“Antiquities” is a charmingly honest family drama, the kind of simple, sincere movie that ends up winning over its audience, despite all its evident flaws. It’s honest enough, funny enough, and believable enough, for one to enjoy it quite thoroughly.
I had the opportunity to exchange e-mails with the film’s director, Daniel Campbell. What follows is a brief interview in which he tells me a little about the pre-production process of the movie, as well as the personal experiences that inspired this particular story.
- What attracted you to this particular story, in order to make your first feature film?
With "Antiquities" being so personal to me, it's no coincidence that it was my first short and first feature. When I made the short in 2009, I always knew I would revisit this subject matter, once I was ready to tackle a long-form project. As far as the material and tone of the film, I like a lot of different types of films across many different genres, but my sensibilities gravitate towards a balance of comedy and drama. That can be a real challenge, but one I looked forward to when making this film.
- Would you say Antiquities is the tale of a father-son relationship, despite the former character being deceased?
I would absolutely say it’s the tale of a father-son relationship. Graham and both lost our dads early in our adult life and realized how many unanswered questions arise once someone very close to you passes. That’s what this film is about. It’s a son trying to learn about his father and doing that by exploring everything and everyone that his father left behind.
- What was the casting process? How did you achieve a balance between character actors (Andrew J. West, Michaela Watkins) and famous stars (Ashley Greene, Mary Steenburgen)?
The casting process was incredible. One of our amazing producers, Jayme Lemons, had great relationships with many of the actors and reached out to them after Graham and I had finished the script. They showed up on set and all treated it as if it were a big studio comedy. They genuinely cared so much about their characters and were so tuned in to exactly who their characters were. Every actor was so incredibly trusting in me as a first time director, which made collaborating on set an absolute blast.
- Was the film inspired by true events or even personal experiences in any way, shape or form?
It was definitely inspired by the personal experience of losing a parent for both Graham and myself. Death and loss seems to affect everyone differently, so Graham and I wanted to explore that with the different characters in the film. They are all holding on to some sort of loss that’s hindering their lives. Having said that, we really hope you all enjoy our comedy.
- How was the collaborative process of writing the script with Graham Gordy?
Collaborating with Graham was the greatest screenwriting lesson that I’ve had. I learned so much from him during the process. Once the script was outlined, we would pass scenes back and forth until we both felt we had what we needed and then we’d move to the next. When the script was written, we went back and dove into the dialogue and started to emphasize the character’s quirks. That’s when the script and the characters really started to come alive for us.
- Would you say the film is more focused on the study of Walt as a character, or on his relationship with Ellie?
It’s definitely a study on Walt, but Ellie is a significant part of that. Seeing how he interacts and handles Ellie, and all of her issues, is a large part of the character study on Walt.
- Where can Antiquities be seen, both for people in the States, and international viewers?
Everywhere on Digital and Cable in the US.
- Are you planning a next feature? And if so, can you tell me anything about it?
There are a few projects that I’m working on at the moment, but there is a dark comedy that has a bit of a magical realism element that I’m really excited about. Also, Graham and I are deciding on what we want to write next.