Independent Lens presents the story of a young boy's lie that quickly escalates.

Q&A Mini Header

rsz_lies_#2_q&a.jpg | "Lies #2" filmmaker Jonas Odell talks the "Mods Trilogy," the benefits of shifting perspective and the complexity of making a film about lies.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an independent filmmaker?

With the last few films I’ve found being able to find stories that are out there and packaging them to reach a larger audience has been the most rewarding aspect. There are so many stories, and so many people who deserve to be heard telling their stories, and being the medium through which these stories can be heard is a reward in itself.

Which filmmakers inspired you to get behind the lens?

I was obsessed with film already as a child, so it would probably be films I saw then.  So children’s films and old Hollywood classics . I guess anything that was in the cinemas or on television when I was a child.

Could you list three films that all independent film supporters should take the time to see?

An impossible question to answer, but if I was to recommend something in the documentary field I’d say the “Mods Trilogy” by Swedish filmmaker Stefan Jarl. It follows a few people through three decades, and has a lot to say about society and the relation between generations. It also affected the public debate in a way that most documentary filmmakers can hope for.

What do you hope the audience comes away with after seeing your film?

Like all film or other works of art, I think it hopefully puts them in someone else’s shoes for a moment. In a world where notions of “us” vs. “them” become increasingly prominent everywhere, I think that seeing the world through someone else’s eyes is always a good thing.

Why did you choose to examine such a behavior as complex as lying?

We had made one film before this that was also based on documentary interviews. When you make a film that makes a point of being based on “true stories” you naturally get a bit paranoid about the fact that the people telling the stories might actually be lying. This led me to think about lies as an interesting subject for a film. It is something we all do at times and there are many stories about people lying that would be interesting to tell. The beauty of it is that if the people in the film would actually be lying about their experience it would only add to the concept of the film.

Which of the three accounts you filmed did you find the most compelling?

I found them all compelling, but I guess the third story of the film is the one that moved me the most. The woman telling us her story started out by having to lie about her gipsy background and wound up leading a life that was a chain of lies.

How has making “Lies #2” shifted your perspective on lying?

The second episode is interesting because he actually gains something by lying and actually ends up quite happy about it all. I think it adds to the experience of the film that we don’t treat the subject in a moralizing way but let the audience make up their own mind about how they feel about the people in the film and their actions.

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Final NEA Logo.jpg | PBS Indies is partially funded by The National Endowment for the Arts.