From producer/director/editor, Keith Maitland:
People are always curious about the animation in THE EYES OF ME. It’s one of the most exciting elements of the film. I knew that rotoscopic animation would allow me to connect with a dreamlike state that many of the subjects described while differentiating those ideas from the vérité footage and interview segments that we were shooting. Because all four subjects had sight and then lost it, they were very adept at describing, in visual terms, the changes in their perception. The ideas for the animations were born out of organic conversations with the subjects over time. Through these talks, the four kids got to serve as consultants to the animation process. I think they really accomplish the goal of showing these teenagers’ inner visions of the outer world.
His three favorite films?
The Last Picture Show, The Long Goodbye, All the President’s Men
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Telling stories for a living is a lot of fun but you’ve got to commit wholly and you’ve got to follow through. Admit your mistakes and learn from them; learn from other people’s mistakes, too. Work with other people, work for free to get started — invite other people to work with you.
What do you think is the most inspirational food for making independent film?
I do some inspired cooking at my backyard grill during pre-production: chicken and sausages and steaks. My mind is free for good thinking at the grill. I do some inspired shooting when my subjects are cooking and eating a home-cooked meal all together. That’s the best.
After college at the University of Texas, Keith Maitland was chosen to participate in the Director's Guild of America (DGA) Trainee Program in New York City. Upon completion of the two-year program, Maitland became one of the youngest members of the DGA, working alongside directors including Woody Allen, Janusz Kaminski, and Joel Schumacher, as well as on NBC's Law & Order. In 2001, he created IllegalFilms, taking the lessons he learned in the narrative world and applying them to his own independent documentaries. Maitland’s first short film, The Grown-Up, won an audience award at the 2003 Santa Monica Film Festival. THE EYES OF ME is his first feature-length film.
An alumnus of Oglethorpe University, Patrick Floyd spent three years as a high school teacher working with at-risk youth in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Before becoming a teacher, he worked as a sound mixer and as an assistant director on independent films in New York. Floyd’s experiences inside and outside the classroom drew him back to filmmaking with a focus on sharing teens’ stories with the complexity that they deserve.