Interview: Director SJ Finlay on Boy From Nowhere

Shot on a micro-budget with essentially a one-man crew on the island of Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, the Canadian-Filipino co-production Boy From Nowhere is the closest we will ever get to a smaller-scale brainchild of Steven Soderbergh’s Che and Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation. Like Fukunaga’s acclaimed film, writer and director (and cinematographer) SJ Finlay’s Boy From Nowhere converges around one boy turned child soldier caught in the crossfire of rebels and gangs. Working around it’s small budget, Finlay resorts to quick and dirty handheld digital capture while never losing the face of Gary (Gary Jumawan), the “boy from nowhere.” 

The film is now available for $2.99 (rent) or $9.99 (purchase) on Amazon Prime. If $2.99 is too much, you can even rent it for $1.99 in standard definition, though I recommend going with one of the two HD options.

Read Joshua’s review on The Transcendent Cinema. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

BOSTON HASSLE: You’re a documentarian, but this is your first fiction feature film. How did that happen?

SJ FINLAY: It was a Hail Mary.  Trying to do a feature is such a ridiculous idea—I don’t recommend it.  What happened was I had a few friends that went to Norway and the four of them made a feature film in 2013, got into a bunch of festivals, and made a name for themselves. They pulled their money and talent to make a really good film. I was super inspired by them and thought, “if they can do it, why can’t I?” I tried to (figure out) where my Norway was, where I had good connections and a story, and it ended up being the Philippines.  

And I’m still in touch with Gary and NackNack and all of those guys. Oh yeah, everyone just uses their own names. 

Continue reading at the Boston Hassle.

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