Los Angeles: Interview with TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas for ‘Undefeated’
Q. Hey, guys. Congratulations.
A. (Dan Lindsay) We're short.
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas won the Oscar for Best Documentary for 'Undefeated'.
Q. Hi, congratulations. You guys dropped the F bomb on stage. What do you have to say to that?
A. (Dan Lindsay) Why did that have to be the first question?
A. (TJ Martin) First and foremost, I'd actually like to apologize. That wasn't the classiest thing in the world. However, with that said it did come from the heart, and it was absolutely spontaneous, and there was no way in the world we thought this would ever happen.
A. (Dan Lindsay) This is the most insane thing that's ever happened. It doesn't make any sense.
Q. Hey, congratulations. Even though my questions aren't even asked, it was sort of like old home week because last year Melissa Leo became the first Oscar winner to ever drop the F bomb. Are you trying to one up her or is this more about social media this year?
A. (Dan Lindsay) I think we just found a news story.
A. (TJ Martin) We're known for the F bomb. This is the F bomb clan. When I say it came from the heart, I am genuinely serious. It was out of spontaneity and it was completely accidental. Our core focus, if this possibly were to happen, we really wanted to dedicate the award to the community of North Memphis and the individuals who we profiled in the film. With that said, there was 45 seconds, and 45 seconds goes really quickly and they cut us off, unfortunately.
A. (Dan Lindsay) The most important message for us to deliver was the people of North Memphis that literally this award is a testament to them. If they didn't trust us the way we did, we wouldn't be standing here. And Money and Chavis and Bill and O.C., our main characters, inspired us to make this film and, literally, we would not be sitting here without them. And it was, well, I'm sorry, standing there..thank you, Rich..it was heartbreaking that we got cut off and weren't allowed to say that, because that was the most important message we had.
Q. How are you guys? I feel like I won. I'm very excited because...
A. (TJ Martin) Surrogate father over here.
Q. We met in an interview. How do you feel right now after, you know, with the Oscar on your hand is like?
A. (TJ Martin) Surreal? I need someone to come up and pinch me. Thank you, Rich, this is really happening. Oh, my God.
A. (Dan Lindsay) It was funny. I said to..we went out into the lobby area right before the awards and had some champagne and just gave each other a hug and said, look, win or lose, this is incredible, I don't know what happened, but and we just said, you know.
A. (TJ Martin) Win or lose, just getting nominated is, like, a phenomenal achievement for us, and again, like, so much of this, we can't...we could not thank the community of North Memphis enough for, like, we should not be the ones standing up here. They are the ones who actually...their trust in us in telling their story is what enabled our success.
A. (Dan Lindsay) Someone else is being way funnier than TJ.
Q. I don't think there's anything wrong with using the F word.
A. (TJ Martin) I agree, thank you. Like I said it, it comes from the heart.
Q. How are you, congratulations to you. And we talked about the fact if you win, that changes the whole thing for you, everything changes in going forth. What does change in the way you guys are going to conduct business?
A. (TJ Martin) There's a possibility we might get a job from here.
A. (Dan Lindsay) We might be able to pay our rent. That would be nice. I'm going to go make sure I have another drink with Mr. Combs over here tonight. That wasn't happening three weeks ago.
Q. In terms of the folks that did help you, like that person right there and everyone around you, what do you do in terms of the business now? You've got the machinery around you more. Does that stifle you a little?
A. (Dan Lindsay) No. Well, I shouldn't say no but we want to tell good stories and whatever format that comes in, whether it be a documentary or a scripted feature, for us there's a feeling and a sentiment that we fell in love with the movies where you would go into a theater and get moved and it would transport you somewhere else, and we tried to do that with our documentary but we want to do that with all our entertainment. For us, entertainment is not a bad word, and we just want to tell the good stories that hopefully can that are smart and that will inspire people.
A. (TJ Martin) And emote, more importantly, that they're moving at the end of the day.
Q. Congratulations. Hi guys. There's screaming about the movie, congratulations. I'm so happy for you.
A. (TJ Martin) You look lovely this evening, by the way.
Q. Thank you. One of the things I've been saying is, this is one of the few categories that people get behind, get excited about. Can you talk about why documentary is such an invigorating category this year?
A. (Dan Lindsay) First of all, I think there's an unbelievable grouping in films. I mean, 'Paradise Lost', they freed three people out of jail, and that's incredible. 'Hell And Back Again' is one of the most cinematic documentaries I've ever seen in my entire life. 'Pina' is pushing boundaries. Pushing boundaries is beautiful. 'If A Tree Falls' is intelligent and inspiring. Documentaries, I think it's partly because of the technology, there's a..
A. (TJ Martin) It democratizes it.