Beyond Audience: Alverson and Silver

Beyond Audience: Alverson and Silver
Iconoclasts Rick Alverson and Nathan Silver in conversation at the Chicago International
By Kevin B. Lee

Enjoying extensive play in the festival circuit, Rick Alverson's Entertainment and Nathan Silver's Stinking Heaven rank among the most outstanding American independent features of the year. I've made video essays on both filmmakers this year (on Alverson's use of instability and emptiness) and Silver's skill at handling a dinner table scene), and finally had the opportunity to catch both of them in person at the Chicago International Film Festival. I convened them for a conversation while not knowing how familiar they were with each other or their works. As it turned out, they share an iconoclastic attitude when it comes to their films and their relationship with audiences, though their respective films bear distinctly different stylistic and tonal characteristics. Watch them share their boldly critical views concerning storytelling, character, collaboration and audience. Their words show a shared urge to make films that go well beyond mere entertainment.

Special thanks to Alejandro Riera of the Chicago International Film Festival for arranging the interview.

Kevin B. Lee is Chief Video Essayist at Fandor. He has made over 250 video essays exploring film and media. Follow him on Twitter at @alsolikelife.