BY Julia Pizzuto
Assitant A&E Editor
What would you ask the directors behind one of the Marvel films if you had the chance?
Sacred Heart students had the opportunity to do just that on Feb. 20. “Captain Marvel” directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck discussed their experience in the filmmaking industry and working for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, during a video conference call in Sacred Heart’s Martire theatre. Attendees included students from both graduate and undergraduate media programs, and a limited number of other members of the Sacred Heart community.
For senior Theatre Arts and Media Arts double major Andrew Peloquin, the event was an exciting opportunity. “I saw it as a way to really kind of gain insight in the real world, the real business, and see what they would give for advice,” said Peloquin.
The event is presented by SHU’s Film and Television Master’s program, or FTMA. Adjunct Professor James Barnes met the director duo about 15 years ago at Sundance Film Festival, long before their Marvel fame.
“I want to use all my contacts to let people know what it’s like to be in the industry,” said Barnes.
Barnes reached out to Boden and Fleck almost a year ago now. He said they had originally attempted to find a date for this session during the fall 2019 semester, but it was pushed to the spring due to the directors’ busy schedules. Barnes led the first half of the event, interviewing the directors on their experience as young filmmakers, their work on films and television, and “making it big.”
Boden and Fleck have worked together for 15 years now, with their roots in independent film. They completed their first film, “Half Nelson,” before they even had an agent. They have collaborated on several films since then, including “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” and “Mississippi Grind.”
“We started our first two movies with stories we wanted to tell. We had something we wanted to say,” said Fleck, on their inspiration in the early days.
During the session, the pair explained “Captain Marvel” was unlike any work they had done in the past. For the indie director duo, it was a moment they did not expect.
“I never thought I would make superhero movies,” said Boden. “But I always loved Marvel movies.”
“Captain Marvel” is one of 23 MCU films, with another set to be released in May this year. It required an extensive amount of equipment and people – something Boden and Fleck did not always have ready access to in the independent field.
“It was probably the hardest movie we’ve had to make because there’s just so many people involved,” said Fleck, on the making of their latest film. “As fun as it was, at the end of the day, it was also the toughest.”
“Captain Marvel” has over $1 billion total worldwide gross, making it not only one of Boden and Fleck’s most successful works, but also among the top 10 highest grossing Marvel movies.
During the Q&A portion of the event, the directors fielded questions from both film students and other attendees.
One graduate film student asked how Boden and Fleck dealt with overcoming failure in the competitive film industry.
“I generally respond to it with just like venomous anger, and then use that to fuel my creativity,” said Boden. “I always knew I would make a pretty decent accountant if this didn’t work out.”
Following the event, FTMA student Eric Rowlands said, “They all started at the same spot we are. That’s the big takeaway.”