Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, two graduates of the North Carolina School of the Arts, join forces to direct Land Ho!, a comedy which follows two former brothers-in-law, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhorn), as they go on vacation to Iceland in an effort to reclaim their youth.
Both men are getting over some unsuccessful relationships and are frustrated with their jobs, so their hope is that they can escape the isolation they feel by going to a foreign country. What results is both hilarious and heartfelt and will no doubt leave moviegoers with a smile on their face.
Last week, Martha and Aaron were at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California for the Land Ho! press day, and I landed an exclusive interview with the duo. They spoke about how they spilt up the directorial duties while shooting, what it was like filming in Iceland (which, by the way, looks incredibly beautiful as it is presented here), and what it was like attending the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
How did you two go about dividing your directorial debuts on this film?
Aaron Katz: We didn’t really divide them. We both come from a background of making our own films, so we have experience doing everything.
Martha Stephens: We went to school together and we have similar ways of operating I guess. It was just kind of organic.
Aaron Katz:Yeah, often times we just look across the room and just kind of knew which thing we were going to do that day. It felt very organic and natural, and because I think there are a lot of things in this movie that came in twos: the two of us, the two guys and we were also shooting with two cameras. Often times we just talked between ourselves a little bit and then go to one of the guys separately, or one of us would talk to the actors and the other would talk to our director of photography, Andrew Reed, or our second cameraman, Ben Kasulke.
Martha Stephens: We did the Kentucky portion first in May, and then we shot the rest of the movie in September and October. So that was a test, I guess, to see if the actors had the chemistry and if Aaron and I had good chemistry working together before we took the plunge and made the film.
What was it like for you filming in Iceland? The country looks so fascinating in this film.
Martha Stephens: It’s a fascinating place. Our producer, Christina Jennings, is moving there in a week.
Aaron Katz: Basically because she had such a good time on the movie.
Martha Stephens:It wasn’t too much different than making a little indie movie here, but some things were different. The filmmakers in Iceland that we worked with had a much more relaxed approach to making movies, and we’re all really high strung and we have this crazy sense of urgency that might not always be warranted. They are really bad about emailing. Here it’s like if you don’t email someone back within a day then you’re a huge jerk.
Aaron Katz: There’s one mall in Reykjavik and it closes at 4 p.m. In general it seems like a cool way of life. That’s why Christina’s moving there.