Filmmaker Spotlight: Interview with Director Aaron Murtagh

Our filmmaker spotlight is on Director Aaron Murtagh of Best Birthday Ever. Murtagh’s short film was selected to be part of the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles screenings at the AT&T center in downtown Los Angeles this month. Learn about the film, his inspirations, goals and current projects.

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it.

Best Birthday Ever is a short film about a young man, Sylvester, his new girlfriend, Mary, and the girl he’s been hooking up with, Roxanne. And, of course, the birthday party where Mary and Roxanne get territorial and Sly is forced to choose between them. The film was shot in 2010 but has gone through a very long editing and post phase and was completed in January.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping out with this film?

The project was generously supported by a FLIXUS grant from the School of Theater and School of Film/Video at Calarts. I’d like to thank my cast and crew for working tirelessly during our shoot and my roommates who let me use our house as the location for 4 days.

How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at AT&T Center?

NewFilmmakers LA is a great opportunity to share this project with all my collaborators in Los Angeles.

What inspires you?

Boredom is always a good catalyst for action.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

I have a lot of admiration for the discontent. It means they’re ready to make a change.  But also Taylor McKimens and Ryan Trecartin.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

I once blew up a microwave in the break room on the Warner back lot.  I think the lesson there was that if you’re an intern no one really cares what you do – so go big or go home.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

The obvious answer is Catherine O’Hara or Gena Rowlands but I’m making a feature with my wife this summer and that is pretty exciting, as well.

What is the toughest experience you’ve ever had to overcome?

Learning to tie my shoes.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

I think it’s helpful when someone’s advice is ‘don’t do that’. It makes you question how important that choice really is.

What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?

Talk to someone else.

Where can we expect to see you next?

I’m producing and acting in a feature that is shooting in Los Angeles this July.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects. 

The movie is called Present Company Excluded. Follow us on Facebook.

For more information, visit:

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.

Questions, comments or suggestions?


Categories: Events, Interview

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