Claudia Myers

Claudia Myers

CEFF’s version of the Proust questionnaire

1. What is your favorite movie theater and why?
As a parent of young children I don’t go to the movie theater enough, so anytime I’m in a movie theatre it is my favorite movie theatre of the moment.

2. Your favorite movie rant.
Spike Lee’s provocative montage in Do The Right Thing and Jack Nickelson’s fit in the car in “Five Easy Pieces”.

3. The death scene you will never forget.
The most memorable in a classic would be the ending of Bonnie and Clyde. The saddest would be the deathbed scene in Terms of Endearment and the most disturbing I’ve seen recently is the prison murder in A Prophet.

4. The first movie poster that you hung on your walls.
I didn’t have movie posters on my walls.

5. What movie character do you identify with the most?
I don’t know that I watch films like that. I feel like every time I watch a movie and I’m drawn in I relate to some aspect of the story. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that really captures my whole experience but I know that every time I watch a film that moves me then there is obviously a little part of myself in it somewhere that I recognize.

6. Which look to camera struck you the most?
The first one that I remember is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Does Amelie do it?

7. What movie made you travel the most?
I think the films that I made over the last five years and culminated into Fort Bliss are those that opened up my eyes the most. I would have never made “Fort Bliss” if it wasn’t for the experiences I had talking to soldiers, meeting their families, hearing what they’ve been through, because I didn’t know that story, I didn’t know it existed.

8. If you had to live in a film, you would choose…
Maybe a Nicole Holofcener film where the world is full of interesting, witty, flawed characters that feels a lot like life and where people come to some better understanding of themselves by the end without it being completely transformative. I think I’d be comfortable there.

9. The movie that scared you the most.
Psycho, by Hitchcock. It’s terrifying! I use it in my classes a lot. I must have seen it 50 times but that shower scene still has an effect.

10. The movie that made you laugh the most.
I do love Young Frankenstein and Some Like It Hot. I also love French comedies like La Grande Vadrouille [Don’t Look Now – We’re Being Shot At] and The Goat. Those were some of my early favorites.

Portrait of Claudia Myers

Claudia Myers grew up in Paris where her father was a lawyer and her mother a dealer in Asian art. Upon returning to the United States she started a job as a paralegal, only to quit two months in, realizing her calling laid elsewhere. She then got a job in development and fell in love with film. “Working in development, one of the projects I worked one that got made was The Thin Red Line, it was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read, it was just an incredible project”.

She enlisted in film school at Columbia University. After graduating she started making films about and for the military. A training film at the actual Fort Bliss, Army post in El Passo, TX, a series of documentaries about soldiers and an interactive training film on post traumatic stress disorder (The War Inside) later, she finds herself directing her second narrative feature, the war drama Fort Bliss, starring Michelle Monaghan. Her first feature length was the romantic comedy Kettle of Fish, but for her second narrative she decided to come back to the Texas Army post to shoot a script she wrote, inspired by the many stories she had come to hear while working amongst the military community.

When asked what her influences are, she laughs and rightly so: most filmmakers agree that influences are time-relevant. In the case of Fort Bliss she cites Kramer vs Kramer although she made a point of finishing the script before re-watching it. Indeed her film feels like the other side of Robert Benton’s family drama, which portrayed the struggle of a father having to balance both work and his son when his wife leaves. She also mentions Winter’s Bone, the 2010 rural drama starring Jennifer Lawrence, as having influenced the look of her film. “It was shot digitally and it had a documentary feel while also being very polished and nicely composed”. The raw and documentary feel of the Dardenne brothers’ films also comes up.

Making a film about war, she took advantage of the media focus on her topic. “I watched many documentaries about the war. And then I used, not so much film but photojournalism, as inspiration for almost all the combat scenes. I felt there was a side of the war that, at least in the US we’ve been relatively sheltered from, especially what medics do.” In the film Michelle Monaghan plays a medic, one of the first responders on the battle field. Myers quotes the work of photojournalists Damon Winter, Adam Dean and Peter van Agtmael as major influences. “My DP and I looked at several images and they influenced how we treated the deployed scenes in the film.”

As the movie is set in the Texas desert, shooting proved difficult, especially due to the high temperatures. Having to work with the young actor meant that some scenes had to be filmed with just one take per shot. But the experience was also very rewarding. “There is a homecoming scene in the movie and we wanted to re-enact a homecoming as it happens. We were a very small budget movie and we didn’t have money for hundreds of extras, so we put out a call in the community at Fort Bliss saying “if you want to help us do this right, please show up and be an extra in the movie”. It was a holiday, Sunday morning at 08:00 am. We had more than a hundred people come. Whole families, with their kids, showed up. People who’d been deployed, with their spouses, someone came with a two-week old baby. And because so many of those families and so many of those people had been through a homecoming and had actually send somebody to war and welcomed them back, the energy in the room and the way that scene played was very very powerful. It felt very real. And it was a real privilege that these people gave their time to help us make the film in what they felt was the right way, and sort of make it more authentic. I think it really shows onscreen.”

Today, Claudia Myers lives in Brussels and spends her time between Europe and the United States. She is a professor in the Film & Media Arts division of American University’s School of Communication, in Washington DC. She is currently developing two projects, a comedy-drama set in Paris and a magic realist fairy-tale.


Nous ne sommes pas disponible pour le moment. Mais vous pouvez nous laisser un message et nous reviendrons vers vous au plus vite.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt