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Talking Another Earth at Raindance opening

Raindance kicked off its 19th festival in London with Another Earth director Mike Cahill [pictured] giving an interesting Q&A with Monsters director Gareth Edwards.

Raindance kicked off its 19th annual festival in London with a screening of Sundance hit Another Earth, followed by director Mike Cahill doing a Q&A with Monsters director Gareth Edwards — an inspired idea since both films have quite a lot in common in working with big ideas on lower budgets.

Raindance founder Elliot Grove noted that the talk “was one of the best Q&As we’ve ever had in almost 20 years.”

Brooklyn musical duo Fall On Your Sword, which did music for the film, was also on hand for the Q&A and then performed at the after party at Cafe de Paris.

Edwards asked Cahill to elaborate on the film’s open-to-interpretation final scene. Cahill said he and co-writer/actress Brit Marling knew what their idea of the ending was: “For Brit and I it was vital that we knew what we wanted to say,” he said. But he wouldn’t be baited into discussing it further even though Edwards surveyed the audience for their interpretations.

Even though Edwards himself is a multi-tasker (writing, effects, directing), he said he was blown away by Cahill having directed, shot, co-written, edited and done a lot of the compositing for Another Earth. “I’m truly kind of annoyed with this guy,” Edwards said with a laugh.

Cahill said there was a real benefit to shooting this film personally, since it was an intimate drama. “You can feel the nuance of performers in those intimate scenes, there was a certain playfulness and relaxed vibe that let them go where they needed to go,” he said, of having such a small group in the room.

He also explained that the low-budget film had shot some scenes ‘on the grid,’ with its production team of about eight people, but that some footage was shot ‘off the grid’ in more guerilla fashion, just with Cahill and Marling and one other person going out with a camera.

He also told a funny story about one of those off-the-grid scenes. They didn’t have permission to shoot a key scene in a prison, so Marling went to one and pretended to be a yoga teacher booked to teach a lesson to the prisoners. Then Cahill filmed her coming out of the prison to get their shot. Trouble is, the prison authorities weren’t so keen on that ruse.

“Suddenly, we were surrounded by police cars,” Cahill remembered. They were taken into custody, but he talked his way out of that by pretending that he was location scouting the prison for a big Hollywood film to star Robert De Niro. “And then we had tea with the warden,” he said, getting a big laugh from the Raindance audience.

Cahill says up next is a movie about reincarnation, another movie with a “sci-fi premise but at the heart of it a human drama.”

Raindance continues through Oct 9.

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