“Bluestocking curates and showcases the “best of the best” female-driven short films produced around the world.” In 2017 Bluestocking Films is touring a shorts program comprised of “8 short films from across the U.S. and around the world. Genres include cerebral sci-fi, wry comedy, and serious drama.”
#DirectedbyWomen is delighted to be bringing Bluestocking 2017 to Indiana University Libraries Screening Room on October 19 at 7pm. The screening is free, but ticketed. Visit the Screening Room’s website to hold your seat. Visit Bluestocking Films’ website to learn about other upcoming opportunities to experience the film series.
Eager for a glimpse behind the scenes, #DirectedbyWomen invited the women directors who have work in the Bluestocking 2017 Touring Program to respond to this question…
“Could you please tell us about a moment during the making of your film when you could feel your vision coming together or when you overcame a challenge in a satisfying way?”
Here’s what Carlota Martínez-Pereda (Las Rubias | The Blondes), Chell Stephen (Shauna is a Liar), Daina O. Pusić (Rhonna & Donna) and Natasha Waugh (Terminal) had to say about their filmmaking processes.
I followed a hunch with Eva García Vacas, one of the protagonists, after seeing her in a horror movie. She was amazing in it but I’d never seen her doing comedy, or anything else for that matter.
When she arrived at rehearsals with her hair dyed platinum blonde she was “Pepa” personified. Maggie Civantos saw her strut in and switched on “Marta”.
From then on it was just about enjoying the show.
On day 3 out of 4, making Shauna is a Liar, we had a wild one ahead of us: it’s always the third day, isn’t it? Well, it always is for us somehow! 5 scenes, 4 company moves, 15 child actors, noise factors from an active daycare within our elementary school set and a daytime exterior scene to be shot as the sun was nearly setting. It was gonna be nuts! But the top of the day was the most chill perfection, and I laughed to myself as our AD Ed Hillier came up to me to discuss the “fool believes” montage, to be shot the following day.You see, I’d written in the script this fantasy – in which our protagonist Shauna W’s reality begins to bend – resulting in an (imagined?) confetti blast that sprays down upon her nemesis as she watches evilly, knowing soon she’ll have the revenge she seeks. I wanted to set this scene to The Doobie Brothers’ What a Fool Believes – because, well, it’s amazing and a wink to her mental state. Of course in the edit we couldn’t quite afford the song, but I’d written the scene’s slug line as WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES MONTAGE. I remember laughing so hard to myself, to hear those words come, so seriously, out of the mouth of my delightful and very British AD. That I’d written those words alone in my private writing nook, and now it was a thing we were all discussing with the utmost seriousness made me smile.But back to the chill start of the day, where we were to film 2 fantasy sequences in a darkened gymnasium. First: a school picture set-up, with custom backgrounds – library, lasers and a Floridian beach scene. We had a slider set-up to cruise in and out, and rolled at 120 frames per second as I called direction to our lead gal Joanna Bassias. There we were in my actual elementary school, where this based-on-a-true-event story had actually taken place in real life – and Joanna, my dear little Shauna W, was wearing my actual dress from that same time period. My face hurt from smiling. Joanna was so exhausted having been in literally every scene – almost every SHOT- in the two days of shooting leading up to this one, but even her tiredness played as we grabbed moments that are some of my favorite we’ve ever captured. This montage in the film is meant to demonstrate the tiresome nature of perfection and what it feels like when the veneer of “if i’m just perfect enough, everything will be ok?!” starts to crack.Immediately following this (with her tight singular curl tucked up and re-curled x infinity by our glam squad of Jennifer Stephen and Caitlin Allen) we shot Joanna as Shauna, being presented with a trophy reading The Very Best Shauna by the gym teacher she has a crush on (John Marcucci) and the teacher she idolizes (Jennifer Ferris). These dear actors made cartoonishly grand faces, at my encouragement and it looked so strange, so surreal and a bit absurd: just how I like it! The whole team seemed to watch with equal parts confusion and delight. “What are we really making here, and when did this get so weird?” I imagined them thinking, and I said something to the effect of “guys, this is what the inside of my brain looks like. Thank you so much for bringing it to life.” A killer team, and a hilarious, weird, magical day – just how I like it!
Shauna is a Liar – An isolated, imaginative, perfectionist exacts ill-conceived revenge on all liars of the world via the one target she has access to: a classmate sharing her name.
Daina O. Pusić
Casting actors who could convincingly play teenage conjoined twins, deliver Shakespearean dialogue and have perfect comic timing, while somehow sharing my affinity towards puns and poop jokes was, in my view, the biggest challenge in making Rhonna & Donna.
The script and then, consequently, the film came together when I cast Niamh and Nuala McGowan in the title roles and utilised their talents.
Rhonna & Donna – How are you supposed to act when you are conjoined at the hip?
It was wonderful getting our location to work for us. It took us a while to find the final location. Our alternatives were not great, and we were concerned that it would let the film’s production value down if we couldn’t find a space that looked like an airport.
Luckily, a week or so before filming, we got a tip that an old ferry terminal had been abandoned the previous year, and the building was being rented to productions and events. We secured the building, I rented some airport signs from a prop store. Those particular airport lounge chairs were already there for us to use. It was perfect. It all felt right, and felt real when we were shooting. It added an authenticity to the film, and we were glad that we were able to construct that reality for the character’s story. The location was the final hurdle, and a big one, and we overcame it in a creative, and practical way. Being able to do that was hugely satisfying.
Terminal – a short film about the decisions women make in the face of overwhelming personal circumstance.
We hope to see you at the screening on Thursday October 19, 2017.