and if he wants to get behind it as a sponsor, then so be it.” When he saw it, he had some notes, and they were great. So I accepted them and made some changes. I made something independently, connected it to his brand and then we collectively came up with the idea to do something that wasn’t just about brand – that wasn’t a commercial. It was an idea to do a film or two films a year – the idea of glasses making visions visible. Lenses, visions – lend themselves to a creative filmmaking aspect. So that’s how it all came about.
Do you see working with someone like Garrett in this way as a new avenue of patronage for emerging filmmakers?
JI - Yes. I definitely do. It used to be that young filmmakers could get their exposure through music video. Now with music video, the budgets aren’t there. The exposure isn’t there. MTV isn’t MTV anymore. Now with online content and brands, it’s like brands are the new bands, in the sense that they have the ability and the notoriety, and, if they are making a decent amount of income, they can use some of that for creative content. That’s where I’ve been targeting my filmmaking. The product isn’t necessarily the hero, it’s in there, but you’re really much more involved in the story. I wish I could replicate Garrett and have six different brands running at the same time. He’s awesome to work with, his openness, his care for creativity, and just making sure that the people he cares about can tell a story that they care about.
What drove the inspiration for most of the film to take place in a dark environment?
JI - My favorite part of Venice isn’t the boardwalk; it isn’t the typical things. I love the alleys of Venice. They are really kind of poetic and cinematic, especially at night. Aesthetically it’s just pleasing, and it lends itself to a darker environment, a darker mentality. This piece definitely does have very dark undertones in terms of the feeling and the mood. I’ve always been attracted to the dark alleys and the little nooks, crannies and cracks that you don’t really expose yourself to. I think they really come to life at night.
One thing I really appreciate about this film is that it does not recall other films. The only thing I can relate it to is the Jim Jarmusch film Ghost Dog, in part because of the atmosphere he creates in that work. Is Jarmusch someone that has been an inspiration?
JI - Yes, I definitely love Jarmusch, and I love Ghost Dog. I almost feel like it is his most under celebrated film. Dead Man is poetic and deserves all it’s credit. But Ghost Dog is tremendous in terms of its solidarity. Here is this character who is very alone, but comfortable in being alone. And he is so alone that he is not by himself. And I love that dynamic, and there is a little bit of a voice over in there and his focus. So that, pffft, that is a huge compliment.
As far as influence, two huge extremes of influence: on one end is John Cassavetes in terms of his writing style and his DIY pioneering, what he did for independent cinema, and then on the other end, in terms of a creative outlook and a unique perspective, I love what Spike Jonze does. I like that he has this really beautiful way of looking at the world just a bit differently.
Why did you decide to call the film, The Cycle?
JI- The film defines its title when you watch it, but in short it possesses a double meaning. One is extremely literal in terms of the tangible bicycle that our hero is searching for, and the broader meaning is defined by metaphor. The human experience is a very cyclical thing, especially when dealing with emotional pain, but at the end of the day it’s our own doing. The mind likes to torture the heart with painful memories. We continue this process upon ourselves until we finally choose to get off the emotional merry go round and just move on.
Any more highlights you can share about the making of this film?
JI- When I told Justin we need a girl for the part, he said, “why don’t we just cast my real ex-girlfriend, Addison Timlin?” Which could have gone one of two ways: it could either blow up in our face being disastrous and destructive on set, or it could be something really beautiful. When she came in that day, we had never met before. She came in, looked at her lines, and just nailed it. It was beautiful to watch. It made my job that much easier; they were just there. And with each take they got a little deeper and a little deeper.
The Cycle will premiere in October at the launch party for the Garrett Leight Fall 2014 Collection in Los Angeles and will air on the brand’s website and video sharing channels.