It was nerve wracking for a few tense minutes when Oliver Stone didn’t appear at 8 pm as expected. Our window for getting an interview was closing fast because Oliver was due to appear at a symposium at 9 pm in another building on the American University campus.
The lights were already set up and the cameras and audio recorder were on standby. Paul Michaud and Lucas Stewart, my young professionals were anxiously waiting with me and watching the minutes tick away.
We had filmed a wonderful interview with Oliver’s co-author, Peter Kuznick 45 minutes earlier, but Peter had gone to introduce a one hour clip of their magnum opus, The Untold History of the United States to an audience of over 100 people. I texted Peter that Oliver had not arrived and he replied, “he’ll be there.” A few minutes later, I again texted Peter asking if there might be an alternative if we didn’t get the interview in before the symposium. Peter texted back, “he’s usually late. Patience.”
At just about 8:30, Oliver walked in and I introduced myself. The rest was pure serendipity. Oliver had taken the time to view the rough-cut 38 minute version so he knew what the film was about. The first thing he asked was how I was going to distribute it. He took note that I had a rather limited network.
Paul and Lucas attached the lavalier microphone, and his next request was to see the monitor. I almost cracked up. The famous film director wanted to see what the shot looked like. Since we don’t have an expensive monitor, the boys quickly removed both cameras from the tripods and let him see how he looked. With a nod he said good and pulled out a comb and combed his hair.
He continued to question me about when I thought I’d be finished, did I have all of the archival material I needed, did I have the Korean interviews, etc. I told him the only thing keeping me from completing the film in one month’s time was money to pay Paul and Lucas to do the post-production editing. He was focused like a laser.
“Ok, let’s do it,” he said. “If I don’t get what you want, we’ll do it over.” The next twenty minutes were unbelievable. Oliver went out of his way to mention my name three times and how important this film was.
When we finished the interview, he asked if there was anything he could do to help. I asked if he would like to have my business card and he said “yes.” I thanked him and said I would contact him.
As Oliver was leaving, I asked if he would sign my copy of The Untold History of the United States. This is what he wrote, “To Regis – my best wishes for you and for Korea.”
Peter Kuznick wrote, “To Regis, a fellow crusader for truth and justice.”
From there, we broke down and packed up our equipment and headed for a place where we could wind down and ……………well, celebrate a little!
Short film clips to follow later in the week.