KC Film Spotlight: Sav Rodgers
The incredible, Kansas City-born and raised Sav Rodgers sat down to answer some questions for us in the lead up to his widely anticipated film’s world premiere at Tribeca this month! Read on to see what inspires his work, what he’s been up to, and how he’s celebrating Pride (it may have to do with that little film premiere we mentioned…).
How did you get your start as a filmmaker?
That’s a long, long answer that starts with me seeing Chasing Amy at 12 years old. Fast forward to 2014: I’ve wasted my first year in film school waiting for somebody to give me permission to become a storyteller. After a difficult first year in college, I had the epiphany that if I’m ever going to direct movies, I have to just go do.
So, I started checking the internet for any local film meetups the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. The Robert Altman BBQ that Film Society KC used to put on was a turning point for me: it was happening and I just bought a ticket. My uncle Jake drove me, acted as my wing man, and I just started talking to people. It was the first time I had put myself out there as a filmmaker–and it was the first time I had a real opportunity to connect with folks in the local industry. I’m really thankful people there were kind enough to point me in the right direction: they recommended ways to get PA gigs, and local filmmaking groups, and told me about the projects they were working on. The rest is history. It all started right here in KC.
What kind of projects are you drawn to?
I seem to be continuously drawn to stories that explore what happens when we as people find our people and community. It’s a major theme in my own life. Most of the time, those stories are fun, surprising, and sometimes a bit surreal. And, above all else, there have to be great people working on a project to sustain interest over time. Community is everything.
What was it like getting your start in the Greater Kansas City area?
I love being from Kansas City. I didn’t realize how much until I left for the first time. I spent my whole life dreaming of how much better life must be elsewhere, away from the suburb I grew up in. When I had other experiences to compare it to, I started to really appreciate being from Kansas City and how special it is, especially the local community. Most of the folks I work with in KC would give you the shirt off their back. No matter where I make the next movie, I sincerely hope to carry that collaborative, kindhearted spirit with me.
Did you film any of Chasing Chasing Amy in the Greater Kansas City area?
Yes! We managed to shoot at the Screenland Armour when Kevin and Jay were touring Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. We also shot on the KU campus with the help of Matt Jacobson, who shot for a day with us. And during the pandemic, there was a lot of filming at my parents’ old house in Olathe.
Where can people watch Chasing Chasing Amy?
We’re super thankful that we’re premiering at Tribeca. Folks can watch in-person if they happen to be there, or online during their virtual festival. After that, we’re playing at Bentonville, Provincetown, Frameline, and we have a screening at Out Here Now: The Kansas City LGBT Film Festival on June 30th. It’s a free screening on the UMKC campus, and I think it’s a terrific way to close out Pride Month–playing the film in the city I’m proud to be from.
What’s next for YOU?
Connecting with Chasing Chasing Amy audiences is what I’m looking forward to right now. I’m stoked to see how audiences feel after we collectively spend that 90 minutes together. Besides that, there are a number of narrative projects that have been in the works that I’ll be stoked to make as soon as the WGA strike–and any other ensuing labor disputes–are over. And maybe there’s another doc to be made somewhere. I’m open to whatever happens next and excited for whatever will come.
Sav, thank you for sharing with us this month. We are so excited to continue to follow along and support you in your journey. Catch the Chasing Chasing Amy trailer here!
Originally from Kansas, Sav Rodgers is a filmmaker and screenwriter whose feature directorial debut CHASING CHASING AMY is about the complicated legacy of Chasing Amy (1997) and its profound impression on his life. The TED Talk he gave in 2018 kickstarted this filmmaking journey, and spurred the writing of scripts that center on highly specific, surprising stories about queer people. His screenplays have been recognized by GLAAD, Outfest, ScreenCraft, among others. An alumnus of the Producers Guild of America’s inaugural PGA Create program, Sav is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Transgender Film Center, a nonprofit aiming to help trans creators bring finished films to audiences around the world. Sav is a proud University of Kansas graduate and still sports KU baseball caps wherever he goes.