IndieWire Interviews HUMANITAS Winner Debra Granik

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DGranik-mainFilmmaker Debra Granik earned an impressive four Oscar nominations for 2010's "Winter's Bone," including best picture, actress (Jennifer Lawrence), supporting actor (John Hawkes) and adapted screenplay. Clearly all the talent on display in 2004's "Down to the Bone," which boosted the career of Vera Farmiga, was not a flash in the pan. The question was what the deliberate New York filmmaker, who works closely with producer-writer Anne Rossellini, would do next.

I sat down with Granik at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which she attended for the first time along with the backers of "Winter's Bone," Anonymous Content's Steve Golin and Michael Sugar, to get her to take me through that decision-making process. What Granik did make was "Stray Dog," a documentary about U.S. war veterans, inspired by one of the actors in "Winter's Bone," which debuted at the LAFF.

Your documentary "Stray Dog" gives a fascinating slice of the lives of motorcycle-rider veterans and the role played by both religion and poverty. But you had so many choices you could’ve made. Why this one?

Simultaneous to making "Stray Dog" we did go through a couple of cycles on coming really close —

There was the HBO series.

That was one. There was a script that we really loved that was set in Baltimore, that we worked really hard on. It will come back as something.

Maybe you’ll go to television with some of these projects if they can’t be put to film.

I’m interested. That film was special in the sense that we said we couldn’t find the ending — that was an “us” decision — and yet the process was magnificent. I think it’s Wim Wenders who talked about wanting to create this project where he asked other filmmakers to make a compendium of films that never got made. Like, you saw the whole film in your head as a filmmaker, and they never just made it on. "Baltimore" was one of those cycles — where the learning curve was huge, where there was a lot of fulfillment. There was a lot of documentation that happened: we did a lot of oral recording and a lot of transcripts were made. Material was gathered.

Read the rest of the interview at IndieWire: http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/debra-granik-on-the-demand-for-the-salacious-for-fast-cheap-and-out-of-control-20140716