Michael Kleiman, Director of WEB, talks with us next in our Meet the #AIFF14 Filmmakers series.
How did you get started in filmmaking?
Michael: I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a filmmaker but after college, I wasn’t quite sure how to do it. I was lucky that, while in college I met Michael Pertnoy, who had similar aspirations and creative sensibilities. He and I collaborated on a few student shorts together and after graduation, we jumped into the documentary world and started making our first film,The Last Survivor. We collaborated together again on Web, so that partnership has been really helpful and fruitful.
Who inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Michael: That’s a hard question to answer. There have been many people who have inspired me along the way. But to go back to the beginning…It all started with seeing Home Alone when I was little kid. I just loved that movie. I’d watch it over and over and do impersonations for my family. After that, I was in love with movies. I don’t think I saw a movie I didn’t like for my first 12 or 13 years on the planet. Then, when I was in High School I saw The Usual Suspects and that experience just blew me away. That’s when I really said to myself, “I want to do that.” I didn’t really discover documentary until college, when I had some great Professors who introduced me to the art form and the power it offered to highlight injustice and the ability to show little glimpses of truth.
If you were a superhero, what would your super filmmaking power be?
Michael: As a documentary filmmaker, I think the super power I’d most want is the ability to be invisible whenever I wanted (and make the camera invisible too). That would be a big help in trying to capture moments as they unfold. Of course, it also raises a whole bunch of ethical questions, so I might need a superhero’s sense of honor and justice to go along with it.
What is your go to Karaoke tune? (AfterLounge Karaoke night Sat. 4/5, 9p at Standing Stone Brewing Company)
Michael: Great question! I absolutely love Karaoke so I’m pretty disappointed to be missing the Karaoke party. My go to song is usually “No Rain” by Blind Melon. I find that it has a solid sing along factor and the opening riff is very recognizable. People are usually pleasantly surprised to hear it and I love singing it.
Michael talks WEB: At its heart, Web is a film about friendships — how they are formed, what they mean, how far they can stretch with the help of technology, and how they are changed in that process. It’s a tension we can all relate to and therefore one that allows us to recognize the common humanity we all share. I hope the film will allow people to reflect on the power information technology has to bring our world together, but also how the human experience is changed as our existences become increasingly digital.