This week we 'Sit Down with' the talented director Megan Maczko of Missing Link Films
Megan's work grabbed our attention after watching her series of shorts 'Going Down'. More recently we featured her spot for Guinness. So, we were delighted when she agreed to answer a few of our questions for this feature.
Megan's route to directing has been an unconventional one, but it's clearly worked in her favour. Having been an actor for many years, her understanding of performance shines through in all her films.
This is a director we shall be keeping a close eye on as her reel and work develop. We predict exciting times ahead...
For now though let's hear from Megan herself...
1.What movie inspired you to be a DP/Director?
Oh that’s a tough one. If I were to choose one film it would probably be Ingmar Bergman’s Persona; it took me right by the soul a number of years ago. He was a total master at creating believable, captivating characters and then taking us on a journey into the insane with them. Just amazing.
Honestly, though, I am just constantly inspired by a patchwork of different films by my favourite filmmakers: Jessica Hausner, Ruben Ostlund, Claire Denis, Chloe Zhao, the Dardenne Brothers, Debra Granik, who all make the kind of beautiful, character-driven films I love and aspire to. Force Majeure? Lourdes? Oh man…so good.
2. Is there one genre that you prefer above others?
I love comedy-dramas with some darkness on the side like A Man Called Ove, the Swedish film about a curmudgeonly old man who can’t manage to kill himself because everyone keeps getting in his way or Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann about a woman’s fractious relationship with her beautifully flawed and ridiculous father. Life can really be fabulously absurd; some of the darkest moments I’ve ever experienced have sat right next to wild joy and laughter.
I also love a good thriller. But who doesn’t?
3. What other mediums do you draw inspiration from? (e.g. paintings, photographers, writers, etc)
Paintings, sometimes, music - very often - there is a film that I want to write inspired by a song that Patty Griffin wrote called ‘Top of the World’. It’s about a broken man who’s come to middle age with a lot of regret. When his life takes a tragic twist, he’s given a second chance, but is he really willing to do it different this time?
I also love photographs of every day people; the ones that quite succinctly tell a story that’s just purely true and human. There’s something particularly captivating in the photos of people unused to having a camera put in front of them, who are willing to let themselves really be seen. I’ve recently been taken by Paddy Scott’s work for this reason. It’s incredible.
I draw a lot of inspiration as well from the novelist and short story writer Alice Munro. My god - if I could ever create something as simple and true and daring as the work she makes, I would live out the rest of my days in a hinter house somewhere in the Canadian wilderness. (Seriously, you should check out hinter house on Insta - these places are out-of-this world real life amazingness)
4. Who is your favourite Cinematographer?
This would be an unfair question for me to answer BUT I recently absolutely loved the photography by Alexander Dynan on First Reformed. It was like something out of a Rembrandt painting - exquisite lighting supported by a stunning grade, all inside a beautifully composed 4:3 frame. Hot.
Also Joshua James Richard’s work on The Rider. Pretty much entirely shot using natural light, it incredibly captures the vast and haunting landscape of the American west.
5. Are you interested in making long form?
Oh, yes yes YES. I’ve currently got a feature in development - a character-driven thriller based on a true story that took place in Northern Michigan in the 1970s. I’ve become somewhat obsessed by it - the tentacles of the story reach far and deep and have haunting implications…
6. What piece of advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Make stuff. Do your ideas. Share your work. Take the hits, fall down, and then get back up and do it again. Art is entirely subjective. You will never have all of the people love all of your work all of the time. (But wouldn’t it feel so good if they did?! Oh the validation!) But in truth, having some haters feels good too (once you dry the tears and do all that getting back up stuff) because haters hate when there’s something to react against. When this happens you know you’re doing something interesting.
7. You’ve had quite a journey towards becoming a Director. Can you tell us a little more about how you came to making films and what other roles led you there?
I’d been an actress for a long time before I considered directing. I was working on a film with a wonderfully prolific actor/writer/director who said he couldn’t recommend enough how enriching working in these other mediums is and how beneficial it is also for an actor’s practice. He’s had great success at this and great failure too - which I think makes his advice all the more potent.
So I sat with this for a while. And then I started to write a film. After I wrote the script, I wrote another one, a short film called The In-Between that would serve as the prologue to the longer story. When it came to making this film, I thought I would try directing and see if I liked it. And the rest, as they say…
Ultimately, directing has felt like a natural extension for me that satisfies a desire to be involved in all of the collaborative aspects of telling a story - and perhaps to indulge my bossy side. It’s a wonderful challenge to learn a few words in the language that your collaborators speak, then watch them take a suggestion and make some magic. Honestly, I love everything about this sh*t.