Nathan Adloff presents us with a semi-autobiographical story of small town life, death, betrayal, strength and growth. “Miles” has an all star cast and is not to be missed. It is premiering Saturday, May 21st at SIFF Cinema Egyptian. Check out this and all of the SIFF 2016 offerings here.
Enjoy Equality365’s interview with Nathan Adloff:
Tell me a little about “Miles”
It is loosely based on my life and growing up in the late nineties. I grew up in the Midwest in a very small town in Illinois. It touches on the time I played on the girl’s volleyball team. My father passed away and then we found out that he spent a lot of my college money on a car for a “lady friend” of his. That threw a big curveball in my college plans. In the film, Miles joins the volleyball team to go after a volleyball scholarship to get him to Chicago which was his original plan.
What is your favorite memory from playing on the girl’s volleyball team?
In real life, I played in junior high for a season. It was quite a long time ago but I loved that I found a sport that I where I was actually good. I never really got into baseball or basketball. We didn’t have a football team at that time. It was a small school. I had sixty kids in my graduating class. There was not a lot to pick from in general. It was exciting to be part of a team for the first time in an athletic setting. I really enjoyed it.
Were you out then?
I wasn’t until my senior year when I started coming out to some close friends. I came out to my parents between my junior and senior year of high school as well. There was never a point in high school when everyone knew, but they probably did. I wasn’t out to everyone until college.
As a filmmaker, what is it like to put your life up on the screen for everyone to see?
I haven’t done that yet with this film. My last film was semi-autobiographical as well. This one is a little more true. It will be interesting to see and experience that this Saturday. So far, I have just shown it to producers and filmmaker friends. I imagine it will be a bit surreal. It will be interesting when my mom sees it this summer as well. Half the movie is based on her and she hasn’t seen it yet. Reenacting my father’s death was pretty surreal. It was interesting bringing up the past and filming it.
How did you deal with presenting the emotions surrounding your father’s death and the realization about the college money?
Some of that can be hard because it was such a tough emotional time. It was also a good thing because I had so much information to share with the actors. It is very helpful for actors to know the backstory and when it is based on a true story there are just endless details and stories to share. I think it is just easier to direct actors when the story is based on something that actually happened. You just don’t have to fabricate all of that when it is true.
Who were filmmakers that you looked up to growing up?
The first movie that I saw that made me want to become a filmmaker was “The Goonies”. I also loved “Jurassic Park”, so Stephen Spielberg was a great influence on me when I was very young. As I got older, films by Todd Haynes and Todd Solondz then a little bit later Mike White was a big influence. Mike works with Molly Shannon a lot and has a knack for very realistic portrayals while being very funny but deeply sad. I think that is a hard balance to achieve. Those types of films move and affect me the most.
What was it like working with Molly Shannon?
It was an absolute delight. She is so amazing, so nice and so giving. She is just down for anything. She is still a burst of energy even after a really long day. She is so talented. I am very happy that she is doing more dramatic work now. One of my favorite movies is Mike White’s “Year of the Dog”. While it is a dark comedy she gives such a deeply sad and personal dramatic performance. It is one of my favorite performances by her. I feel lucky to be able to work with her. I am still pinching myself that I got to work with her on this film.
What were your first thoughts when you saw that Molly might be part of this film?
It was great. There are lots of other moving parts that were still big questions marks at that time. Having real names attached really helps all those other moving parts move forward. It was great. The same sort of thing happened with Paul Riser. I was meeting with him and by the end of the meeting he said “I will see you in New York” where we were shooting the film. It was all really cool and worked out very quickly.
Just in closing, do you have a message for LGBTQ youth?
I know it is hard not to be discouraged by all of the crazy stuff that is happening. Just stay true to yourself and find the people that hold you up. Stick to your gut and what you want in life. I would like to think that is what I was going for with “Miles”. Everyone around him was telling him to take an easy path and stick around. Just make your way and don’t let other people decide your future.
“Miles” Directors Statement
By: Nathan Adloff
“MILES” is inspired by my life. When I was 14, my father died of a sudden heart attack. His death revealed to my family that he was having a secret and costly affair. By the time I was 17 (Miles’s age), my Mom and I were completely different people.
My writing partner and I pride ourselves on what our characters stand for and what they are trying to achieve, rather than focusing on their coming out stories. We believe that the most relevant next step for a film with gay lead characters is to not feel like a “gay film” at all, but like a film with human characters. This movie is not just about a boy playing on a girls sports team. It is a love letter to unexpected childhoods.
The theme of learning from pain runs throughout the story very purposefully. Miles learns patience while enduring the ridicule of an entire town, and Pam finds self-confidence by defending her son. In “MILES”, pain leads to learning, which then leads to a happier life.
“MILES” is a fun, heartwarming, and emotional movie. I see our audience as mostly young adults, male and female, who may still be “in process” with achieving their life goals. I think it has the power to be a classic inspirational story, one that shows the power of perseverance with the added value of being based on true stories.
Check out this and all of the SIFF 2016 offerings here.
Keep up with Nathan Adloff!