Next time you see a skinny male with a moustache, a North Face jacket when it just really isn’t cold enough to warrant one and thick rimmed, lensless glasses — worn with a sense of irony of course — resist the urge to pigeonhole. Indie, alty, trendoid — we’re all human. Have a heart, throw them a bone and whatever you do, don’t call them hipsters. According to Destin Daniel Cretton, director of the debut feature film I Am Not A Hipster, underneath that artfully positioned maroon beanie lies “A multi-layered human not so different to yourself’; just with a richer understanding of the local folk music scene and better 90s pop-culture references. Who knew?
Although the film’s title elicits a barrage of questions and contentious debate around it’s scandalous starring term, Cretton insists I Am Not A Hipster runs deeper than a silly parody of a “weird and confusing” label. What differentiates the film (apart from fixies) is it’s authenticity — made by the indie musicians and artists it depicts, the journey of depressed musician Brook Hyde is achingly real. After premiering in January at the Sundance Film Festival and appearing in festivals across America (including Cleveland, Nashville, Newport Beach, Philadelphia, and Seattle), Cretton and his team have decided to release the film in the same fashion they made it; entirely on their own. In order to allow this they have created a Kickstarter campaign where financial pledges can be made in return for exclusive blog content, downloads and even a home screening (you’d better have milk crates for chairs). We spoke to Destin Daniel Cretton about going his own way with the film below…
Portable: The term “hipster” has obviously been bandied about a bit in popular culture of late — sometimes as a term of endearment and often with a sense of derision. What is a hipster to you? Would you identify as one? Are you being ironic right now?
Destin Daniel Cretton: With a title like ours, we obviously get questions like this a lot. Surprisingly, there’s nothing really ironic about it. It was just something our main character said in a scene that ended up getting cut from the film. Try not to judge it from its title. It’s not quite what you’d expect.
P: We were really blown away by the responses of the audience members who were interviewed after the Nashville screening — partially because we didn’t think people would be so eloquent in that neck of the woods (just joking!), and partially because of the emotional resonance these people seemed to feel with I Am Not A Hipster. What do you make of it?
Destin Daniel Cretton: It’s always really humbling when people talk to us after a screening to say how much the film touched them on a personal level. It’s a really fun movie, but it also deals with some real issues that I think most people can relate to. Though it’s a story that takes place in San Diego’s indie scene, you don’t have to know anything about it to enjoy the movie. It’s a film for our generation, but also happens to make my mom tear up.
P: What do you ideally want audiences to take away from the film?
Destin Daniel Cretton: It’s a film that gives something a little different to everyone. Some people laugh along with Clarke’s absurd and endearing positivity. Other people feel Brook’s pain as he learns to deal with the loss of a loved one. When I watch the movie, I see the fingerprints of all the amazing people who worked their butts off to create this thing. I just hope audiences enjoy watching it as much as we loved making it.
P: Obvious question but why a Kickstarter campaign rather than commercial release?
Destin Daniel Cretton: We made this little movie completely on our own, thanks to the incredible community that came together to support it. We think it’s only natural to use that same DIY/grassroots idea to push the film out into the world. So, we’re simply asking people to check out the Kickstarter page, and support us if you think it’s something you find interesting. It’s the only place to pre-order the DVD and get a bunch of other pretty cool stuff, but even donating a dollar is a HUGE help.
P: Parting words?
Destin Daniel Cretton: I just want to say thank you to any of you who have watched our trailer, sent us messages, or supported us this far. We’re doing our best to take the final steps to complete this project and can’t wait for you to see the film!