Hal Hartley at the IU Cinema

Hal Hartley has been an unwavering independent filmmaker for thirty years. His films, The Unbelievable Truth, Simple Men, Trust and Amateur were touchstones of the early 90s and his Henry Fool trilogy is a masterwork of contemporary American cinema. Hartley will be at the IU Cinema on April 26th and 27th to talk about the challenges of independent filmmaking and introduce his films.

We recently interviewed Hartley – the full text will be published in our May 7th issue.  Here is an excerpt.

Ryder: How did you get into filmmaking?

Hartley: Almost by accident.  I went to art school–MassArt in Boston–in the late ‘70s.  One of the electives I took that first year was a Super 8 filmmaking class. It was with a guy named Steve Anchor.  He was a solid San Francisco and Boston American avant-garde filmmaker. He was interesting. He turned us on to a lot of things.  You know, visual art filmmaking…. Dan Brakhage, Peter Hutton, Maya Deren. I was very excited, but as it turned out my dad and I ran out of money for me to stay there, so I had to go back to Lindenhurst on Long Island.  And I got a job, figuring out what I was going to do. I had to go to a New York school that would be cheaper. I had really been bitten by the film bug, but I had to spend another year back home working.

I got myself a camera and a projector.  I discovered my library had Super 8 versions of classic films.  It was amazing. No one took these things out. Yeah, it was a lonely but fun little initiation.

So I spent 1979 making 6 or 7 short films and I was sort of writing. And then I decided to apply to a New York state school for film rather than continue with art. There was really no looking back after that.