One-on-one with filmmaker Graham Marvin on his poignant short 'All Through The Night', and more.
Filmmaker Graham Marvin grew up in Lexington, a small suburb of Boston, and majored in Film/TV at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He graduated with honors and a psychological horror thesis short, "Guard," which screened at local festivals. After college, Graham worked his way up the production assistant ladder, and eventually contributed as a second unit director on Netflix’s “Seven Seconds", USA’s “Falling Water”, and ABC’s “The Family.” He also produced all the Season 1 Waystar news segments for HBO’s “Succession." In his time away from large shows, Graham has served on the board of a nonprofit summer camp. Overseeing 100+ cast/crew/contributors from all over the world, he helped create, direct, and produce a virtual campfire series in the summer of 2020 (replacing the in-person camp season because of Covid). Graham is now excited to be jumping into the next chapter of his creative career, and focusing on writing & directing the stories that matter most to him. When he's not writing & directing, he is freelance film/tv location scouting for a variety of shows and movies.
iFilmFestival: Tell us a bit about your most important film so far.
GM: “That would be my short film All through The Night. That euphoric rush when a movie affects you to the core....I don't think there could be a better medium to uplift, scare, share, enlighten and unite. It's magic. And with that magic comes an opportunity to explore under-seen topics like Alzheimer's disease. By 2050, it's estimated that 12.7 million people age 65+ will have Alzheimer's disease, up from 6.2 million in 2021. These sobering numbers come from the Alzheimer's Association, which we were honored to work with on this project. What drew me to THIS story in particular? That mystical connection between memory and music. It has been a challenging but rewarding meta-creative dream to work with my father, who arranged the choral pieces for the film. I grew up watching him compose and conduct. Though I never would have admitted it years ago, I have always wanted to make a movie about him and his art. As it relates to memory, the father/son relationship IS music to me -- the melody may transcend time and remain constant, but the meaning and effect is ever-changing.”
iFilmFestival: What were the key challenges making it?
GM: “It was a significant creative challenge to -- all within a short format piece -- establish two sets of characters for each timeline AND not only trust the audience to care enough about them but accept and believe the time jump. I think especially through the deft casting (shoutout to Conrad Woolfe and my cast!) and lyrical editing (shoutout to Ronnie Rios), we were able to accomplish this. In terms of the physical production side of it, we had an assortment of both unexpected and expected challenges including: wrangling a choir, managing all the SAG covid protocols (testing EVERYBODY, EVERY DAY), two key department heads falling ill days before shooting, a brutal heat wave, and a hurricane that forced us to shut down! Shoutout to my producers, Lenny Matias and Kenny Silber for helping with all of the above!”
iFilmFestival: What’s one aspect that you’re particularly proud of?
GM: “Actor Tim Daly had to learn how to believably conduct and depict having two separate stages of Alzheimer's. He is as talented as he is brave and I'm forever indebted to him here. I am proud of myself for getting him onboard this project and working with him on set and in prep with our Alzheimer's and conducting consultants, and I'm proud of him for delivering a show-stopping, fully felt performance. When I first met Tim and we talked about the challenges of his role, he told me something along the lines of how our most important task to find & bring truth to this character, and I think we have done that.”
Trailer: All Through The Night (2023)
iFilmFestival: How did you get involved in filmmaking?
GM: “I have been in love with both movies and storytelling ever since I was a grade school kid, and am lucky enough to have parents, Polly & Jim Marvin, who encouraged me to pursue my dreams. What started as middle school class projects became film school theses and eventually this!”
iFilmFestival: What new projects are you working on or are you hoping to work on in the future?
GM: “I am currently writing two different shorts. One is a coming-of-age summer camp horror drama and the other suspense movie about my day job -- film/tv location scouting. I'm hoping to shoot one or both of them in the next year, and then get going on a feature that I've been developing for a while!”
iFilmFestival: What is your advice to filmmakers tackling the festival circuit?
GM: “1) Keep your shorts short! 2) Submit early to save money on entry fees. 3) Treat it with the respect and time it deserves. Like prep, production, and post, it is another step in the filmmaking process. Most filmmakers, myself included, aren't in the mood to fully lean into festival submissions because we're exhausted by finishing the film, trained to be humble, and presume our work is good enough to speak for itself. While all of those things may be true, it is still in your best interest to be strategic about which festivals you submit to and how you present yourself and your movie. It's akin to a job interview...you can't step in there and assume your prospective employer will be amazed by you, you have to sell yourself and your movie. In an increasingly competitive filmmaking world, I believe that extra push can make a difference, whether it be conscious or subconscious.”
iFilmFestival: Which filmmaker do you admire and why?
GM: “There are so many! Having just come out of the newest Mission Impossible, I have to say it: Tom Cruise. Setting aside some of his personal beliefs and quirks, he really has been a recent primary figure in saving movies! He had all the chances in the world to give into pressure and release Maverick via streaming, but he waited it out and brought us all back to theaters and gave a divided America a movie almost all of us could get behind. His passion for cinematic experiences, dedication to death-defying stunt work, keen awareness of story, and consistent acting chops make him an producing/acting force to be reckoned with.”
iFilmFestival: What film have you recently seen that you have admired in one way or another?
GM: “Past Lives. I am usually not one for romance movies, but this one worked a number on me. I was blown away by Celine Song's craft, and all in an effort to serve the story. It was a disarming experience watching.”
iFilmFestival: Thank you Graham for answering our questions!
Interview by iFilmFestival on 23/07/2023.