We’ve asked the filmmakers for the 11th annual Oxford Film Festival the same five questions. Meet Tony Gault, director/animator and sound man for Ghosts of Yesterday. This film will be screening Saturday, Feb. 8 at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9 at 1 p.m.
#1: In 140 characters or less, describe your movie and why someone should see it.
The film is a series of animations created from home movies that were sold on ebay. I call these home movies “orphans” because I wonder what would motivate someone to sell their family heirlooms on ebay.
My guess is that a devious businessman convinced the family that keeping 16mm film originals was a stupid idea. But the film originals will outlast digital copies much longer simply because the technology that plays digital files is changing so rapidly. Ever hear of “planned obsolescence”? This is the destiny of your digitally transferred home movies.
#2: Biggest lesson learned in getting the film made? Best part in getting the film made?
Patience. It took, on average, one hour to animate one second of material. So, at five and a half minutes (330 seconds), it took a long time to complete the work on this film. The best part of finishing the film was that it gave me more freedom to work on the new film.
#3: Tell us about you. What is your movie making background?
I’ve been making films for about 25 years. I make short, very low budget films and this gives me the luxury of being able to work by myself. Working on films gives me the chance to retreat from this often hectic world we live in.
#4 What do you want the Oxford Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title or description?
“Ghost of Yesterday” is an elegy to a time I grew up in - a less sensational, hectic time. It is a reflection of our pre-digital world - where information came in smaller doses and people were, perhaps, a bit less demanding and dependent on instant gratification.
#5: What does the future hold in store for your film and for you?
I’m working on another film that uses the same animated process. The source material is a TV show from the 50’s called “Medic.” The show is about a woman who ends up in a mental institution because she’s made culturally determined choices that don’t reflect who she truly is. I think we all come to a point in our lives when we discover this sacrifice.