INTERVIEW with Chusy: Director Awarded By a Quentin Tarantino-led Jury

Chusy Haney-Jardine is a movie director born and raised in Venezuela. Chusy has lived and worked in Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. He is a former executive creative director of a blue-chip international advertising agency, Chusy attended the Director’s Program at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, California and received an MFA in directing. There he made, Monkey Park, a short film starring Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer and Ray Wise. His first film, Anywhere, USA, won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, awarded by a Quentin Tarantino-led jury. In 2011, Chusy was asked to present a work in progress of his documentary film, Gigante, as part of a TED talk he gave in San Francisco. Chusy was featured in an episode of Made, the uplifting MTV show where he helped a teen with learning disabilities make a film. He is the father of two beautiful children, speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French with working knowledge of Italian and German, and is an inveterate flosser.

Today he will talk with us about his latest documentary It All Begins with a Song and answer us on various questions. Enjoy!

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Can you present ‘It All Begins with a Song‘ to our readers? Why they should watch it?

The film begins with the songwriter, Brett James (Jesus Take the Wheel) fetching his guitar out of his Jeep and recounting his success:

“I’ve been fortunate.  I’ve had over 500 of my songs recorded, 42 top-20 singles, and 25 of those songs ended up being number one, yet nobody knows who the f*ck I am.”

In short, the film aims to let people know…who the bleep Nashville songwriters are!

More seriously, the film is a panoramic view of the Nashville songwriting scene — past, present and future.  Featuring over 80 interviews with the greatest songwriters in Nashville who author the songs most people associate with some of the greatest performers in pop, country, and rock.  The film includes raw performances, on-the-spot writing sessions and an intimate look into the creative process.  We think the film captures the Gestalt of the songwriting community in Nashville.  Further, we think we’ve made a film that could inspire anyone who is involved in the creative process, be it an artist, architect, and even an accountant.  If you watch it closely it becomes a heuristic of sorts for inspiration.

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We know that theaters around the world are closed. Where our readers can watch ‘It All Begins with a Song’?

As far as I know you can find it right now on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & tv, Vudu, and YouTube 

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Who came to the idea to make this documentary?

The film was conceived by two brilliant men:  Butch Spyridon (who is the CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation (NCVC) and John Godsey (North America Chief Creative Officer of VMLY&R).  The film is an 80-minute ad, for all intents and purposes, for the city of Nashville.   Rather than create ads that are effectively chewing gum for the eyes and ears (you chew them, they’re delicious at first, but the taste vanishes quickly, within minutes, and you spit it out), these gentlemen decided to make feature-length films highlighting what makes Nashville fundamentally unique and that go waaaay deeper than any ad campaign could.

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What we can expect next from TriCoast and Chusy?

I’m in early preproduction for a police procedural to be shot in Eastern Tennessee.  The film will be shot later this year, God willing.  I am not at liberty to reveal who has committed to act in it, but I can tell you both my kids will have roles in the film.  My son, Lux Haney-Jardine had his first role in ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER and was astonishing in the HBO film, MARY & MARTHA in which he played Hilary Swank’s son.  Perla’s filmography includes KILL BILL VOLUME 2, STEVE JOBS to name a few.  

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Can you tell us what is your favorite movie and who is your favorite director?

This is a terrible question— go ahead and publicly admit who your favorite child is; which of the two is your favorite parent…With revolver to head, I would say Hal Ashby’s Harold & Maude.  It’s irreverent, socially and politically astute, profoundly moving and I saw at an inappropriate age.

If I could Frankenstein my favorite director it would be a seven-headed monster:  David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, Federico Fellini, Jean Luc Godard, P.T. Anderson, and my friend, Quentin Tarantino.

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What is your personal favorite movie you directed?

The movie I’ve made I am most fond of is my Sundance award-winner, ANYWHERE USA.  Favorite because I made it spontaneously, writing the script the morning we were shooting it, casting sometimes the night before, and freeing ourselves from all the conventions one learns in film school:)

 And favorite because I got to work with one of the greatest actresses in the world:  my daughter, Perla Haney-Jardine

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Do you have one wonderful or humorous memory from your career you can share?

When I was making my first narrative feature, ANYWHERE USA, my daughter played a child who believed in the tooth fairy.  At the time, that was a fact for her…she believed in the tooth fairy, she patently believed.  Because the film was written spontaneously, she learned that the tooth fairy didn’t exist the moment she acted the scene out in the film that revealed that the tooth fairy was a myth.  We captured absolute disconsolate truth as she discovers that the tooth fairy isn’t real.  Heart-wrenching but magical too.

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And for the end we have one really personal question. We did research and we find out that your daughter Perla took part in a few movies like Kill Bill (Vol. 2), Spidermen 3 and Steve Jobs. Can we expect in near future Perla and her dad to work on the same movie?

Whilst my daughter will have a small role in my next film, my hope is for my third narrative feature to star my daughter, Perla, and my son, Lux in a story written expressly for them.  At present Perla is devoting her energies to fine art, as an extraordinary painter.  Lux is graduating from high school. 

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Below you can watch It All Begins with a Song Summary and Trailer. We hope you enjoyed reading this interview!

It All Begins with a Song Summary: We all hum their tunes. We know their words by heart. And we tell the story of our own lives through their art. Yet, few of us know their names. This is a film about one of the most important and unknown, forces in music: The Nashville Songwriter. We will tell their story in a way it has never been told. We will document their struggles. From paying their dues to working through their creative process. We will celebrate their success. From the eureka moment of uncovering that musical gem that turns into a hit to receiving a Grammy and hearing how their words and music change people’s lives. But most of all, we pay tribute to the most valuable resource in the music industry today.

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It was an honor to do an interview with Chusy!

Photo: IMDb

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