Terence Nance isn't exactly a household name. But Miami film buffs should recognize his voice from the Miami movie of the year. No, not Pain & Gain -- Borscht Film Festival's Adventures of Christopher Bosh in the Multiverse. Nance voiced Bosh, AKA Star Prince Akilobataar, in the short.
And soon, they'll also know him for An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, Nance's directorial effort that screens at O Cinema this Thursday through Sunday.
Cultist got Nance on the phone while he visited a cousin in his Brooklyn neighborhood, where he admitted to an influence by legendary French director Chris Marker and talked about Bosh's reaction to his homage.
Cultist: How did you get involved with the people behind the Borscht Film Festival?
Terence Nance: [Director] Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer are friends of mine, and we collaborated on a film I was in, Adventures Of Christopher Bosh In The Multiverse. I was a voice actor on Chris Bosh, so I was in that. I met them in Tacoma, Washington, for [Filmmaker Magazine's] "25 New Faces of Independent Film." We all met there and stayed in touch, and they told me about Borscht.
And what did you think about it?
It's really the most unique film festival I've ever attended. I was floored that they could make something so weird on such a grand scale, so I look forward to being a part of that in the future in whatever capacity, doing anything they come with up. They had a petting zoo (laughs), so they certainly know what they're doing.
What do you think about Bosh putting the kabosh on Adventures Of Christopher Bosh In The Multiverse?
It was part of the story. All the myriad ways that that could have gone were interesting. That's just one direction that speaks to art, celebrity and humor, just a whole bunch of shit that speaks to who Chris Bosh is on an existential, meta-textural level in the multiverse.
In Oversimplification, you use an array of filmmaking styles. Beyond animation and live action, there are home movies and second person voice over. Even within the animation there is stop-motion versus hand drawn work. What gave you the idea to make a film like this?
Um, I don't really know. I think it was just the most natural way of making something, to me. I wrote it very quickly, in one night, so I wasn't processing any stylistic influences on it or specifically that aspect of it, a mix of ways of making images. It was just about, at the time, trying to be really honest about my relationship.
So it's kind of like a stream of consciousness.
I mean, you call it An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, but it's really very complex and unattainable, right? You're only scratching the surface.
Yeah, I mean, I think the title is also a little bit of a joke about that. One cannot make a movie and explain who somebody is an hour-and-a-half, in that way. It's not real life, first of all (laughs). It is just a movie on some level, but by it being a movie you have to reduce it.
There's also a sense of repetition. In a way it reminded me of La Jetée and Last Year At Marienbad.
Yes, Chris Marker's a big influence, in general, the idea of the essay film. He was my big influence, in general, and actually, I've seen those films before, many years before I started this one. So, I think in just knowing something like this was possible-- that was essayist-- was definitely influential.
This movie also seems to be a confessional film, as you place yourself in the movie, and, well, the character's name is Terence.
It's confessional in this way that's hopefully not. At the end of the day, there's this sort of meta-confession of documenting the idea of disclosing your love for someone to a specific person and the fallout of that. But to me it's not really a significant confession or disclosure about my general idea of a life. I guess it's focused on a certain period of time of a certain few people.
Love can be exhilarating as many movies emphasize, but you also include all the insecurities that come with it. It's quite candid.
Yeah, that's true. I think maybe because I process those things like very ubiquitous, maybe. It feels kind of like maybe it's not that big a deal. It's like saying, you know, I have brown eyes, like everybody who has brown eyes has brown eyes (laughs).
The theme of love is universal, but the film is also being sold or written about as a black-experience film. What does it say about the black experience?
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I'm a black person. I live among black people and black culture, and the movie's a product of that space, of that universe, and I think that it exists within that. I think [within] the expanse of black culture, there's ample room for any and every experience, so I think it's also a little unremarkable because of the specificity of that. The specificity of the film is outside of the idea that there is a one thing that is more important or that is archetypical to blackness.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty premieres in Miami on Thursday, June 6, at O Cinema Wynwood (visit o-cinema.com). Director Terence Nance will Skype in following the premiere screening for a Q&A with the audience.
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos.