IF ALL GOES according to plan, you’ll soon be able to see Joshua Green’s music video for the local band Baroness. But in the meantime, you can enjoy his work at the Savannah Film Festival with the 15-minute short Dinner. We spoke to Green a couple of weeks ago.
What’s up with Dinner?
Joshua Green: There are basically two parallel storylines, both basically about a single meal, and all the energy that goes into that meal. We literally follow the meal from field to plate and beyond. It’s basically about the couple that’s consuming the meal, about where they’ve been before consuming the meal.
That’s a pretty ambitious project for a student short. It’s almost two separate films.
Joshua Green: It became pretty large. It was a longer-lasting project than I expected or intended. I certainly learned a lot about Savannah in that process.
For example, Savannah’s trash is all incincerated. Everything’s shipped from curbside to this huge plant off President Street. It’s then burned in this massive seven-story building. You know how in Kmart they’ll have those crane games to pick up toys? That’s how this is. They pick up the trash and put it on a conveyor belt, and the trash gets sent to a tower so that the denser molecules will gravitate to the floor, so that what comes out of the smokestack won’t be totally toxic.
Just a little bit toxic.
Joshua Green: Yeah (laughs). The trash is then shipped out to Dean Forest Road to the city dump, which is pretty much the highest point in Chatham County.
The film goes a lot of places in 15 minutes. It gets a lot done. The two storylines actually criss-cross. The story about the couple starts out realistically, but becomes very theatrical by the time they get to the table. It’s the opposite with the food, which begins with some theatrical shots on the farm and gets more realistic with the incinerator at the end. We actually built a fake farm, a really stylized fake farm in Rincon. Most of it is posed like still shots.
Was this inverse relationship of realistic to theatrical and vice versa planned, or one of those happy accidents of filmmaking we keep hearing about?
Joshua Green: That was a planned element. The happy accident actually came in the preproduction phase in the food storyline, in that we couldn’t have access to an actual hog farm. So we had to do something that would convey the idea but more stylized. So it worked out, because a big concern of mine was making things too empathetic. The film’s intended to be more generative of dialogue than pure emotion, to get people discussing what it means. It’s about thinking more than feeling.
Did you use any CGI-type effects?
Joshua Green: There are a few effects on some products in the grocery store to draw attention to them, and we did some color correction. Otherwise it’s pretty much too expensive to use CGI. Even to do a thirty-second version of Transformers would be unbelievably expensive, plus you’d have to send it around to various effects houses.
Are you going to stay in this type of genre?
Joshua Green: I’m going to keep working in various formats. I just started doing music videos. As a matter of fact, I’m sending to the label today a video for the local band Baroness. So that should be making its way to MTV2 down the road. Baroness is an act that’s able to really expand its following beyond the local area. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep working with them and the label.