Have Pillow, will travel

A still from the movie "Pillow" by filmmakers and brothers Miles and Josh Miller.
A still from the movie "Pillow" by filmmakers and brothers Miles and Josh Miller.
Jan 25
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Bryant brothers create a film that will debut at Oxford Film Festival in February.

Miles and Josh Miller are brothers and filmmakers. Both born in Little Rock, they were raised in Bryant. Both graduated from Bryant High in 1996, and both have a longstanding interest in film.

e,” said Josh Miller. “Tim Jackson and I started Category One in 2004. Since then I have produced several projects which have shown in festivals in the U.S., as well as internationally. In 2007 I co-wrote and produced Miles From Home, which premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival.”

“I’m a photographer, having shown my work in galleries and juried exhibits around the country,” said Miles Miller. “I had a piece in the Delta Exhibit in 2009.

“Over the past couple of years I’ve produced a few short films including Antiquities for Daniel Campbell which won ‘Best of Arkansas’ last year at The Little Rock Film Festival.”

The brothers’ directorial debut, Pillow, premieres in February at the Oxford Film Festival in Oxford, Miss.

Tell me a little about Pillow. What’s the general story and where did it come from?

MM: Pillow is a Southern Gothic tale of two brothers who go to extreme measures to please their overbearing mother. It’s a period piece set in the Southern Plains of the 1930s.

JM: We really wanted to focus on the visual elements, rather than dialogue, with his film. It’s what Hitchcock called “Pure Cinema.”

MM: Pillow began about four years ago. The idea came to me while fishing.

JM: He kept it to himself and finally told me a few years later. When he pitched it, I knew we had to shoot it. I thought it was such a strong idea for a Southern Gothic piece.

MM: We wrote the script in the spring of last year, and shot in August. It was the hottest week of the year, but seemed like the hottest week in history. It was 105 degrees in the middle of a cornfield with no shade. It was actually pretty dangerous!

What are you feeling leading up to the festival? Are you nervous to share your work? Excited?

MM: I am excited and nervous, sure, but I anticipate a great time and look forward to meeting the interesting people that festivals attract.

JM: We’re very happy to be premiering at a Southern festival. It feels like a perfect fit for our film.

How did you become interested in making films and how did you get started?

MM: We have been interested in film since an early age. Our grandmother was, and is, a huge movie buff. She would take us to the theater on a regular basis. By “regular basis” we mean several times a week. She didn’t have a VCR so sometimes we would walk to the video store by her house and read the back of the VHS boxes. We were really just interested in stories. We would literally stay for hours and describe movies to each other. I’m not sure how healthy it was, but it was definitely a great exercise in storytelling.

Photo by Jonny Meyer
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Please talk a little about making films in Arkansas. What are the challenges? What are the benefits?

MM: Making films in Arkansas has been very special. It’s our home. The community has been nothing short of amazing. Everyone is so eager to pitch in.

JM: The community has been very supportive. People just want to get in on the action. They’re curious and this is still “shiny” to them, it’s something they don’t see every day.

Tell me about making films with your brother. Does it make it easier or harder to work with someone you’re so close to? Who gets the last say when there’s disagreement?

MM: There’s no doubt it’s a positive to work with my brother, for many reasons. What makes us such a good team is that we are so different, but so alike at the same time. It’s somewhat of a paradox, but something very unique and special. There is a certain honesty that comes with it as well. We don’t have any problems telling each other exactly how we feel.

You mentioned the two of you are planning to make a feature. What can you tell me about it?

MM: We have a feature written which we plan to shoot next fall. It’s a contemporary piece set around central Arkansas. We have some very specific ideas for the film, but it’s a little early to put all that out there. We can say that it was written with certain locations in mind, and at times written around specific locations.

Photo by Jonny Meyer
Click to Enlarge

JM: Right now we just hope for a good festival run with Pillow. We’ll start getting serious about the feature later in the spring.

What’s the hardest part about putting together a film? Shooting locations? Screen talent? Technical crew? Post production? What part do you dread the most and why?

MM: Every part of this is great! Yes, very stressful at times, but I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing. I heard Ray McKinnon say one time “we could all be sitting around a desk, wearing a 3-piece suit … but we’re making a movie!” I think that says it all.

For folks who can’t make it to the Oxford Film Festival, when might they get an opportunity to see Pillow and how?

MM: For those that cannot attend the Oxford, we are submitting the film to many other festivals and many are in the South. You can also follow us on Facebook on the Pillowfilm fanpage.

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