Interview with Matt Mailer conducted by Margretta Browne
- Do you feel that your film perpetuates any stereotypes about "street kids?"
- The character Quinn is about the perpetuation of stereotypes. He is
looking to make his film interesting. Toby is obviously not telling the
truth about the things he's done and Quinn encourages him to make the
film sellable. Quinn perpetuates falsehood, and by the end of the film he
has created truth out of fiction.
- What is your definition of a "street kid?"
- I would be hard pressed to define a "street kid." There is no definite
answer. They are all there for different reasons. When creating the
characters, I just asked myself what would I do in this situation. I
just wanted to make my characters human.
- Do you think that Quinn's character could mirror reality?
- There is that danger, but it is not common to do what Quinn did. I
took it to an extreme. It does not represent documentary makers or the
media. I did not set out to make a political statement. I wanted to
tell a story of trust and mistrust, to explore that relationship.
- How much research on documentary films and the subject of "street
kids" did you do before you wrote the film?
- I worked on one documentary at NYU. For research I rented and studied
documentaries and talked to professors at NYU. I noticed that they all
had the same style narrative. I also talked to counselors in outreach
programs. For a while during the summer I went and sat outside the
Port Authority and smoked cigarettes in hopes to have conversations
with the kids there. Interestingly, most of them were older and
- How did you come up with the unique idea of a film about making a
- Eight years ago, I read a newspaper article about a reporter who
followed a kid around claiming to have committed brutal muggings. The
police wanted the reporter to turn the kid in but the reporter chose to
protect his source. There was a big debate. Eventually, the police
picked up the kid and it turned out he lied about the whole thing.
This subject was fertile ground for a story and out of it came The