Filmmaker Patrick Wang Talks Directing And Self-Distribution [Indie Beat Podcast]

It’s a new Indie Beat, and joining us on this episode is filmmaker Patrick Wang.

Patrick spent some time directing and acting in theater productions before bursting onto the scene with his debut feature “In The Family.” The film follows a man, played by Wang, struggling to retain custody of his son after the death of his lover, the biological father of said child. Running nearly three hours with plenty of long takes, ‘Family’ had a rough time finding a home until its premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Positive word of mouth spread far, though, and gave Patrick the confidence to tour the film himself, four-walling a theater in New York and traveling around the country to various art house theaters and community spaces. His dedication to this sensitive, piercing first film yielded in a number of plaudits which included a large thumbs up from the late Roger Ebert and a spot on Filmmaker Magazine’s lauded 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

The follow up to ‘Family’ was “The Grief of Others,” an adaptation of the book by Leah Hager Cohen. Following a family mourning after the passing of their baby, ‘Grief’ saw Patrick growing as a filmmaker, incorporating influence from work as diverse as “The Hired Hand” to episodes of “Columbo.” The result is just as devastating and felt like his previous film and luckily ‘Grief’ did not languish trying to find a festival premiere. The movie went on to world premiere at SXSW and international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and, in turn, had a successful theatrical run in France.

What came next was unprecedented, even for a filmmaker who paved his own way for their entire filmography thus far. Out came “A Bread Factory,” a two-part, four-hour film focusing on a small town theater’s struggles in the midst of the arrival of a trendy performance-art duo. The film is a sort of trilogy capper, logically following ‘Family’ and ‘Grief’ aesthetically and thematically while also being much more experimental and grander than either work. “A Bread Factory” manages to be both a sharp, tightly focused comedic-drama and also a deep film about globalization, community, capital, art, communication… just to name a few. The films opened in New York late 2018 (along with a run of ‘Grief’) and are currently touring the country, as we speak. Do check and see if it’s playing in a theater near you as the film is a remarkable achievement — despite no festival screenings or buzz and coming in well under the budgets of most huge movies this year, it still managed to appear on quite a number of year-end lists.

Patrick hopped on the podcast to talk about his films, his journey touring with his films, the joy of discovery, and our shared love for Ryusuke Hamaguchi.

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