Filmmaker Spotlight: Eric D. AndersonApril 6th, 2011 | Posted by in Uncategorized
A recent addition to the IndieFlix library is the air hockey tournament documentary, Way of the Puck. As an avid air hockey player in my youth, I was curious and intrigued by its release.
I had a chance to ask some questions to director Eric D. Anderson about his film and his journey becoming a filmmaker.
Kyle Boynton: The film is about air hockey and its legacy of competition, what drove you to make a film about this?
Eric D. Anderson: I rediscovered air hockey while researching article ideas for a journalism class I was taking at the time. The assignment was to brainstorm twenty-five possible stories and then go through one by one and see which ones you were truly passionate about, which ones had experts you could get quotes from, which ones had a strong hook.
[…] After a little poking around on the Internet, I discovered something wholly unexpected: players, rankings, tournaments, discussion boards – an entire community of air hockey fanatics that competed very seriously at this forgotten game and who spent much of their lives thinking and talking about it.
I hadn’t ever played competitively, but of course I was roped into doing so by the promoters, who claimed I needed to play in order to truly understand the subject matter of the film. Fair enough, but I think they really just wanted to collect another entry fee!
KB: What drove you to become a filmmaker?
EDA: Cinema is an emotional medium first of all, and an intellectual one later. Movies have this effortless ability to forge an instant connection with the viewer and transport them to another place and another time, and this is what I find so compelling. We want to be transported. We want to be affected, to feel. It may seem strange for a documentary filmmaker to be speaking in these terms, but I think it’s important to remember that the viewers are going to respond first to an emotional connection with the material, even if it’s a documentary. Especially if it’s a documentary. You must forge this emotional bond with the viewer…otherwise you’re a failure. Then you’re about as interesting as an insurance seminar.
KB: What is your goal for the film?
EDA: I’m very very proud of Way of the Puck. And I think the sport of air hockey kind of sells itself, at least to a certain demographic. I have a lot of confidence about the film and its ability to deliver; the ongoing challenge (as in air hockey) is getting the word out that there is this quirky, moving film about the history and mythology of air hockey, and that it’s quality. Leonard Maltin gave us a great review. Stefan Fatsis gave us a glowing review over at Slate Magazine. Seth Gordon, the director of King of Kong, said some very nice words about the film. My hope now is that as many people as possible see and enjoy the film, because the future of air hockey depends on it! If we can get it shown on the Documentary Channel or ESPN or Spike TV, even better. Whatever it takes!
KB: Are you working on any new projects?
EDA: Yes! The first project is spending more time with my wife, since filmmaking does not lend itself to a balanced existence and it’s easy to neglect your loved ones going through this process and working weird hours…
My writing partner and I are polishing a feature script called The Secret Unbelievable, which is a road movie set in rural China, about ping pong and the slow creep of failure. I’m also eager to do rewrites on my first novel, a moody psychological piece called Tacomaland that I hope to finally send out next year. Oh, and my most secret fantasy is to re-adapt Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries, since the first filmed version of this book got it wrong, I thought, although Leo’s performance was exemplary, of course.
KB: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Congrats on the film and welcome to IndieFlix, Eric!
How about you, readers? Do we have any air hockey fans reading?
*Eric had a lot of great things to say. Click Uncut Interview: Eric D Anderson to read his full responses.