Shot in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Columbia on a shoestring budget over a period of three weeks, it stars Zach Hanks (“Come Away Home”), Anna Chlumsky (“My Girl,” “In the Loop”) and Thomas Jay Ryan (“Henry Fool,” “Fay Grim”).
Jordan said it’s the story of a “disconnected man haunted by a past that is coming full circle in strange and surreal ways.” But Jordan’s takes on his down-and-out, working-class characters — by turns satirical and touching — prompt comparisons to the films of Hal Hartley and, more obliquely, Vincent Gallo. And Burton’s inventive cinematography gives the production a look that beautifully matches its brooding and often wacky bent.
Q: How did you get together with Matthew William Jordan?
A: He sent me the script and I thought it was great. And he insisted on shooting on film, which was really great.
Q: Can you talk a little about the shoot?
A: We shot at the beach in the winter, which has a really cool kind of light, and you couldn’t capture that on anything other than film.
It’s a very old-school kind of approach, which fit the script perfectly. Our gear, including the camera, was all late ’70s and early ’80s vintage, and so the film actually has that vibe and look.
Q: You shot on Super 16 millimeter, but you also shot some flashback sequences on Super 8 — was it fun going back to your roots?
A: It really was. What was more amazing, I used the camera I shot with as a kid. And I think on the last shot, it blew up.
Q: What do you most enjoy about doing a project like this?
A: You don’t do these independent movies for money. You really do it for the love, as stupid as that sounds. It’s real filmmaking. You get to work with actors for weeks at a time. And you get to do lots of lighting and lots of setups.
Q: What about the cast and crew?
A: It was the smallest crew I’ve ever had on a feature. Our entire camera, lighting and grip department was three people, including me.
We didn’t have a boom operator. On the first day on location, Zach Hanks and Anna Chlumsky were doing a scene, and I started to wonder who was holding the boom. Turns out, it was Thomas Jay Ryan — he was booming for his fellow actors.
Q: So everyone really rallied around the production?
A: They all loved the hands-on atmosphere. Anna even did her own makeup. I mean, it really was completely collaborative. But Matthew is one of those guys you want to do your best for.
Q: What was your take on him?
A: He’s the real deal as a filmmaker. He wrote the script and raised the money and did the casting. He kept moving this thing forward with no real experience. It’s astonishing. If you read the script, it is on screen. It is a literal translation from the page to the screen.
Q: Why should people go see “My Sweet Misery”?
A: It’s really, really rare for a film with a budget this small to actually be projected somewhere. You won’t see a $100,000 film at a major theater chain very often. And this one works really well in theaters. If you’re a fan of independent filmmaking, this is a rare opportunity.
“My Sweet Misery”
4:10 and 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Crossroads 16, 1536 Dogwood Drive S.E., Conyers. 770-922-4104.