The film is director Bryan Reisberg's first feature. He recently answered a few questions about the project.
Tell us about Big Significant Things.
Big Significant Things is the story of a young man, played by Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones' Viserys Targaryen), who lies to his girlfriend to embark on his first road trip to the South. Along the way he plans to visit several of the World's Largest Roadside Attractions.
What inspired you to tell this story?
I used to day dream about just leaving; going on a trip and not telling anybody. I wasn't serious about it, but I had these naive and romantic visions of leaving my job and friends and family behind in lieu of a wildly spontaneous adventure into the unknown expanses of the world. I think they call that vagrancy these days.
Unfortunately these fantasies usually reduced into logistical exercises. So instead of dreaming about this "wildly spontaneous" adventure, I would spend a lot of time thinking about the implications of being unreachable, who I would need to email to defer student loans, important dates for online bill payment, what my mother would think. She'd probably start chain smoking, stressing about where she went wrong -- and you can't really enjoy wild spontaneity knowing that it's also killing your poor mother. And then I'm also broke so I'm not sure how I'd even pay for it anyways. So it all got really stressful to even think about. And on top of that, I was reminded of some of my favorite films from the 60s and 70s that dealt with similar themes, albeit during an incredibly volatile time in America. At that time, there was a lot to either fight for, or escape from. So it made me think -- well -- what do I have to run away from? I'm 25 and I have a leak-proof roof over my head and a steady job that doesn't require any physical labor. So in the span of an hour, these delusions just turned into me hating myself for whining about my perfectly normal, if not fortunate, life.
How did you pick the locations Craig visits?
For a film of this size, there were myriad challenges in shooting a 'road film' the way that I wanted to do it. It's extremely important to me to shoot in real locations, with real people. And unfortunately, it's neither logistically nor financially possible to move a 50-person film crew around the American South for a month. So we had to have a home base, and I found that Jackson, Mississippi proved to be the perfect place to set up shop for a month. Mississippi provided a diverse landscape of locations that allowed us to properly schedule a film production, and not to mention an incredibly talented community of non-actors that I used to populate the film. And then finally, Mississippi is home to a few of my favorite "World's Largest" Attractions that are featured in the film.
What challenges did you face shooting the film?
There were innumerable challenges that we faced every single day -- that's half the fun of independent filmmaking -- learning to pivot while maintaining your creative focus. The largest challenge, however, was the schedule. There was a lot to shoot, and a lot of ground to cover in 18 days. In the final week of our shoot, while shooting in Gulfport, MS, we had 7 days of overnights. That means we shot from 7pm, to 7am. It was incredibly grueling, but we had a fantastic crew so it was a thrilling way to end the production.
Tell us about your cast. What stood out about their performances?
Casting, for me, is one of the most, if not THE most important process before entering production. First we signed on Harry Lloyd, who was the lead in the film. He and I worked for months before we actually entered pre-production. He's in about 98% of the film, so he really carried the entire film on his shoulders. Harry has such an incredible range, both dramatically and comedically -- so that's what stood out to me. His performance really straddles a very thin line, and I think he pulls it off marvelously.
Next came Krista Kosonen, who is a well-known Finnish actress. This was her first English language film. There's so much about her character that goes unsaid in the film, and Krista really brought a lot of that mystique to the surface in a wonderful way.
The rest of the cast, from featured roles to background roles, to smaller speaking parts here and there -- were all cast locally, which was very important. We spent about a week in open casting calls trying to find the perfect person for each role.
Where can audiences see the film next?
We've got some exciting announcements coming in the next few weeks, and will be traveling to many more film festivals, but right now, you can see the film at the following upcoming festivals:
Crossroads Film Festival
April 3-6, 2014
Kansas City Film Festival
April 5-13, 2014
IndieGrits Film Festival, Columbia, SC
April 11-20, 2014
What's next for you as a filmmaker? Do you have any upcoming projects your working on that you can tell us about?
I do a lot of work with my production company partner, Andrew D. Corkin, at Uncorked Productions (www.anuncorkedproduction.com). Right now we're working on producing a few shorts and a feature, and I'm currently writing my next feature film which I will also direct.