Austin Film Festival 2016: Interview with Blaise Miller and David Hickey

“Homestate” is one of many films part of the Texas Independent series of the festival. These films are all filmed in Texas. If you haven’t seen “Homestate” you can read my review here. We had the opportunity to chat with the director and writer David Hickey (“Baghdad Texas”), writer and actor, Blaise Miller and producer Kelly Lipscomb.

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Kelly Lipscomb, David Hickey and Blaise Miller

Interview questions by Catherine Gutierrez

I wanted to ask how Texas plays a role in this film and how the idea for “Homestate” came about.

Blaise: In general, not being a Texan but with it being more of a second home, we just loved Texas being a character in the film, you know the sounds, the foliage, everything like that. Hopefully that comes from that way people can feel that it is Texas. The heat, we had makeup but we definitely wanted that sweat that hangs on you. The glaze. We shot the film in September and it was definitely a little bit hotter than now.

Was the story pretty much set in stone? When you were filming did any of it change at all? Did any of the characters change?

Blaise: I don’t know how much back story you know but the wife and daughter in the movie are actually David’s wife and daughter. They’re a real family and that’s their property and house in the film and the camper too. When I came out for pre-production, I moved into the camper and we lived kind of like the script.. We were living together and we were able to add some very real, natural things to the script while we were going through pre-production. The script stayed the same structure wise, but we were able to add little moments there that added to the depth of the characters.

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Did you have a plan on the way that you wanted to direct it? Did anything change along the way?

David: We just got lucky, everything just fell into place. The only thing we had on our side was good luck. We did not have an abundance of money. We had money that all three of us put together.

Blaise: We had people that were brought on board that were very good at what they did so we didn’t have to micromanage. Everyone played the role, everyone was there for the right reasons, we just sort of didn’t have to worry about somebody else’s job because everyone was doing their job.

David: If you were the head of the department, it was really your deal, I mean everybody had their  thing that they did. I think it all went really fluidly.

What I really liked about the story was the men’s meetings because we never see men talk about their feelings.

David: When Blaise and I were writing it, we had always talked about these sorts of ideas and these men’s group things.

Blaise: Well we share our feelings together. So we’re like, let’s share our feelings in script.

David: I grew up in a Baptist church in Fort Worth and my granddad was a Baptist preacher. When i was born I went from a hospital nursery to the church nursery. It was kind of my mom’s way of sort of ditching me in her daddy’s church and my grandparents raised me. My grandfather would have all these prayer meetings and I was always amazed at these truths that would come out in a meeting like this and in people’s prayers, when they’re asked to pray and what they would pray for, it’s just so vulnerable with all these people around them.

Why do you think Josh just gets up and leaves his own family and runs to his sister?

Blaise: I think what he hopefully conveyed in the film is that humans are flawed in many ways and sometimes those flaws come from the families we come from. I think the idea was sort of that Crystal and Josh sort of grew up the same, same kind of parental units, the father was abandoning them you know a bit of a scoundrel and Crystal ended up marrying a guy like her father and Josh ended up following in the footsteps of his father.

Cast and crew of "Homestate"

Cast and crew of “Homestate”

What were some of the favorite parts of making the film?

David: Honestly, waking up and doing this together every day. Having a big experience and getting to all be creative on a level that we had a space to work in and everybody on the set had space.

Blaise: It was a family affair, not only David’s family but the crew they were all bringing their kids to set. People really wanted to be a part  of this thing because they liked the story. Having people come to set, want to be there, have a ideas, bring something new to the table. That was really fun to see how that organically took place. At the end of every shoot place some sets people would stay for two hours drinking some Lonestars and talking about what we did that day and talking about what we were doing the next day. I think that was kind of the nice thing, it was a nice feeling to have, that family feeling and now playing in Austin, everyone gets to see it.

Kelly: It was a great experience working with these guys. I think they’re right when they said that you wake up in the morning and look forward to making that story, that’s what it’s all about. We had a wonderful crew. What I love about this film is that it’s honest and it’s not forced. It’s real in a way and get a glimpse into that life that people sometimes don’t talk about that they’re living.

You can catch “Homestate” on Wednesday, October 19 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. at  Galaxy Highland 9 presented by Dove Chocolate.

You can follow Austin Film Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check their website here for the full live schedule and ticket info.

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