Joe Anderson – Independent Film Director
The World is Our Canvas
When Joe Anderson enters a room, you know this is a man with stories to tell. His eyes twinkle, and he exudes confidence in his cream colored suit and hat.
“I never really grew up,” Anderson admits. “I think a lot of people have a problem with that. They grow up too fast and think they’re someone that they’re not. Just be yourself.”
Anderson is an independent film director who currently resides in Durham. He started shooting 8mm and 16mm film in 1976 and video in 1985. Since 2008, he has used 35mm film. He got his start in Cablevision in the late 1980s. “I was a camera operator and I worked for a producer [in Durham]….I did a lot music videos and local documentaries.” He then went to work for Sony Ericcson, but when the economy fell, 900 people, including Anderson, lost their jobs. “I was thrown out on the street, took what severance money I had, bought a truckload of film equipment, which I still have, and formed the corporation StraightLine Productions to provide equipment used in movie sets.”
In 2010, StraightLine Productions went into partnership with Cinema East Films. They have offices in Wilmington and Paris.
“Our theme now is ‘The world is our canvas.’” Anderson says. People have argued that being a director is different than being an artist, but Anderson says, “I am an artist. I just shoot with a different medium. I don’t have a brush or a wheel, but I can spin a tale with visual shots.”
Currently, Cinema East Films is working on several projects. They just finished a full length film entitled Lost Flight, produced by Anderson’s “other half, better half, best friend in the world, Nancy Renaud.” It’s the story of a young girl who is the sole survivor of a plane crash. “It’s a little bit paranormal. She has all these dreams and flashbacks. She can’t deal with the present; she can’t deal with the past.” The film is family friendly and set to be released on DVD soon. It premiered at the Durham Convention Center on July 16.
“I’m really proud of everyone who jumped in front of the camera, and I’m doubly proud of the crew,” Anderson says. “I have the best little crew I could ever ask for.”
Filming came with several successes and setbacks. Anderson knows that he has actor Tim Gregory, producer Nancy Renaud, office manager/camera operator Ashley Clagg, and Erin Garrant to thank. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Currently, Anderson has been busy shooting a 50 minute TV pilot called The Observer. It’s the story of a CIA agent that is put on an assignment to find a man they’ve never seen before. So far, there are thirteen episodes in the series. Anderson came up with the general story line, and Aubrey Horne is the writer.
Creating a final product takes a lot of time though. Anderson says, “The editing process is what drives you crazy.” Cinema East Films uses Final Cut Pro, which allows them to go over all of their footage and edit what they need. For an hour long movie, like Lost Flight, they had forty hours of footage to work with. “In a way, you have so much to choose from, but at the end, you have nothing to choose from, and you want to reshoot everything.”
Anderson loves being part of the art community. “I hope I have something worthwhile to contribute. I’m always open to new ideas and I love criticism. Never scared me a bit.”