Schnack speaking after receiving an award from the SilverDocs film festival for his film Kurt Cobain About A Son
AJ: I am from Edwardsville, Illinois, which is a small college town right outside of St. Louis
AJ: Yeah, and you are also trying to figure out who you are. I knew I wanted to tell stories & that I was interested in real stories as well as fiction stories and so journalism seemed viable and also something that I would really enjoy. And I did, I worked as a reporter, an anchor for a little while, but ultimately, particularly with television news, you are locked into telling stories in a minute and a half, which I am incapable of doing. So, pretty much, as I got closer to graduation, I knew that I was not going to be doing that for a living, so I moved to LA and started pursuing being a filmmaker and not knowing what that road would be. It's kind of a fluke that I made my first feature documentary [Gigantic, A Tale of Two Johns, about They Might Be Giants] about a band. It was not a planned thing that I was going to do that. But looking back I clearly have always been interested in the strand of nonfiction that includes the great music films, that's obviously a very rich heritage, from Jonathan Demme, Martin Scorsese to Maysles brothers, Barbara Copple; great filmmakers, love to make movies about music, and I've always been interested in that and that's sort of where I've fallen.
AJ: Right, but you have to separate the issues. To me that's his lesson from Aberdeen, his lesson when he gets to Olympia and suddenly he is involved in a relationship with a very strong woman, he's around bands that women are in, as opposed to the very testosterone driven rock of his childhood, he comes across men who are feminine, and suddenly he becomes a champion for women, for gays, and questions the whole role of gender in our society. So I think it's actually kind of fascinating that he takes one lesson from Aberdeen, and I don't disagree with your point, I think that he sees the difference as being that it was better that these small towns had healthy, locally run industries, and were not dominated by the same chains that you see everywhere else. So on one level he saw that there was a disintegration, and yet on another level he was clearly one of the most vocal champions of women and gays that existed in my generation, for many years.