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‘Those People’ Director Joey Kuhn on Making His Low-Budget Film Look Expensive

Joey Kuhn’s Those People is about a young artist figuring out his sexuality and how to express his feelings for his best friend. The lush New York-set film served as Kuhn’s thesis film for his NYU grad film program as well as his debut feature.

“I always want to be able to create all-encompassing worlds that you can dive into and live in and I actually was a cinematographer all through film school. I learned how to shoot movies on 16 millimeter film when I was 15, and I learned how to edit on a Steenbeck, like literally cutting and taping film together, so I’ve always fetishized film and we wanted to shoot Those People on film, but we didn’t have the budget for it, so we shot on the ARRI ALEXA, which is a fantastic camera,” he explains to Moveable Fest. “Our major visual inspirations was Cabaret, which is my favorite movie of all time. We watched that together in pre-production and we were both just loving the zooms that they did in camera, which is very typical of those ’70s films, so we were like, ‘Let’s be bold and let’s do zooms.’ We also looked at a bunch of Woody Allen, who’s probably my favorite director, especially Manhattan, Interiors and Hannah and Her Sisters, just looking at the way that the camera moves through scenes. They used interesting master [shots] that develop instead of doing traditional Hollywood coverage, and it’s really one of the big reasons [Those People] looks more expensive than it is, because good lighting will do that.”