From Nothing, Something

From Nothing, Something

Directed by: Tim Cawley
79 minutes

World Premiere


Where does inspiration come from? How do ideas percolate and brew? What does it mean to be a creative person?

In FROM NOTHING, SOMETHING, director Tim Cawley (WELL-FOUNDED CONCERNS, IFFBoston 2008) talks creativity with a range of talented souls, including fashion designers, a stand-up comedian, chefs, cancer researchers, and a Hollywood creature designer. They tell him about the perils and joys of collaboration, how they generate ideas, how they handle criticism, and how they translate the raw material of their passion into food, clothing, stories, or songs that will resonate with other humans.

Cawley includes samples of his subjects’ work, from dance to video games to editorial cartoons. He also examines the intersections of different types of creative endeavors: how dance resembles sculpture, and what a novel loses and gains when it becomes a film. The people he talks to raise fascinating questions. Are deadlines a necessary motivator or a hindrance? What is the secret of creative confidence? What’s the most useful way to react to criticism? And is it better to be calm and content, or to slave away on a project that requires huge amounts of devotion and energy?

FROM NOTHING, SOMETHING is an engaging portrait of individuals whose creative drive has led to their success—though not always in the ways they expected. The film explores the many facets of creativity and how people put it into practice in the real world.

—Anya Weber