Artist Q&A – Roger Beebe


Roger Beebe



Q: How would you describe the art that you do?

A: To start at the biggest level, I make experimental short films. I think of what I do as something under-underground, like sub-indie. More specifically, for the last five or six years, all the films I’ve made have been designed for multiple projectors. I design films to be projected on multiple projectors at the same time. So on a big white wall or screen, you’ll have the interaction of these different elements. It’s been as much as eight projectors for a single film. When it gets up to six or eight projectors, it’s almost like conducting an orchestra.


Q: Where do you find your inspiration or the ideas for your films?

A: For the kind of filmmaking that I’ve been doing for the last 12 years or so, it’s really about going out into your immediate environment and responding to what you find there. In some ways it’s a documentary impulse — you go into the world and try to engage with it meaningfully. The impulse behind the film is much more about form and thinking about ways of using the camera, ways of using the frame. When those two impulses combine, I know I’m ready to start shooting.


Q: Are there any common trends behind your work, or is each individual piece unique? 

A: I would say yes to both. I’ve made a lot of films that share an interest in post-modern city space, sprawl and commercialization of the landscape. Technically there are things that I’m interested in like the multiple projectors or camera-less filmmaking, figuring out ways of working directly on the film. Some of the films do explore different interests that I have. I allow them to have their own life, but I hope they to talk to each other.


Q: Are there specific films that mean more to you than others?

A: Sure — I have favorite children. There’s a film that I made in 2006 called “Save,” which I shot here in Gainesville, and I still really love it. I always show it. I show it in the multiple projector show, but it’s a single projector film. I feel like the best single role of film I’ve ever shot was the first part of that film.


Q: Advice to other aspiring/young artists/creative students out there?

A: I think the biggest thing is to not spend your life waiting around for a million dollars to fall onto your lap or complaining that you don’t have an HD camera. It’s really easy to make something with the tools you have at hand. There are ways of looking at what you have in front of you and not being constrained by it. Instead thinking of that as a creative motor — within this limitation, what can I do? Because of the ideology of Hollywood people think, “I’d love to make a film, but I need a crew and a million bucks.” I just really think that’s not true. That’s one of the virtues of the kind of filmmaking that I do.