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Dan Castle writer/ director of Newcastle talks with Two Flat Whites

Dan Castle is the Writer & Director of the new Australian Film – Newcastle, which began in cinemas this weekend. Dan has written & directed a number of critically acclaimed short films, including The Visitor, starring Barry Otto, which received awards at the national & international festivals including an AFI (Australian Film Institute) nomination for the Best Short Fiction Film in 2003. Newcastle is Dan’s eagerly anticipated debut feature film. Catch it in cinemas now!

Where did you grow up & where do you hang your hat?

Hi – I grew up in New Castle Delaware on the east coast of the US – about 2 hours south of NYC, forty minutes from Philadelphia and 3 hours from Washington DC – so in a lot of ways my New Castle is a lot like Australia’s – in the shadow of a bigger smoke! And similar to Jesse in the film I wanted to hurry up and get onto a bigger playing field.  Went to NYU in NYC then moved to LA at 25… I live in between LA and OZ/Bondi.

In your own words, what do you do?

I am a writer/director of films

Where did you learn your craft?

Mostly self taught but my education and training was all in music growing up then in my early twenties I started acting, then writing, then painting, photographing and then took a stab at directing in my early 30s and got hooked – finally had a venue to throw all my guts into and past training and pursuits!

Who or what inspires you?

Beauty and different cultures – whether they be sub-cultures like surfing or communities or overseas countries – I have a story I wrote set in St. Tropez France and am working on something that will shoot in S. Africa.  But I also have my Hollywood Film Noir flick I want to make and anther surf film called Surf Mom about a 40 something Laguna Beach mom who chucks in the botox for surf wax!

Childhood Memories:

TV Show –  Six Million Dollar Man!  Charlies Angeles, Baretta!
Hobby – guitar – blues, rock n roll, song writing, painting, yoga, photography
Food – Pizza!
Fear – Speaking in public ☺)
People –grounded – self aware, tuned in and conscious good energy is the crowd I walk with.
Defining moment – seeing KISS in concert – December 22, 1977 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia – hands down – changed my life and my perception of what is possible – I was 11!!

Schooling memories, chore or cherished?

Bit of both – was definitely a chore when in school but now looking back can see how much it all grounded me and gave a positive start and value system to work with as I grew up and dealt with the world at large.

Where is the most beautiful place in Australia you have visited?

Well – Newcastle!!  Love its diversity and duelling images – working port, coal barges and those beaches and waves!! Besides that I love driving out to Broken Hill – get great shots in that light and open space!

From the hours of 9am to 5pm, what do you get up too?

Lots of exercise, yoga, swimming, email, phone calls, writing, take photos, play too much guitar some days and sometimes allow a meeting of some importance to take place ☺

Who are your favourite film personalties? And is there anyone we should keep a look out for in Australia?

Favourite film personalities – Al Pacino!  Gael Garcia Bernal, Johnny Depp Sophia Loren, Fellini as a filmmaker, Reshad Strik – Victor in Newcastle – guy is going to be HUGE!

Where can people see your work?

Some of my films are on the internet or for sale through Amazon – right now Newcastle at the movie theatres starting Nov 6 in OZ ( Oct 30 in NC)  then on DVD in OZ in early 2009 – in US theatrical release of NC in March – I have tons of photos for sale on my website –

For love or money?

LOVE  – haven’t been paid a dime yet for anything I’ve done creatively! True! I am so in debt – but do what you love and the money will come!

What future endeavors are in the pipeline?

Depending on what gets funded first – some that I wrote or something a bit bigger that some companies are considering me for to direct!  We’ll see – I hope to be behind that camera sooner than later!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Making bigger and better films!

If you could invite 3 people to chat over coffee, who would they be & why?

Bill Clinton – Love the guy and what he has survived and accomplished as a man and leader

Farrah Fawcett – just to let her know I love her and think she is the most beautiful woman to ever hit the world stage and give her a pep talk as she fights her cancer battle!

If we’re talking alive or Dead – Picasso – all the way! Genius

If only alive – Gael Gracia Bernal – he’s just got it in spades!

Coffee or Tea?

Tea – mostly green – but I like my English Breakfast with milk, no sugar at times and in OZ I’ll take a flat white any day but don’t drink coffee in US – just can’t get a flat white!

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