Interview New Filmmaker Series: Writer/Director Kyle Dubiel Talks about His Short Film Romance From A Distance: Premeires at Jersey City's Golden Door Festival
Romance From A Distance is young filmmaker Kyle Dubiel's first short accepted to a film festival. This NYU Tisch student who hails from NJ and has been making videos on YouTube since he was a kid, is premiering this short about a tumultuous relationship at the Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City, NJ. Read on to find out more about the film and the influences of this young writer/director, who grew up as YouTube established itself, giving a whole generation of budding videographers itself a new outlet and inspiration for creativity.
Tell me about the genesis of Romance from a Distance.
Romance from a Distance tells the story of a young couple who get into the relationship of a lifetime, only to find themselves trapped in a cycle of love and hate. The film, told in a non-linear format, experiments with the language of love and hate, juxtaposing the two to show that despite being opposites, they sound quite similar.
I wrote the first draft of the film during my freshman year of college in February of 2016, only to revisit it during the summer of 2017. Then, directed the film in Fall of 2017 as a part of my junior-level film production class at NYU: Tisch. My crew of 12 and I went into production on the film for two days in late October. Soon after, we started post-production, which lasted until June of 2018, when the film was completely finished.
Although I have been writing and directing short-form content for YouTube since I was 11, I consider Romance from a Distance my debut short film, as it is the first film in which I had a budget, professional equipment, and full crew for.
What writers or directors have influenced you?
Some writers and directors influence me in different ways. The way I tend to write dialogue is heavily inspired by the quick-witted banter of William Shakespeare and Quentin Tarantino. I come from a theatrical background, acting in shows throughout middle school and high school, and so my films tend to be very dialogue heavy, much like plays.
As for direction, I’m influenced by Darren Aronofsky, Stanley Kubrick, Sofia Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and more recently, Damien Chazelle. However, since I was 11, my number one role model and influence as an entertainer is Bo Burnham, who recently debuted as writer-director of Eighth Grade, which is my favorite film of the year, at the moment. I had been following him since his early YouTube fame and it is really cool to see him live the dream that I want to live as well.
What were your favorite flicks as a kid versus now?
My favorite movies as a child had to be Toy Story 1 and 2. Toy Story 2 was the first movie I saw in a theater and I watched both so many times with my parents on DVD during my childhood. Nowadays, some movies I could watch over and over and over again, just for entertainment, are Good Will Hunting, The Shawshank Redemption, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Inception, and honestly, a toss-up between Inglorious Basterds,The Social Network, and Whiplash. (Too many favorite movies!)
(L to R: Jimmy Banta, 2nd AC/Sound Designer; Mathew Goldsholl, Boom Operator; Paige Dillon, Script Supervisor/PA; Kyle Dubiel, Writer/Director; Martin Blanco, DP; Cristina Beviá, 1st AC; Maddy Oliver, 1st AD; Sam Elwell, Gaffer/Key Grip; Cassidy Davis, Lead Actress; Kyle Goings, Production Sound Mixer; Dustin Gross, Lead Actor)
What are your favorite shows now to binge on
and what makes them so special?
I don’t watch nearly enough TV as I should, mainly because I watch so many movies. I recently finished binging Queer Eye which I love because it’s so wholesome and positive, which is a nice “escape” from everything going on in the world. Other shows I have binged heavily are House and Criminal Minds, because the characters are simply fantastic. My favorite TV show; however, is Breaking Bad—Walter White has probably one of my favorite character arcs of all time (and the show was shot on 35mm film!).
Where do you do your best writing or thinking? Are there any locations that inspire you?
The place does not matter to me, what matters is the lack of distraction. My best ideas and writing always come out when I’m unplugged from the internet and phone worlds. Sometimes I enjoy writing with music, sometimes without. This past summer, I wrote a lot in public using a pen and paper. That was a fun experiment, but after a while I got tired of writing a script in a journal, only to just go and retype it.
Honestly, no idea—I don’t drink coffee or consume caffeinated drinks. My favorite bagel place in NYC is Best Bagel and Coffee, but I can only speak for the bagels.
How do you think that the indie film landscape has changed over the past ten years?
I’m still quite young, so I can’t say much about how it has changed since I didn’t consciously experience the indie film landscape until a couple years ago. What I will say though, with the rise of A24, movies like Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Lady Bird, Moonlight, Get Out, and The Florida Project doing well at the box office, more and more cool independent films are being funded that probably wouldn’t have been 10 years ago (especially Sorry to Bother You, Moonlight, and Get Out).
Plans for the future?
As of right now, I’m about to start my job as a photography intern at Saturday Night Live and I just started my own wedding videography business (booking for 2019 season now!).
Hopefully, SNL really likes me and wants to keep me around after I graduate in December. If not, then I’ve got my wedding videography business.
Additionally, I’m hoping that Romance and my next film are successful in the festival circuits, so that I may acquire representation and become a director full-time (I have a feature film script written and another on the way). In five years, I see myself debuting my first feature film (hopefully with a ton of buzz and at a huge film festival).