Director’s Statement, Matthew Way
I ended up in Germany because of the New German Cinema, which I studied at Wesleyan and Duke Universities. After growing up in what we called "the armpit of Philadelphia's Main Line," which was disastrously barren of art or artists, the roughness and personal expression of the New German Cinema moved me. I myself had begun trying to write a screenplay at the age of 16, THE 3RD RAIL, which dealt with those teenage years and their repercussions.
After college, I loved living in Caracas, Venezuela, but again: few art or artists. So I accepted the Fulbright Commission’s offer to send me to Hamburg, Germany, a city where I’d never been, but would end up chronicling in my first feature, THE GENITAL WARRIORS.
I became active in the professional film industry – but importantly also in theater and the fine arts, which both deeply affected my life and film. I produced my own short films, one which premiered at the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, and a series in which I portray a reporter: "REPORTING FROM GERMANY" (BERICHTE ÜBER DEUTSCHLAND). I kept writing THE 3RD RAIL, but decided to shoot my second film first - spontaneously.
The goal was to create American no-budget independent cinema in Europe.
After a separation from my ex-girlfriend, I chose the subject: I pictured her and her best friend sitting on a park bench 40 years down the line telling each other brutal stories about failed relationships.
To keep the story line(s) fresh, I shot it in eight episodes and genres, swapping actors as I went along. Directors like Luis Buñuel (CET OBSUR OBJET DU DÉSIR), but for example also Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE) and Todd Solondz (PALINDROME) had led by example.
Stylistically, the film was more influenced by Woody Allen, Russ Meyer and John Waters, but also by Europeans like Emir Kusturica.
For organizational and financial reasons, I was able to shoot one episode approximately every nine months. There are eight episodes, so the shooting took more than six years. Afterwards, I had to pay off debts and get all of those chaotic episodes together, each shot on different footage, the different formats, etc., do extensive editing, organize test screenings, edit again, have the scans and sound and effects done, find the right musician, etc., etc. – all on a shoestring budget. Until I was willing to say, “that's it”, another four years had passed.
I ended up working on THE GENITAL WARRIORS for over ten years and the rest is history, so to speak. My next feature in preparation is THE 3RD RAIL and will take place in the Armpit of the Main Line.