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The Dragons of Jim Green
Randy M. Salo
2012, 77m, comedy, documentary, sci-fi
Jim Green has turned his house into a crumbling museum exhibiting what he claims are remnants of a hyper-advanced civilization of reptilian humanoids.
As a young boy, Jim’s grandson Randy was entranced when he first heard these epic tales, and later he promised his grandfather that he would discover the truth. Returning to South Carolina, Randy meets with scientists, family members and Jim’s old colleagues. What he finds includes war trauma from remote tropical islands, supernatural phenomena, science fiction writing, and his own surprising role in his grandfather’s stories.
10 questions with The Dragons of Jim Green director, Randy M. Salo at the half-way mark.
Friday, May 6th, 2016
1Hi Randy! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Spring Festival. First, when did you know you wanted to make a doc about your grandpa (Jim Green) and how difficult was that decision? First of all, thanks so much for inviting us to participate in the Fandependent Film Festival! It is a great privilege for me to be able to share my granddad's story.
I went to film school in 2000 with the intention of one day returning home to make a film about my granddad. When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to go into archeology to help him but then realized that the people in archeology were not listening to him. So I thought about making a film so that I could share his story with a wider general audience. In 2006, I went home to visit him around the Xmas holidays and it hit me that he was getting older and that I needed to tell his story soon. When I returned home from that trip, I told my co-producer, Ted Weinbaum, about him and we agreed to make the film together.
2How old were you when your grandpa started telling you about the reptilian civilization and did you ever believe him? I can first recall him telling me when i was around six or seven years old. I never stopped believing in him. For him, the reptilian civilization is real. That is all that matters to me, on a personal level.
3What does your grandpa think of the film? I think he liked it. He hopes that it is helpful in creating a career for me. That's his way. He more thinks of it as a tool for me, where as, I wanted to make the film for him.
4One of the scientists labeled Jim Green as an "outsider artist", which is someone who creates art, not for art's sake, but in order to help articulate their understanding or theories of the world. Do you think your grandpa falls under that category? I'm no psychologist, but John Suriano made a strong point and connected some dots in my granddad's life that created a revelation for me while making the film. More importantly, I do believe that my granddad has created a vast amount of artwork and one of my current goals is to find someone working in the field of outsider art to help me preserve this work, and his legacy.
5There's a moment in the film that made a big impact on me. Jim Green isn't interested in getting published, he's not doing it for fame, one theory is that he's doing it just for himself. He needs to do it because it's his way of making sense of the world. Don't you think that's a symptom of most artists? Absolutely. Success is the thing. It's the product the artist makes, not the recognition. Of course, everyone loves to feel that they have accomplished something and recognition helps most of us keep going. My grandfather manages to keep going without recognition. He's driven by his own desire to explore and create. My grandfather has also claimed that his "interpretation" of the lives of these reptilian creatures is merely realized through his own interpretations. And those interpretations are naturally informed by his own experiences.
6What scene are you most proud of? The scene that touches me the most is when my granddad tells me he loves me. That scene nearly didn't get captured but as we were leaving one day, our DoP Michael Grantland had a sense that there was going to be a moment and ran back to the house. When he arrived this scene was happening. I'm forever grateful that he captured that moment.
7What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? My grandfathers stories made me want to become a filmmaker. But I will always credit The Thin Red Line as a film that changed the way I thought of myself as a filmmaker. I made a stylistic homage to that film in a web series that I created on FreqsTV called, Ghosts of the Road. You can see it here: http://bit.ly/230WmX1
8Can you share a war story from the shoot? I nearly lost an eye in the woods behind my granddads house, Ted wacked the ceiling fan in my granddads living room with the boom pole which sent 35 million years worth of dust and particles, including the blade, flying across the room. Ted broke the picnic table at my granddads house. My uncle Alan wrecked his truck while driving us down to see Little Beaver Creek. Business as usual. There is a blooper reel floating around somewhere on the internet with most of these events. Here it is on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1OleeYv
9Which is your favorite theory/story/find that your grandpa told you about? The reptilian brothel is a classic! The "find" that has still not been fully explained are the large concrete slabs at Little Beaver Creek. That remains a mystery to this day. And of course there is Antarctica...
10What's next? Besides my grandfathers ongoing project, I am launching a subscription-based digital streaming platform for rock and metal documentaries, shows and series. You can check out the free version already here: https://www.youtube.com/c/freqstv
Thanks again for hosting our film at your festival!
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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