Split Screen 2000: Episode #65 - Projections: Ted Hope and James Schamus

From Faber & Faber's Projections: Tod Lippy's interview with Ted Hope & James Schamus

Ted Hope: When I came to film school here there was a very vibrant, super-8, no-wave downtown New York film scene. Nick Zed, Beth B., Lydia Lunch - all those people. I had a romantic notion about the times of Warhol's Factory, all that stuff. So there were these little film showings, and I went and wasn't connected to the movies at all, but it seemed like these people were successful. Their movies were getting shown, and it was exciting. It seemed to me that if you made your movies and you really believed in them and pushed them, there was some way people would see them. Plus, I didn't have any clues as to the economics of the business. I was working at New Line, and they had this great library of Pasolini films, you know, mixed in with Evil Dead and so on, and I just felt that, because these existed, somehow everybody was making money.

Tod Lippy: But your definition of success at that point wasn't directly linked with financial concerns?

Ted Hope: Yeah. I didn't see a difference. If it showed on the Lower East Side, then it meant it worked somehow.

James Schamus: Just to interject one factoid. The Golden Boat was made with this mixture of grant money, tiny little overseas investments, tiny little this, tiny little that, and we made it in two long weekends. Didn't cost much at all, but the fact is, it never made any money. But I remember when the film was selected for the New York Film Festival. At that moment, everybody who invested in and worked on the film truly believed that I as a producer was hoarding the incredible amount of money that must have been made because the film was showing the New York Film Festival.

Ted Hope: I remember the New York Film Festival where Blood Simple and Stranger Than Paradise premiered. I had, like, the cheap seats up front to see Blood Simple, and all of a sudden the Coen Brothers get up on the stage, and I recognize them from my local supermarket. They were always there buying cold cereal after midnight when I was there buying cold cereal after midnight. I was like, "Oh my god, it's those stoners from the neighborhood!" And like two days later, after seeing Stranger Than Paradise, there was Jim Jarmusch on the subway. Somehow it just felt really possible.

Tod Lippy: That certainly hasn't changed here.

Ted Hope: That's true. Todd Solondz told me that a month or so ago he went to see some movie at the Angelika on Saturday afternoon, and as he was waiting to get in he noticed that he was standing next to Wes Anderson and Vincent Gallo. He was like, "God, we're all such big losers, going to see a movie by ourselves on a Saturday afternoon."

Projections 11
New York Film-Makers on Film-making
edited by Tod Lippy
faber and faber
© copyright Tod Lippy, 2000

Split Screen: Projections - Ted Hope and James Schamus Credits

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