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26th January 2017

Q&A: Creative Danny Sangra on 'Goldbricks in Bloom'

You’ve probably already heard of Breed-represented creative Danny Sangra. He makes films and commercials with some of the biggest brands on the planet, he draws, paints and designs using a mixture of traditional and contemporary mediums, and he even takes photos and writes. As you can probably tell, Danny creates a lot, all the time. The reason we chose to speak to him about his work now is because this is the moment in which the world is getting to see a Danny Sangra-directed feature length film for the very first time.
Many of the themes and characters that run wild in Danny’s illustrations and art pieces are indicative of an almost autobiographical obsession with youth, perception and identity. His film Goldbricks in Bloom is no different. Using contrasting styles and techniques, Danny tells the story not only of his primary characters, but of a generation with so many open doors that it’s sometimes hard to put one foot in front of the other to take the first steps through them. 

We caught up with Danny to see what he had to say about life, work and 2017.
Hi Danny! Before we get onto your work, it’s a new year, did you make a resolution?
Nah. I never make a New Years resolution. I just change when I need to. 

You’ve received a lot of praise as a filmmaker, and you’ve worked with amazing brands and people, so what made you want to do a feature length film?
That's always been the aim and will continue to be. Everything else just helps me along the way. Ultimately for me, it's always been about how to progress with my personal work. Personal work is always more important.

Goldbricks in Bloom. Tell us a little about the name. What came first, the narrative or the name? 
The narrative came first. I had a few names for the film while I was writing it. The name came from a term I heard, “goldbricking”. Being a goldbrick is someone who avoids what they are supposed to be doing. I had written a film about people who do well at avoiding doing something. So it worked despite sounding weird. 
The characters and stories in the film feel painfully familiar. This sort of satire of our generation is usually quite funny (if you can laugh at yourself), but what moment/occasion/person made you think it was the right time to tell your version of this joke?
I actually wrote the film three years ago then it took two years to come out. Things have probably got worse since I wrote it. I wanted to write something true but I didn't want to be preachy. I hate a preachy film so it's more about the observations than finding an answer. 

Are the characters based on real people, can you tell us who any of them are?
Yes and no. We all know people like the people in the film. There were a few things that friends of mine had done and said. For example the food ordering is kind of what it's like between my friends. 
There's also something's that Zosia Mamet says about Nsync. That was a drunk conversation that happened in the same place where the scene happens. 
Are any of them you? What parts of you went into making the film?
I think there's an element of me in every character. There's one character in particular but we don't follow his story. 

Why is it based in New York and not any other city in the world?
Most of the locations in the film are places and homes we hang out in. It was always going to be a New York film. Also people were more excited to make a film like this in New York. 

Can you tell us about the switches between black and white and colour? 
The colour side is the Goldbricks side. To me that is the reality. The black and white side is the Calvin story. That was always suppose to be fiction. I wanted it to look and feel different. It's supposed to be the cliched story. Goldbricks doesn't really have an arch whereas Calvin’s story is neatly wrapped up. 
Have you had many responses to the film? What are people saying about it?
It’s had a good response so far. Mainly in the US as the film came out in 11 theatres over there. The LA times and IndieWire especially understood the film and what it’s about. It’s difficult as it’s not a traditional film in many ways. It’s a truly independent feature also which means it’s difficult to get press and eyes on it. 

What do you hope people get out of seeing the film? 
The film has its own style and it’s constructed in a fairly unique way. I hope that people feel like they’ve seen something original and something they can relate to.

What are you working on at the moment, anything we should be looking out for?
I’m working on another feature right now. The process is very slow so it will be a while before there's anything to see. Aside from that I have a few short films/commercial projects coming out in the next few months

Follow Danny on Instagram and watch Goldbricks in Bloom here.
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