Hi8 is a new series of short interviews that serve as a quick hello to film figures we’re following. Inspired by the Walker’s 8-Ball Q&As, the series launches with a look at writers, producers, directors, and actors nominated for an Film Independent Spirit Award. In a self-navigated format, each artist picks questions from a list, answering those eight that best expose their current musings and fascinations. No two interviews are the same.
Love is Strange, the second installment in an unofficial New York Trilogy, is nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards (Best Feature, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor). Director Ira Sachs and writer Mauricio Zacharias team up again to tell the story of two men—Ben and George—who finally get married in New York City after 39 years of partnership. Because of their recent marriage, George is fired from his teaching position at a Catholic school and the couple is forced to live separately while they figure out their finances. Sachs traveled to Minneapolis in January to introduce his film at Walker Art Center and participate in a post-screening discussion. His previous films have screened at Sundance, including Forty Shades of Blue that won the Grand Jury Prize. He is currently working on a new film with Zacharias called Thank You For Being Honest.
1. If you could throw a dinner party for anyone in the world, who would you invite?
My kids, Viva and Felix, and my husband Boris. In fact, I’m going to invite them for that dinner tonight.
2. What is your hometown like?
Memphis is a city that if you happen to be born there poor you have as little opportunity for good education or good housing as if you were born poor in Calcutta. The American dream is not alive and well in Memphis, TN.
3. What’s your favorite place to people-watch?
The Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They have nice benches and in the winter, when it’s cold outside, there are few places better to while away the hours watching the world go by.
4. What is your greatest extravagance?
I would say going out to dinner more often than I might. I don’t like fast cars, or fancy watches, but I do like sitting in a round, leather-seated booth at the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill on 9th St in NYC, and having a good meal and conversation.
5. What was your favorite birthday like?
I turned 40 on the tail of the hardest few years of my life so far, and I feel that I came alive again at a party hosted by friends for me on the top floor of the Pompidou Museum in Paris. That night, the past and the future didn’t look so bad.
6. What’s your favorite comfort food?
I eat gazpacho for lunch 4 or 5 days a week, six months a year (the warm months), so I guess that’s comfort.
7. What has been your favorite age so far? Why?
This moment now, without question. As I get older I find that I appreciate what I have more than what I want to have.
8. What recent album, film, or book did you consume recently that you wish you had created?
I have a bit of filmmakers envy for the work of the Chilean director Sebastián Silva (Crystal Fairy, Nasty Baby). There’s an ease to his directing that I covet.
The Film Independent Spirit Award nominees screen annually at the Walker Art Center as part of a collaboration with IFP. Screenings are free for all IFP and Walker members. Click here for the complete list of screenings.