Andrew Huggins has screened work at over sixty film festivals, been nominated for over thirty awards, and won over twenty. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in filmmaking in 2013. He regularly works with Hendrick Motorsports and Ray Evernham Enterprises, freelancing full time to support his narrative film work. Andrew’s primary focus is writing and directing, and he loves to collaborate with other filmmakers on narrative projects.
What was your first film?
I made various one to three minute shorts as assignments in film school before I had my first real test of storytelling. My first film was called, “Where the Wolves Lie.” It was a post Civil War period piece about deception and fatherhood that I’m still really proud of. If I were to watch it now, of course I’d do so many things differently because I’ve learned a lot over the past four years. However, telling a comprehensive narrative loaded with subtext with my filmmaking friends surrounding me was such an awsome “first film” experience.
Who do you look up to as a film maker?
The two names that come to mind immediately are Kelly Reichardt and Jeff Nichols. Those two filmmakers make my favorite kind of films, and I aspire to be a small percentage of who they are as filmmakers. I’ve also really liked David Fincher throughout the years. He’s allowed to do whatever he wants, and what he wants just happens to be some of the best filmmaking I’ve ever seen. I also really look up to NC filmmaker Will Davis. He taught me screenwriting and so many other things, and I think he makes the most interesting work locally.
How did you get started in film making?
My start in filmmaking was at The Art Institute of Charlotte in 2010, studying the process from the ground up. What led me to film school was the burning desire to know how stories were made. I stopped watching things simply for enjoyment and entertainment purposes when I was sixteen. I wanted to know the process. I was studying English in 2010, and I got into a couple of altercations with one of my super pretentious instructors. I left class one day, opened up my computer, and searched for films schools.
Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
I’ve been blessed so far to have a measure of success with my shorts, and I hope that continues. I’m in no particular rush to make something feature length, because I don’t feel like the duration of art necessarily makes it better or more valid. I love telling stories between eight and twenty minutes. I’m currently in pre-production on a really gritty horror film, and another, somewhat experimental, narrative project. Both are short films, and I look forward to trying to get better with each project. There’s talk amongst one of my filmmaking groups of a feature in the near future, and the concept is really great. I’ll be very tempted to make the jump to telling a longer story if we can gather the means to produce that project. I also write a lot, so I kind of always have something next up to film. Over the past six months, three films have been brought to me to direct that other people have written, and it’s been a really great exercise in visualizing other’s stories. Hopefully in five to ten years I’ll still be constructing and facilitating narrative projects of all shapes and sizes while continuing to screen work all over the world.
What other types of movies would you be interested in filming?
So far I’ve done a couple of comedies but mostly dramatic narratives. I’m also about to make my third horror film. I don’t consciously decide what I do based on genre or anything, so I’m open to pretty much any kind of story. I basically lived in the Civil War era for three years as I made three shorts within that period. They’re all very dramatic, so a part of me just wants to make something light and hilarious. I also film documentary style shorts for motorsports companies like Hendrick Motorsports and Ray Evernham Enterprises. I truly love the process of creating stories visually and presenting them to an audience, so I’m always very open when someone comes to me with an idea.
What’s your message to the youth of today’s generation?
This is a tough one. At almost twenty-seven, I’m already quite out of touch with the youth of today. I feel like if I were to tell a fifteen year old that I grew up without the internet until I was his age, it would blow his mind. I’m pretty in touch with social media and what goes on online, but because those things have progressed so rapidly, I feel like there’s more of a gap between my generation and the one that’s coming after me than there has been in previous generations. In regards to filmmaking, I would encourage those younger than me to use the technology and never let it use you. If you really want to tell stories, shoot it on what you have, getting better and better with each attempt. My first two micro shorts are really terrible films. But I think you really need to have that happen to get better. I’ll also reference my artist statement here. Filmmaking parallels life. Plain and simple. Most of the time, your characters that you write are direct reflections of how you feel about the world you’re living in. Let your life experiences shape your stories, making them stand apart and separating them from the thousands of other films being completed every day. You don’t need to blow people’s minds with your first couple of films, either. Be patient and take in all that you can from your time on set.