Five Questions With Filmmaker Ivan Kander

Climb-The-Rob-Jones-Journey-Story---webIvan Kander is an award winning writer, director, and editor of several short films that have screened at festivals across the country. His short documentary, Survive. Recover. Live., was the 2012 recipient of the Sgt. William Genaust Award for documentary excellence from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Kander’s film, Climb: The Rob Jones Journey Story, will be at the 2015 GI Film Festival.

Where are you from and what is your film background?

I grew up in Northern Virginia and went to George Washington University in DC. I started working in video production following college. Currently, I am a freelance video producer and motion designer for commercial and government clients.

Who are your biggest influences in film and why?

I’m a huge fan of Kurt Kuenne, he’s a filmmaker that makes documentaries and narrative films with tremendous craft and heart. Not to mention, he does so on a shoestring budget. Also, as I’m a huge proponent for short films, he’s someone who has managed to to make a name for himself in the short film community, which is no easy task!

What was the hardest part about getting this film made?

My hardest task was keeping up with Rob! He’s such an inspiring guy, so I didn’t want to let him down when putting together the story of his ride. I also didn’t want the project to languish in a creative limbo forever (as so many personal creative projects tend to do). Since it was a topical story, I felt a responsibility to produce the film quickly in order raise awareness for both his great cause and his incredible spirit. Needless to say, it was difficult to make the film while balancing work and family commitments.

What do you want viewers to take away with them after watching your film?

The obvious answer is that I want people to be inspired by Rob’s amazing journey. But, I also think it’s important to focus on his modesty over his incredible accomplishments. There’s an extraordinary sense of humility in Rob that I think is almost more inspiring than his great physical achievements. He’s not a “showy” guy, and that’s what endears me to him so much. To be more specific, the most touching and profound events in our lives aren’t accompanied by bombast and fanfare, but are rather quiet and personal. As Rob rides with the company of only one other person across country, he’s a reminder of that.

What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?

I record a bi-monthly podcast about old films. My co-hosts and I watch classic movies to determine if they “hold-up” under a modern critical context. Check it

Climb directed by Ivan Kander is playing at Angelika on May 23, 2015. Click here for tickets.