Taron Lexton On His New Film “Nomad” And TXL Films

Image courtesy TXL Films
Image courtesy TXL Films /

For those wishing to travel, Taron Lexton’s film, Nomad, is not only a story that highlights the human experience, but it is also a whirlwind adventure of the globe. Perhaps for those who never left their home country, Nomad will give a glimpse into all seven continents as director Taron Lexton of TXL Films develops a story with emotional attachments to two of his biggest loves: the human experiences that bond everyone together and worldwide travel.

Culturess: What excites you the most about Nomad?

Taron Lexton: I’m excited for people to see it, to be totally honest. I’ve been living with it for the last four years. To get to share it will be a relief, and I’m hoping that people will get to see it on the big screen because we filmed in IMAX, went through a lot of extra effort to make sure that it was a large format image and I’m excited for people to see it big.

Culturess: What made you interested in directing?

Taron Lexton: You know, it’s funny, I actually started as a child actor, and I think that was what got me into the process, and then around nine years old, I was standing on set, and my mom pulled me aside and said ‘you actually need to stop telling them how to shoot the scene. It’s not your job.’ and I was like, ‘Well, who’s job is that?’ ‘that’s the director’s job,’ I was like, ‘Okay, okay.’ So that was how it started, and honestly, I just get to enjoy the amazing creativity of all the people that are working with me. So that’s sort of what I love. It’s like an epic collaborative pleasurement that I get from it.

Culturess: How did you build TXL Films?

Taron Lexton: Slowly and painfully. It was a long, long process. Founded in 2005. I was a teenager in my mom’s attic. I loved making movies, so I was like, ‘Okay, cool, let’s make this official.’ From there, it started growing the way a lot of these companies start, where you’re just gathering your friends together, other people who are passionate about filmmaking. It started as two people, then five people, and now we’re up to about forty staff, and all over the country we’ve shot projects in more than fifty countries, all seven continents, and very, very grateful for all the amazing people who’ve lent their shoulders to where we’ve come so far.

Culturess: How is TXL Films bringing indie filmmaking to a global scale?

Taron Lexton: I mean, literally. I would say we basically took the indie mindset, which is use what you have, be maximally resourceful with a very small amount of resources, and we went, okay with who and what we have in 2018, what’s the biggest project we can imagine that would be do-able without getting a big studio budget, without getting a big star.

Essentially, this was it. It was to go global. It was to make a project that featured what we loved, which was travel, which was different cultures, different places, spectacular sights, and scenes all around the world, and try to leverage that into a cinematic experience. That was sort of what it was. We just thought globally. Our backyard basically was planet Earth. We have a lot of experience with doing projects around the world, and this was taking that to the next level.

Culturess: How do you portray your humanitarian vision in your films?

Taron Lexton: I would say my idea is to be pro-humanity. As a species, we’re emerging into this really unique and new state where we’re all connected with each other, and I don’t think we have yet to fully process that or figured out how to do it. What we’re experiencing, I think, is a lot of individual cultures, which have a lot of integrity to themselves, encountering each other, and there’s a new unified idea emerging, which is this human culture, this human experience. I think it’s incredibly inclusive, it’s incredibly diverse, it’s incredibly exciting, and it’s a journey that unfolds.

My experience growing up was extensively traveling all the time. I was constantly experiencing these different cultures and getting this sense of the humanity thread that was running through everybody. If you go to a village in Africa or go into the jungles of South America, you go into the streets of India, you look somebody in the eye and smile at them warmly, the vast likelihood is they’re going to smile back. A basic simple human connection like that’s the kind of thing that, to me, there’s this humanity really that threads through us all. So humanitarian, probably my mom is more the humanitarian between the two of us. She’s got a human rights organization where she travels the world and teaches kids about human rights, which is how I ended up traveling as a kid. I was following her around. But my vision, I think, is just a bit more humanity-focused and finding stories that encompasses as much of humanity as possible.

Culturess: You’ve filmed in a lot of places. How does your experience change based on where you are?

Taron Lexton: I think it changes profoundly. It’s really funny, it’s like no one can see the world through someone else’s eyes. So when you arrive at a new place, half of what’s interesting is discovering how do they see that place. We spent time with the Messiah Tribe in Tanzania, who are some of the warmest and most wonderful people that I’ve ever met. Just seeing their perspective on family dynamics and friendship. They consider themselves warriors, and I remember we had a vegetarian on our crew, and the challenge was the Messiah only eat meat. They only eat beef. But it was just sort of interesting. The idea that you would not eat meat was totally strange and foreign.

So it’s like I feel like every time we encounter a new place, a new culture, I feel my idea of the world expanding. How you can see the world expands. Possibilities I never would’ve thought of if we hadn’t gone out there. So that’s kind of the beauty of travel. It’s the beauty of this film is you really get to encounter just so many different perspectives. I think that’s the beauty of it. It’s the beauty of being human.

Culturess: What makes Nomad unique from your other projects?

Taron Lexton: I would say it’s just so much bigger. We love doing projects that take us around the world, take us different places. We’ve filmed in Egypt, filmed in India, filmed in a few different places. Our first feature film filmed in Italy, in Ohio, which was amazing. It was life-changing. This was just how do we take that to the next level. What’s the ultimate expression of that idea? So it’s really just the first project that we’ve done, and as far as we know, the first project ever, the first narrative feature to shoot on all seven continents. So it’s the first time in a narrative film that you will see all continents in one film. One storyline that runs through everything.

It was shot in thirty different countries, actually more than that, but thirty ended up in the film. It’s huge, it’s just a massive project. The logistics of it were insane. The difficulty level was insane. We faced hurricanes, venomous snakes, heat, cold, everything you can imagine, and also just an absolute blast. So as fun as it was to film in Italy, it was even more fun to film in all these different places.

Culturess: What types of stories do you enjoy pursuing the most?

Taron Lexton: I would say human stories. So I mean that in the broadest sense. I think it’s important to tell a smaller perspective, that is important. We need all of the stories, basically. When I look out across filmmaking today, I see a lot of individual groups, for example, or cultures having their voice heard, and I think that’s super important. I think what excites me the most is telling stories that encompass as many of those groups as possible. Not what makes us different but what makes us similar. Not what breaks us apart but what connects us.

So I like finding stories, I like hearing stories about people overcoming differences and overcoming challenges to connect and to find the common humanity. So I know that’s kinda a very general thing, but I love human stories that are about our humanity and about accomplishments and things that we can all feel some sense of pride about. Landing on the Moon was a human accomplishment, not an American thing, it was a human accomplishment. The Great Wall of China, I think that’s a human moment for us, so I think, like I said, we’re kinda writing this new chapter of humanity being connected with each other. Those are the kind of stories I’m interested in.

Culturess: Which movies or directors inspired your style?

Taron Lexton: Well, I grew up in the nineties, so I grew up in an age of giants. I had Speilberg and Zemeckis and James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow and massive talents just at the height of their powers. At that time, I remember it was sort of all the storytelling mastery of the seventies and eighties and then the technology of digital effects coming in for the first time.

So it was like there was this magic unfolding where you couldn’t see the strings. We didn’t yet know how they were doing all this stuff and that kind of wonder, I became utterly infected by it, and I think to this day that big classic nostalgic essence of cinematic sumptuousness. That’s what inspires me the most.

Culturess: You filmed on all seven continents. When you’re creating the story, is it intentional to go to all these places, or does the narrative just lead you there?

Taron Lexton: So I knew we were going over the last few years, okay what’s our next feature? I knew that travel was something that just inspired me. It was also something that for my whole team, it was something we felt passionately about, we loved. It was funny. The story just kind of dropped out of the sky. It kind of dropped fully formed into my mind. I remember I was actually on an airplane to Singapore, and there was just something about going to a new place I haven’t been, and I was so excited, and I was just sort of was like, what if this was the movie? What if it was this sort of wonder? This sort of mystery. This intrigue of going to a new place but taken to a new level.

It really came down to, and not to blow the plot of the movie, but what if you had the power to go anywhere, but what if you couldn’t control it? That was the fundamental question. So if you could be anywhere in an instant, but if you weren’t in control of that power. That idea unfolding with a character and then a life, a whole situation, and then a story. That’s really what this is. Well, what if you could just be anywhere? But what if you didn’t know where it was gonna be?

Culturess: That is a very interesting question for someone.

Taron Lexton: I think a lot of movies have really explored the teleportation or the idea of having the power to go or jump. Jumper was a great movie. But to me, cinematically and dramatically, all problems are solved. It’s hard for people like that to have problems. It’s like to give Superman a problem is kinda hard. But the moment that it’s a condition rather than a power, it suddenly gets a lot more interesting.

Related Story. Meghan Fitzmartin Talks Queer Representation In Superheroes. light