By Deborah McCormick

Dreamland is a love story, a period piece, an action film about outlaws. For the film’s director, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte – who takes his name from jazz great Miles Davis – the opportunity came calling after the success of his first film, 2016’s As You Are.

What’s special to you about Dreamland?

“For me, there’s always something really exciting about American outlaws and that time period (1930s). But it felt like Dreamland existed between the lines of those other stories and allowed me to fit in my own interests. I felt so intensely lucky that Margot saw the potential from my first film.”

Margot Robbie in Dreamland

How did the project come together?

“It was my first meeting in LA. I’d made my first film in upstate New York completely under the radar. After the premiere of As You Are, she saw it and she was the one who instigated the conversation and I just couldn’t believe it. Her company LuckyChap Entertainment brought me the script. It was on The Black List and they were looking for a director.”

What kept you up at night on this one?

Dreamland presented a lot of challenges but there were also things I wanted to learn like voice-over and flashback. I also knew that I was going to be in good hands. Having somebody like Margot on set upped everybody’s game 100%.  This is a relatively little movie for I think what we were able to achieve and part of that was because Margot worked as hard as everybody else. She was always supportive and wanting to take the risks and make the harder weirder decisions.

“She was kind to everyone, having people over at her house, and that really set the tone for ‘hey, this is a smaller movie we’re going to buckle down, work our asses off, party and get along’.”

Travis Fimmel in Dreamland

Where was there to party in that one-horse town?

“We were in Albuquerque and when you’re with Australians they find a way.”

Talk about the Bolex 16mm effects?

“I really like playing with different formats and aspect ratios and did so in my first film as well. This was really an attempt to create this place in time. You don’t want it to feel too much like a history lesson so I didn’t want the style to feel old fashion. But I did want there to be this nod to memory and time and the future with projections of the kid and tying that into his love of Mexico and the water that he shared with his father.”

Filming the dust bowl scene must have been interesting.

“For sure, we had three wind machines with the force of airplanes. We bought movie dust from three different states because it had to be biodegradable. We went through a ton of dust. In fact, we’d find dust in our bed and shoes. The big scene  where Travis was trying to get to the barn — we hit him as hard as he would let us with dust cannons. It really only worked because we had people super game to do it.”

How did you end up in this crazy business of filmmaking?

“You know, it’s what I wanted to do my whole life. I started getting into it as soon as I could. I worked on my brother’s student films when I was six and he was in film school. Then, I started making movies and acting in movies and eventually found my way into a position with somebody who was gracious enough to give me the money to make As You Are.”

What is the best piece of filmmaking advice you’ve gotten?

“Somebody once told me if I knew I wanted to work in film, to work in every job I could in film. Film school taught me the craft, but when I got my first movie made it was all about the connections I started making when I was 13 and 14 years old. Getting jobs on set and working and learning is just more fuel to what you ultimately want to do.”

 Dreamland is in cinemas December 17, 2020

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