Meet Fusion Doc Challenge filmmaker, Cody Martin

May 7, 2015

Was this your first Doc Challenge? What has been your favorite part about Fusion Doc Challenge?

This was my first Fusion Doc Challenge, and my favorite part was networking and meeting other great filmmakers like GMOtional‘s Tom Stagg and Wake Up‘s Erin Babbin.

How did you take the theme for the 2014 Doc Challenge “I have a bad feeling about this,” and use it in your film?

My team and I brainstormed for close to six hours trying to find the most relevant and impactful topic while picking something we had access to. I was already involved with a Rape Culture activist group called Yes All Women, which gave me access to sexual violence survivors for key interviews. In addition, as a crew of seven males, we felt we could provide an interesting and different point of view on the subject.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I was inspired to be a filmmaker by my high school wood shop teacher. I went to a very small rural high school. We didn’t have a film class or club, but I loved making movies. My instructor allowed me to use his third period wood shop class as an independent study course to produce a film with the goals of obtaining the schools next five years of funding for the ROP program. That was nearly ten years ago, and my passion for filmmaking has only grown.

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

My favorite thing about the short film form is the challenge of making an inspiring and influential experience for the audience in a short amount of time.

Who were the people that supported the making of this film?

We had overwhelming support from sexual assault survivors, but this film would not have been possible without an organization called, WEAVE: Rape Crisis Center for Sacramento, California.

Still from Cody Martin's "Quiet Culture"

Still from Cody Martin’s “Quiet Culture”

What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.

As a filmmaker I focus on lighting to control emotions. In Quiet Culture, we were not able to have BRoll that added to the spoken dialogue throughout the interviews. Therefore, we relied heavily on lighting to drive the emotion of the film.

What is your next project?

I have a few projects in the works. I have been directing a feature length documentary called Darling: A Burlesque Perspective for the past eighteen months. It’s about the daily hustle of burlesque and vaudeville performers. I am also working on a short documentary about a four year old with brain cancer for a charity campaign. In addition, I will be directing a short drama I wrote called One Crack in a Brick this summer.

The independent film business is growing. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?

With the growth of the indie film world, the possibilities and opportunities keep me motivated. Access for distribution for young and new filmmakers is becoming more obtainable. As a filmmaker I want to be a voice for people who can’t be heard. More platforms for my films to be seen, means more opportunities to make the world a better place with the craft of filmmaking.

Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?

In the narrative form, Lars Von Trier has deeply influenced me, with films that push the boundaries of sexuality. His ability to sexualize a female character without objectifying her is something to be respected. He has a knack for solid story telling and poetic dialogue without being expositional. In the documentary form, although he is not a filmmaker but a photojournalist, James Nachetway is a huge influence on me. His selfless dedication to the world by capturing moving images that bring to light issues that may not be seen in everyday media is awe-inspiring.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

If I was to give advice to new filmmakers, it would be to go out and make films. Find something that you care deeply about, find your voice and scream as loud as you possibly can.


View Cody Martin’s film “Quiet Culture” competing in the Fusion Doc Challenge, and follow his career with The Audience Awards.

The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.


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