Monday, March 23, 2009
and come see his film saturday.
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“The craziest thing I could think of doing was going to Burning Man, so I went,” says 22 years old Max Coyote Nova, to explain his attendance at a notorious weeklong desert rave over the summer. Sitting with his Where The Wild Things Are T-shirt and tousled brown hair, he continues, “I want to party a lot, and listen to electronic music.” To the untrained eye, Nova may sound like simply a party-boy, but what is better than a filmmaker who is not afraid of insanity and having a good time?
Max’s original attraction to film stems from this same desire for adventure. When he was 11 yrs old, Nova attended theatre camp in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. While shooting a rooftop sniper scene, a confused passerby thought the stickup was the real deal. After an ensuing $60,000 police operation- little Max Nova was hooked. In his mind, movie- making equaled chaos, therefore it must continue.
Years (and many student films) later Nova, who graduated in ’08 from NYU’s prestigious film school, still believes in fun… and integrity. As such, Max is determined to create art that is both entertaining and true to his beliefs. The task, though daunting, isn’t impossible- “it just takes more effort.” He is frustrated with indie movies that have abandoned the idea of entertainment because of some artistic ideology.
Nova has high hopes for his newest short film, The Shaman’s Apprentice. His intention is to make something “cool, scary, badass, exciting… and fun to watch.” Shot in the scenic mountains of Colorado, the movie follows a skeptical shamanism teacher who gets tangled up in a cursed duel between a shaman and a witch. Nova wants to convey his passion for the subject of Shamanism with his audience. He avoided being preachy, fantastical, or dryly informative by focusing on “the interaction between a more spiritual belief system and that which studies that belief system.”
Part of the magic of the film lies in its beauty. The sprawling landscapes, the stunning details, and the vivid colors add a great deal of appeal to The Shaman’s Apprentice. These high-definition aesthetics are only possible with a generous budget, which is rare for someone so young. Luckily, NYU recognizes Nova’s talent and upon graduation he was awarded the $10,000 George Heinemann Production Award to make this film. With a few more generous believers in his vision- including executive producer Kipton Cronkite, and a special effects producer who worked in kind- Max is able to create a masterpiece.
Even more impressively, Max Nova can make a masterpiece without hurting the environment. Growing up in a hippie town and named after a vision in a native American sweatlodge- Nova says he has always been earthy. To him, the careless attitude of film crew- disposing of hundreds of bottles, throwing away entire sets for days on end- is not acceptable. He recounts how on his set, only one bag of trash was created in 12 days, people carpooled, and everything was generally eco-friendly. Max has created pamphlets sharing his green filmmaking philosophy and offers his services as a consultant for green movies.
When not making his own films and coming up with ways to revolutionize filmmaking- Max stays busy. Always the artist, he wants to make a living without having to be contstrained to a desk. He is a part of Dawn Of Man Productions, a company he started with 4 of his good friends. Sometimes he displays his photos, music, and films in various venues or VJ’s the many parties he attends. Nova recently contributed to a highly successful group show (which included Dawn of Man Productions) entitled Mediums, at the now-defunct Print Factory in Chelsea. The Shaman’s Apprentice is set to screen at NYU’s First Run Film Festival on
March 28th at 1:00 P.M. Max is thankful for all the different ways to express himself, because he knows that it’s not hard to make art- what’s hard is “express[ing] yourself in a way that makes someone want to listen.” At the moment, Max Coyote Nova has a captive audience.