Meet Keern Haslem, Real Montana competing filmmaker

April 14, 2015

How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?

The marquee on the little theater in the town where I grew up, attracted my attention every time I passed, even if I knew what was showing. I sometimes found myself thinking “I hope I never make films like that,” since it was a small town theater it showed whatever would draw the most people, not necessarily what was most watchable.

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

Exercise. Feature films require acts, and arriving at those breaks takes work. A short film is invigorating, like exercise.

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

The entire Montana Actors’ Theatre volunteer staff. Too many people to name, but the key members were: Jay Pyette, Dana Pyette, Mike Davis, Angela Pratt, Casey Pratt, Ty Pyette, Jean Hawkins, and the actors in the play: Richard Dunbar, Katie Hughes, Adrian Adams, Bethany Mason and Bob McNamee.

Still from “Montana Actors’ Theatre Great Falls”

What is your next project?

My current production is Texas Tea Party,  a parody in which the Second Sons of Liberty reenact the Boston Tea Party in modern days by dressing up as Mexicans and throwing medical supplies from a train. It pokes fun at the inappropriately named Tea Party Patriots, who seem to be ignoring the unheroic, near terrorism of the Boston Tea Party.

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

The true film icon may be a thing of the past, but the satisfaction has not gone away. I doubt any filmmaker ever lets themselves believe they’ve arrived. The joy is in the process, the production and the crowds. Thankfully, crowds are increasingly accessible, which makes experimental filmmaking a possibility. I foresee a mixture of artificial intelligence, gaming and cinema in our future. A film genre in which no two people see the exact same motion picture.

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

As a writer, I’ve been most influenced by the rich prose of Truman Capote. I believe all great storytellers have roots in literature. The filmmakers I most admire though, are the Coen brothers and my favorite screenwriter is Aaron Sorkin.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

No matter what, I always think of the advice Stephen Soderbergh gave at The Academy Awards in 2001, for his Best Director award speech, “every day, create something.” That year, he directed Traffic and Erin Brockovich. Both films had multiple nominations.

Follow Keern’s career at The Audience Awards. Vote for his film in the Real Montana Artists, Culture & Events showcase.

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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