How SOL and Lost and Found are connected
Hey everyone, it’s Andrew. A few updates with regards to our progress with Lost and Found moving forward. Our first bit of big news is that we are going to launch our crowdfunding campaign in the coming weeks! We will need all of your support to achieve our fundraising goal. In order to get everyone prepped on what we’ve been cooking up for the last two years, we will also be releasing a trailer next week! I’m very excited to share this with you guys, and can’t wait to hear everyone’s feedback.
Lost and Found started off as a seed of an idea almost three years ago. I had been interning in Los Angeles for several months and had a very rough summer emotionally. I was incredibly lonely and depressed. I was also creatively at a loss. I had just finished my thesis film at the University of Texas at Austin, A Song For Danny, and found myself at the place that I typically wind up in after I’ve completed a project. A part of my being was empty, and I was somewhat unsatisfied with the results of my thesis film. While I was proud of the way the film looked, the incredible performances, the score, the editing, the ambitious shoot, the crew, almost everything about it, the one thing I was unsatisfied with was how the story at the end didn’t quite hit the note I wanted it to. It left me wanting… more.
When I first began watching films, I immediately found I had a soft spot for films that moved me, and made me cry. The first film I can remember doing this to me, was The Green Mile (1999). I had to be 11 years old the first time I watched it in my mothers bedroom, and by the end I was choking up and tears were streaming down my face. At the time I was wanting to be an aspiring film critic. Directing seemed like a far off dream, one a little boy like me from a bubble town in the middle of suburbia could never achieve. I shortly created a rule for my film diary, a little journal which contained all my film reviews. If a film could make me cry, it would get four out of four stars no matter what. This changed over the years as my criteria for watching movies grew, but I found myself continually in the same place. For better or for worse, the movies that really tugged at my heart strings were the ones I’d remember and watch time and time again.
Here’s a list of just a few:
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Life is Beautiful (1997)
The Terminal (2004)
E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (1982)
The Lion King (1994)
In 2013 my grandfather was in the later stages of his battle with Alzheimer’s. I noticed how difficult this was on my father, and my own fears about my father’s future started to dawn on me. I make films as a way of exploring situations currently going on in my life or pressing questions that simple streams of thought cannot answer. This was one of those times and topics. I had tried to make two films about this topic before SOL. The first one, we never finished shooting and I can’t even remember the title of it, nor do I have any of the footage, but I can recall that it was a narrative. The second one, I’ve titled 1.9.12 (originally Visiting My Grandfather). This documentary actually has some ties to Lost and Found. The handheld, home video style aesthetic that we try to achieve in Lost and Found was first experimented on in this film, and it was inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Italianamerican (1974). It was a film about my dad and I visiting my grandfather, and me trying to connect with him as his memory deteriorated.
You can watch the film embedded below.
SOL was the follow up to this project. After being in film school for a couple of years, and never really having made any project I was passionate or proud of, I decided to make a film outside of film school the winter break of my junior year. I had taken my newly purchased black magic cinema camera, a plastic light stand, a small boom pole, and a shotgun mic typically means to be put directly on top of a camera, and with just myself and one other crew member, began shooting. The story for SOL was very similar to 1.9.12, just a simple story about my dad visiting my grandfather, and trying to come to terms with his illness. Little did I know it’d also be the last time that I’d see my grandfather.
You can watch the film embedded below.
When I began to show SOL, both to friends, professors, peers, and audiences at film festivals, I noticed something. People connected with the film deeply, in a seemingly similar manner that some of the films listed above impacted me. My goal as a filmmaker is to make films that impact peoples lives the same way so many films have impacted mine, and on this level it appeared that SOL worked. Even if people didn’t have any experience with Alzheimer’s personally, or knew what it was, they had a better understanding on how it affects those suffering from it and their loved ones after seeing this film.
SOL was the film I made before A Song For Danny, and so after having a moment to sit and think on what I could do better with my next film, it dawned on me that I wanted to make a film with more emotion. Something that would tug at audiences heart strings, and impact them in a more profound way. I also was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly at the time. I’m still not the biggest rap fan, but this album connected with me, when by any logical means it shouldn’t have. There was some deep core and emotion though in the album that I could relate to, and I wanted to also do that with the next film I made. So I thought about what was going on in my life at that time that people could relate to, and it became pretty obvious to me what that was. My parents were finally getting divorced and getting rid of the house I grew up in. And so began the year long gestation of daydreaming about the project, trying to imagine what the film could be about, how it would go about doing this, and what the film would feel like. Even then, I couldn’t have predicted the journey I was going to go on making this film, and how it would all finally turn out. Truth be told, I still can’t, but I’m getting closer everyday.
Lost and Found never would’ve happened without SOL and 1.9.12. Both these films were the blueprints I used to create this movie. I had never made a feature film before, and I had no idea what to really expect from this shoot, but I knew how I wanted it to feel, and how I wanted to go about exploring it visually. While Lost and Found isn’t necessarily a sequel to SOL, I would definitely call it a companion. Yes, one’s a short and one’s a feature, and yes the visual styles are very different, but theres a warmth and a boundless sense of love that is steeped within the painful narratives of both of these films.
When we premiered SOL at Dallas Video Fest in 2014, I received one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten… only I didn’t find it until two years later. It was written in a theater magazine in Dallas, Theater Jones:
“Sol Garbus is a man living with Alzheimer's in an assisted living center. During a visit, his son Leland repeats a familiar script for anyone who has experienced this disease up close. He asks if he remembers family members and other basic things. He’s hungry for French fries. Filmmaker Andrew Garbus works in environment shots in which old pictures and keepsakes are shown around the tiny apartment, as if to hopefully serve as reminders to Sol’s deteriorating brain. It’s a heartbreaking film. There is no happy ending with Alzheimer’s, but Garbus catches a tear duct-clearing moment towards the end that will crumble the stoniest of hearts. This is the most poignant and powerful eight-minute film I’ve ever seen.”
I hope that Lost and Found is the fifty minute equivalent of this review for those who see it. I can’t wait to share more updates with you as we continue this process, and hopefully will be able to watch it with all of you next year. Stay posted for more updates and please, if you haven’t already, follow us on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/LandFDoc), our twitter page (http://www.twitter.com/LandFFilm), and our instagram page (http://www.instagram.com/lostfoundfilm).
Look forward to sharing with you more in the future.
Pain separates us.
Everyone has a story.
Time heals us.
With much love and respect,
(Also here’s a still from the film)