The young, American directing duo Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside has gone from making political activist short films to hitting the documentary festival scenes around the world, with their first feature ‘América’. The film, that will evoke both laughter and tears, is capturing a charming Mexican adventure about three mismatched brothers and their 93-year-old grandmother. América is both a warm and poignant film, created with the most sensitive and natural ease about brotherhood and about those damn family ties.
What triggered your inspiration to make the documentary?
Chase: We cut our teeth making short, issue-oriented documentaries for the internet. When we first went to Mexico to film, it was for a very different documentary, about tourism and the relationship between Mexico and the US. The inspiration to make the film we did was really quite unexpected and came after seeing Diego and his grandmother América together for the first time.
Erick: They are each magnificent on-screen presences in their own right, but when they are together, something magical happens. He is so patient with her and willing to speak her language, which given her dementia is frequently not an easy thing to do. I’d simply never seen, in life or in film, such an intimate and tender relationship between two people with nearly 70 years of age separating them.
How would you describe the work process when shooting the film?
Chase: Erick actually stayed with Diego and his family for a time, and kind of moved between being just a member of the household and filming.
Erick: Living together, the filming process was fluid and organic. There was never any downtime, for myself or for our subjects, with every moment holding the promise of a potential scene. I would have missed many of my favorite scenes if I had been staying somewhere else and scheduling hours to come over to the house and film.
Your film is one of 12 films nominated in CPH:DOXs main competition Dox:Award 2018, what are your thoughts and expectations about that?
This is our first time at CPH:DOX and our first feature film, so we’re honored but we have few expectations. We’re just grateful to be here in Copenhagen, included in such a strong suite of films.
Wed. 21/03, 16:45, Cinemateket, Tickets
Sat. 24/03, 15:15, Empire, Tickets