“ON YOUR RADAR” IS A WEEKLY GRAD FILM NEWS SEGMENT THAT FEATURES A STUDENT PICKED AT RANDOM.
EVAN DALE KARG IS CURRENTLY A 3RD YEAR STUDENT AT GRAD FILM. WE ASKED HIM A FEW QUESTIONS AND HERE’S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY:
1. Where do you consider home and what is it like there?
Like all Christian kids in the rural midwest, the Book of Revelation, the rapture and the Antichrist were my favorite topics of conversation. The Sunday morning sermons that I looked forward to the most were the ones that vividly imagined the horrors of the coming apocalypse and judgment day. My morbid fascination with the end times only increased when I learned the circumstances of my own birth: My pregnant mother was so scared while watching The Omen on TV that her water broke. I entered the world soon after.
When I think of Freeport, Illinois, I see good people, strong work-ethic and Bible stories. I memorized Bible passages at school and at church, I knew every character. For us, these stories were more than just stories: they charged our ordinary world with an electric belief that an unseen spiritual battle between good and evil waged on for the souls of humankind. We hoped against all odds that good would prevail.
My childhood summers were spent fencing with my sister with toy lightsabers in our backyard until we were too exhausted to move, eventually falling down and looking up at the stars and wondering why God would care so much about the people on this little blue planet.
My passionate belief in God drove me to lead Bible studies and give sermons at church when I was fifteen. By the time I was sixteen years old, I was licensed as a minister, and after high school I went on to study ministry at a Christian college. I was actively involved in the campus spiritual life, learning how to read Greek and regularly preaching to over 1,000 people during mandatory chapel services. I worked nonstop and loved every minute of it. I would eventually become the student body president.
But when I was a senior, I experienced an unexpected kind of apocalypse when I began to realize that I am queer. My coming out was, in a way, a judgment day. I was shunned by many of my college peers (where homosexuality is against the “lifestyle covenant”) and cyber-bullied online. I decided to give up my minister’s license before it would have been inevitably revoked.
Thankfully, my parents and sister were incredibly supportive of me, and I am lucky compared to some of my friends who came out to find hostility in not just their churches, but their homes.
Ultimately my coming out sparked an insatiable curiosity that has only grown stronger. I began to see new worlds and experiences through novels, philosophy, history and movies from all around the world.
My new world is still charged with wonder, and I still hope against all odds that good will prevail.
2. What is currently inspiring you as a filmmaker?
I’ve been going back and re-watching all of the movies that scared the Hell out of me as kid. The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (M. Night Shyamalan), The Exorcist (William Friedkin), and The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme). It’s pretty remarkable that these movies still terrify me during every re-watch, but what I admire most about them is that they each maintain a vision that is incredibly human and character-driven. I would argue that they are hopeful.
I’ve also been re-watching the movies that consistently take me on an unforgettable ride, which basically includes everything that Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Steven Spielberg ever made.
As I am writing and developing my first movie, a supernatural horror set in the midwest, my focus is on giving audiences the terror, suspense and hope that I feel when watching my favorite movies, but with my own take on the art form.
3. What has been your most rewarding experience at NYU Tisch Grad Film so far?
Learning from Donna Gigliotti has been an invaluable education. Donna is an extraordinary storyteller who has an unparalleled awareness for the audience. What I’ve learned from Donna, and continue to learn, will make me a better leader and moviemaker on my productions with the singular vision of giving the audience the best movie possible.
You can reach out to Evan at email@example.com.