Barry Jenkins of 'Moonlight': "I'm My Best Self on a Film Set" | Director Oscar Roundtable

"You walk on a set and you just have no idea. It's all possible."

"I didn't really want to be a filmmaker growing up. It just seemed like it was beyond me," Moonlight director Barry Jenkins told The Hollywood Reporter during the Director Oscar Roundtable. "We were just so damn poor that it just seemed like too far beyond."

Jenkins ended up at film school at Florida State University, and said he watched his classmates copy the style of their favorite directors. "I want my voice to be different, so I started watching nothing but foreign films. I went to Blockbuster and I chose the foreign film wall. I just randomly started picking things off."

Moonlight is a deeply personal piece, and actress Naomie Harris, "plays [his] mom in this film, essentially. We had this issue with her Visa, so instead of shooting her over the course of five weeks, we shot all her work in three days. So for three days I am just living in this — I'm basically walking therapy. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do because I had to separate myself the director from myself the human being, reliving all these things that I've tried my hardest to not relive."

More roundtables featuring actresses, actors, screenwriters, songwriters, documentarians, composers and producers will continue throughout February in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With 'The Hollywood Reporter' starting Jan. 15 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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