By Pete Barell
Academy-Award nominated “Supersize Me” filmmaker Morgan Spurlock visited LIU Post on Nov. 9 for “An Evening with Morgan Spurlock” – including a screening of his latest short documentary “Crafted” and a talk moderated by film critic, Bill McCuddy. The event was part of the Gold Coast International Film festival,
which collaborated with LIU Post to screen select events and present Spurlock with the 2015 Artist of Distinction Award in Film.
“Crafted” is a film about three separate groups of artisan: knife-makers, potters and restaurateurs whose passion for their craft guides their lives. This 25 minute short film fits amongst Spurlock’s large body of work, which includes, in addition to “Supersize Me,” CNN’s “Inside Man” and Showtime’s “7 Deadly Sins.” Spurlock discussed at length is philosophies as a filmmaker, taking photos and talking with students and filmgoers before and after the event.
The film was funded by Haagen Dazs, but Spurlock attests to the fact that it does not show the ice cream brand anywhere in the film, nor is it overtly promotional in that regard. Spurlock’s film “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” lampooned the ways in which corporate sponsors rule our lives, yet he feels that big money can work hand in hand with artistry.
“I’m all for branded content if brands get out of the way, where there is an alignment of ideology, not to just hawk product,” he said. “It’s like the early days of television, let’s create content that is compelling. Then there is a place for brands.”
Given the amount of aspiring filmmakers and students in attendance, Spurlock was bound to provide advice regarding the craft, and what students could do to start their career. “Get an internship, work at a film festival,” said Spurlock.
“My first film [I worked on “Leon: The Professional”] with Natalie Portman (she was Natalie Hershlag then). Get an internship. When you get out di as many things as you can, when you’re in your twenties, try it all. Lighting, sound, boom op, grip. Find the place that makes you happiest, while you’re in schoolwork on others’ films. You want to work and love what you do. The minute it’s not fun, you shouldn’t be doing it. “
Spurlock is currently developing a new project – a documentary about, of all things, rats in New York City and urban areas. “I’m a horror fan,” he explained. “I wanted to do makeup special effects – make a guy’s head explode. I wanted to make a horror documentary, a documentary that is just as scary.”
Regarding his films that are already released, Spurlock is very lax with his viewers, as long as the films are seen. The important thing, to him, is to spread the message of the film. “As a doc movie maker, I am pro piracy,” Spurlock said, laughing and to applause. “If you are going to steal my documentary and show it to friends, God bless you. Steal them all. But see them first at a festival, then steal them.”