V7: How did you feel when you got the acceptance email? What’s it like coming back to Visions for a second time?
NA: I had so much fun last time at Visions. I got to meet so many people I wouldn’t have had the chance to normally, and I love UNCW’s campus, so I’m very excited to come back a second time. A friend of mine got an acceptance email from Visions and I was so nervous that I’d been rejected, but later that night I got my acceptance email too.
V7: Who are your biggest influences? What techniques from other films or filmmakers do you often find yourself referencing?
NA: I’m a huge fan of Sofia Coppola. Her films are so grounded in reality -- the conversation is so natural and people inhabit spaces in a way that doesn’t feel forced or staged. I really tried to channel her style into Sightseers, trying to juxtapose the futurism with naturalism and reality.
V7: What inspired you to make Sightseers? How did you come up with the story?
NA: I made this film for a particular class, Climate Change in Cinema. Most of the students did documentaries but I really wanted to create this sci-fi narrative revolving around virtual reality and the concept of exploring a place or time that you’ll never see in real life. My thought was that people from the future might want to see the earth before global warming and all the consequences that go with it. I feel like movies were once the only real way to “time travel” in a sense, but now that virtual reality has become a thing, I think that’ll be the new method of escaping to a different place or mindset.
V7: What was the most difficult obstacle you came across during filming, and how did you overcome it?
NA: We shot at Paynes Prairie State Park but it was a 40-minute round trip to get to the water, so carrying a bunch of equipment on a 40-minute round trip was exhausting, especially in Florida heat. We also shot the sunset at the beach -- we knew we had to get there with plenty of time so we arrived at around 2pm, and even then we were pretty pressed for time with setup and everything. Filming always takes much more time than you expect.
V7: Any plans for your next film?
NA: I’m working with my friend Blake Dixon, who was my sound recordist, on a documentary about drag culture in Central Florida. Obviously places like Miami or Gainesville are going to be a little more accepting of alternative lifestyles, but in rural places it just isn’t accepted. We intend to shoot all over Florida and see how drag culture exists throughout the state and in different environments.