Cary Fukunaga

True Detective Director, Cary Fukunaga started picking up awards whilst at film school, in his third year this included Sundance recognising him for Sin Nombre. Here he talks about the experiences of being ahead at that stage...

“Well, people are generally supportive, there’s always... I’m sure I would’ve been jealous too, if someone else got in.”

Sally: When I was doing Graphic Design it was like Army Camp.

“In what way?”

Sarah: So much precision expected of you, right?

Sally: Metaphorically, if you weren’t fit enough...

“There is a mixture of that, in film school, when we first started out, there was this Russian teacher who was pretty hardcore. He would make people cry. He kind of got pushed out and now I think it’s pretty much, hold hands and feel good. I kind of think it’s necessary to have a little tough love. It makes people harder, because the industry’s not that friendly either. The best people in the industry are really direct and maybe not that friendly. The worst ones are really nice, or covered in icing and really not that nice underneath. It’s good to have a thick skin, I think. The professors are oftentimes, or were either professionals and now are teaching or never quite made it professionally.

So, there’s also a weird dynamic there, once you start moving forward getting an agent or manager, it’s difficult. These are the steps you need; get into a film festival, get represented, write a script, have people look at it. “Just the step of having a manager seems like an overwhelming barrier to cross when you’re a film student. As these things started happening to me, I could feel, teachers – who were my writing teachers – agents weren’t calling them back, were like [cautiously] ‘How’s it going?’ [laughing] You know, it’s like [nervously] ‘Pretty good!”

Interview and Photography by Sarah J. Edwards

Read the full feature in the print edition, available here.