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On Demand: 'I Am Not A Hipster'

January 16, 2013 5:18 a.m.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando talks to filmmakers Destin Cretton and Ron Najor about the release of their indie film.

Related Story: On Demand: 'I Am Not A Hipster'


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: Last year the film I Am Not A Hipster screened at a special sidebar at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was made by a pair of San Diego State University film-school graduates. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says now the film is being made available to audiences.


Exactly one year ago, writer/director Destin Cretton and his producer Ron Najor were getting ready to premiere their film I Am Not A Hipster at Sundance.

CLIP Okay here we go, in 5,4,3,2,1...

DESTIN CRETTON: Yeah we were really excited to take this little movie that was just shot right here in San Diego up to Sundance and premiere it in the snow. It was an incredible experience, all our screenings were sold out and we had a really amazing response from audiences.

Destin Cretton shot his film in San Diego and set it against the backdrop of the local indie music scene.

CLIP There's a lot of buzz about you in the indie scene and there are so many musicians I know that would just kill to trade places with you... You mean they want to make no money and be mildly successful to a small group of people.

DESTIN CRETTON: The film takes place entirely in San Diego and the cool thing is it's a movie about the art community in San Diego and it's made by the art community in San Diego. And it follows a singer songwriter here in San Diego, through a week of his life when his 3 sisters are coming to visit to spread their mom's ashes.

Ron Najor says the film was made with the help of online fundraising and the generosity of friends and family.

RON NAJOR: It's kind of crazy sometimes when we do watch the film I see my sister, my niece she played in one of the classroom scenes, it's like, to me it's like again, another reason why we care so much about the movie and wanted it to, wanted to get a release for the movie, because I think it's something very personal to both Destin and myself, and really just a lot of people involved in the movie.

The film played Sundance and generated positive buzz, but it did not get a distribution deal. So that meant the filmmakers had to come up with a plan if they wanted to release the film into the world… says Najor.

RON NAJOR: There's all these options for filmmakers to just sort of give your film away to smaller distribution companies and it was just not something we felt was right for the film so we sort of took it upon ourselves to mount this campaign and go out there and get the word out and do a real grass roots effort of getting the film out.

That included booking theaters one at a time.

RON NAJOR: There's a lot of mom and pop theaters all over the country that love playing independent films, and also with the digital age coming about there's so many platforms now for independent films like iTunes, Amazon, there's just so many things happening that's both old and new and it's just like juggling the two and figuring out what is the best overall thing for us and I think for Hipster we got it into 10 theaters nationally, we're going to be on 7 digital platforms, we're going to be on cable VOD in like 50 million homes.

I Am Not a Hipster hit the digital market yesterday. It marks the final stage in a project that has consumed about two years of Cretton's life.

DESTIN CRETTON: It's not even close to as sexy as you would expect it to be. It's most of the filmmaking process is Ron and I sitting in a messy apartment on our computers trying to do 12 jobs that most studios are just hiring people to do.

But they have the satisfaction of having made the film they wanted and not having given it over to a third party that might not be fueled by their passion. But that passion drove the filmmakers to prep and shoot a second feature while mounting the release of I Am Not A Hipster. Their new movie is based on Cretton's short film, Short Term 12.

DESTIN CRETTON: It all takes place in a group home for troubled teenagers and it's loosely based on experiences I had and stories I gathered when I was working in a residential home for troubled teenagers. We just locked picture this past Saturday so now we're going to start the process all over again.

It won't be ready for this year's Sundance, which kicks off tomorrow, but it will be ready for the festival circuit sometime this year. In the meantime, check out their first film, I Am Not A Hipster.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.