Tim Grant is from Charlotte, NC. He is the mind behind The Aria of Babyface Cauliflower Brown, an introspective documentary short about a professional wrestler grappling with his place in the world and the legitimacy of his living. You can read more about Tim and his work below.
What is your connection to the South?
I was born in Douglasville, Georgia. My parents relocated to Blairsville, Georgia, a small town at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, when I was less than a year old and we lived there until I was nearly fifteen before moving to Brevard, North Carolina. I only recently left the South and currently live in Los Angeles.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
I met Chase Brown at a poorly attended dinner party put on by a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Chase and his fiancé Sug got there late and my wife, friends, and I were a little drunk. We introduced ourselves and started talking. That’s when we learned that Chase was a professional wrestler. He explained why he viewed wrestling as a form of storytelling and art. I watched wrestling when I was a kid, but had lost interest in my teenage years. I found it difficult to understand why people became so infatuated with wrestling and, admittedly, was a little judgmental towards it. Chase was describing wrestling in a way I had never heard before, drawing examples from history, philosophy, and art. For me, and I believe this is generally true, at their core, documentaries are about adventure (among many other things). Finding something you wouldn’t expect, or gaining a new perspective or rare access to something you thought you knew. Within thirty minutes of meeting Chase “Cauliflower” Brown I knew his perspective on wrestling would make a documentary I would like to watch. It was unexpected, educated, and powerful. I wanted to capture the feeling I had the first time I met Chase and listened to him tell us why he loved wrestling, and why we should love it too.
How did you start making films?
I was into storytelling from a young age. I bought a tape recorder and would create radio shows with my friends, mostly recreations of movies I liked. When I was a teenager I saved up for a MiniDV camera (a Canon GL2 to be specific) and started making short films. My friends and I tried to make one almost every weekend. Through the process, I learned how to film and started getting hired to shoot church concerts and weddings. One thing led to another and I was hired full-time at an educational technologies company in Asheville, NC called Soomo. I worked with educational and content experts to make short lecture videos and documentaries. On the technical side, I was a one man department, either executing all the technical roles myself, or, if we had the money, delegating them to independent contractors, so I learned a lot at that job. While there I also made some highly successful viral music videos that my wife Emilia Fuentes conceptualized and wrote and I directed. My “film” career technically began with “Finders Keepers”, a feature documentary about a stranger-than-fiction story from Maiden, NC about a legal battle between two men over a severed leg. My friend and long-time collaborator Adam Hobbs pulled me into that project and it lead to me meeting and working with a strong group of documentarians in Los Angeles, where I live now. As you can probably tell, my career has been very much one step at a time, not really considering the distant future, but just making one thing and letting it lead to the next thing.
4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
What makes this film different than the other films I’ve worked on is how little we shot. We scouted and prepared thematically the week leading up to the night of wrestling, and only shot about 90 minutes of footage in real time, which translated to 6 hours of usable footage because we captured everything in slow motion. This was nerve wracking for me because shooting a second day was not an option, and I was worried we would not be able to gather everything we needed, even for a 5 minute piece. But my cinematographer, Charlotte local Bernardo Marentes, was able to execute our plan extremely well and we had everything we needed for the final product.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Indie Grits will be our world premier and I’m excited to share our work and thrilled that Chase Brown, the subject and narrator of our film will be in attendance to answer questions. I’m also very much looking forward to watching other films and meeting other filmmakers. I’m admittedly a festival junkie, and enjoy the hell out of coming together to celebrate films, filmmaking, and filmmakers.
Why should someone see your film?
Firstly, our film is wall-to-wall action, full of dramatic slow motion and death defying wrestling moves. Secondly, If you love wrestling I think our film recognizes the great reasons why you should. If you don’t love wrestling, or are somewhat dismissive about it, like I was before meeting Chase Brown, I think you’ll be challenged to rethink your opinions, and at the least gain a deeper understanding for a strange but wonderful form of storytelling.