Andy Stapp: Interview with the director of “Destination Marfa”
Andy Stapp is the writer and director of the award winning film “Destination Marfa” starring Tony Todd (Candyman, Scream: The TV Series, 24), Stelio Savante (Infidel, Running For Grace, Ugly Betty), Richard Riehle (The Man from Earth, Casino), Neil Sandilands (News of the World, The Flash), Tracy Perez (East Los High, Animal Kingdom) and Kyle Cotton (Angel of Death, Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash).
Christos Arfanis: Who Has Been Your Greatest Influence as a film writer and director and what do you love about directing?
Andy Stapp: Growing up I was a major fan of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. I loved how he could capture the essence of eerieness, peculiarity, and just the bizarre feelings that come with his 30 minute stories. That’s hard to do especially without crossing over in to the genre of horror. The 80’s is definitely my favorite decade and John Hughes was a genius at portraying the teenage spirit into motion picture as entertainment. To this day his movies take me back to that youthful feeling simply because his story telling about teenage years was so real. As I wrote Destination Marfa I tried to keep a balance between these to styles of writing. In the end I feel like Destination Marfa has that “If John Hughes wrote a twilight zone episode” presence to it.
A director has to have a mind that sees a story in real-time photos so to speak. This is his my mind works. I have a background in art so it’s only natural for me to vision things ahead of time. That’s what I love about directing, the ability to bring words to an audience in a video format that is not only visually speaking, but captures the emotion of each scene. I enjoy doing this.
Christos Arfanis: What are your top five favorite movies of all time?
Andy Stapp: It’s a wonderful Life, Rear Window, The Perfect Getaway, A simple plan, The Hateful Eight
Christos Arfanis: What advice do you have for those who wish to get into the industry and what do you think is missing from today’s entertainment?
Andy Stapp: My advice to new people coming into the film industry is DO NOT let the nature of this business departmenalize you. This industry had molded people into an attitude of “well, I only write, I don’t direct, I only work in audio, I don’t edit video, etc etc etc.” I would tell individuals to get in there and learn all you can in each department. A powerful person is born when they become effective in all aspects of preproduction, production, and post production. Today’s entertainment still has a wide doorway for new stories, and new ways to tell it. Hollywood has become to much mainstream with Batman, Spiderman, 1,2,3 etc. There’s still a lot in this world to be told and there’s a ton of good storytellers waiting to be discovered.
Christos Arfanis: Do you think social media has helped you promote your work to wider audience from all around the globe?
Andy Stapp: Social media is the absolute reason Destination Marfa’s screenplay got noticed in Hollywood. When that happened a large number of Hollywood actors/actresses took notice to this production. It’s still to this day amazing to me the names of those that applied. It was surreal.
Christos Arfanis: What inspired you to create a movie about Marfa?
Andy Stapp: I heard about the Marfa lights in 2010. I’m a skeptic by nature which enticed me to check it out. I drove there and on the first night I saw the lights. I thought, why has there not been a story on this west Texas phenomenon in the desert? Then occurred to me, here’s a great opportunity to write a screenplay and I started immediately!
Christos Arfanis: How was working with Tony Todd and Stelio Savente as well the rest talented cast and crew? Do you have any favorite moments from the set of “Destination Marfa” you would like to share?
Andy Stapp: They were simply a pleasure, easy to work with, and allowed me as a director to ensure my vision of this film is what prevailed. On set with Stelio, my most memorable moments would be when he would do that “Texas shuffle” in between filming scenes. It was dance so to speak between a Texas line dance and skipping and we would all laugh when he would do it.
My most memorable moment with Tony was an overnight shoot. We were out in the middle of no where in the pitch dark. I said to him “Tony, it just occurred to me that I’m standing in the dark in the middle of a canyon with Candyman.” Tony grinned and with that deep baritone voice he said “I dare you to say my name 5 times. “
Christos Arfanis: Any future projects you are currently working on and you could share with us?
Andy Stapp: I am currently writing treatments to 4 more crazy ideas I have. My plan is create an interest in one of those 4 from likely future investors before converting it to a screenplay. Each of these 4 are very bizarre stories that I have a feeling well be identical to Destination Marfa in the respect that it’s tough to pin down the genre for the storyline.
Thank you so much Andy for your time! We
wish you all the best with your movie “Destination Marfa” and a great success to all your future projects!