This post is the second in a three part Shorts of All Sorts NYC series.
The 4th Annual #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party is underway. There are SO MANY women directors to turn our attention to. It takes a global village to embrace the richness of what women directors are making and have made since the start of cinema history. That’s what we’re working on mobilizing. Join us.
Although we can’t all be at every screening and we can’t all watch every film by women directors—there are TOO MANY for any of us to experience on our own—we CAN join together throughout the month of September to delight in as many women directed films as we can. And we can turn our attention to what women directors have to say about their work—and be on the lookout for opportunities to experience them when possible.
To help film lovers discover and appreciate the filmmakers’ whose work will screen during the Shorts of All Sorts NYC event September 3, 2018 at Videology Bar & Cinema in Brooklyn, #DirectedbyWomen invited them to contribute to the Conversation series by responding to just one 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?”
Many of the women with work screening in Shorts of All Sorts had a chance to respond. Here’s what Georgina Bates, Paula Weiss, Sarah Harper and Lexee McEntee, Christina Raia, Anais Taracena and Georgia Cook had to say about their filmmaking processes. Part 1 of the series is available now and stay tuned for Part 3 on Monday.
Unstoppable directed by Georgina Bates
I had started to have some doubts about what I had put into the shot list, and was warned some things might not work or maybe not add to the film…being a first time filmmaker dealing with multiple locations, a small crew, a cast, I was trying to handle it all and learn in the process. With typical obstacles like not having the right lighting at times, etc. I was ready to give up on some of my ideas. One of my dancers, Jazmine, encouraged me to try out all my ideas and decide later. I was SO happy I did. The shot where Lex presents the cupcakes with a smile, then a stern look, and then devours them, made me feel like this vision was coming together. It was exactly what I had imagined, in the right tone, and said a lot of what I wanted to say. Also seeing Noriko in action with her boxing gloves really inspired me, and made me feel like this could empower someone. All the elements came together, and I was especially lucky to have such an amazing group of women with many talents!I worried about the locations and how they might look, or if everything would be smooth. The Maltese Center (which I secured just by walking in and asking after noticing they had a pool table, and making buddies with a guy), at the last minute, was almost unavailable to us, but somehow at the last minute we were able to make it in there which fulfilled so many of my desired shots. When we arrived for the first exterior shot at 5am, the location was gated off and closed. Luckily my DP knew exactly what to do and we resolved it, but that was a major panic moment for me. I had to be flexible and change my initial idea, and it worked out well with the light and texture of the environment.
Georgina Bates is scheduled to be at Videology on September 3, 2018 for the Shorts of All Sorts NYC screening.
Porn: First Episode directed by Paula Weiss
PORN was my first work as a director, and the whole recording was surprisingly rewarding in this sense because for the first time I could see a script of mine materialize according to my expectations. However, one of the most satisfying points of all for the series for me is in the way we have been able to show sex and female sexual desire. In the first episode, which is the one that will be shown as a short at the festival, this is not present yet but there is a clue to that development in the first scene, which shows one of the protagonists bored with a cold and bland sex, which is considered as satisfying by her boyfriend. If there is anything that makes me proud in all the season, it is that I have been able to express, through fiction, that women are also sexual beings, not just objects.
Mom directed by Sarah Harper and Lexee McEntee
For me (Sarah), sending out call sheets with everyone’s name on it was really exciting and was definitely a moment where I felt our vision coming together. We spent months gathering all the pieces we would need in order to film this short we wrote (money, cast, crew, etc) but figuring out our shooting schedule really made us sit down and think about how all of the pieces were going to fit together. When it was time to send out call sheets, we had a complete and meticulous plan for how we were going to shoot this film and all the little pieces we had gathered along the way fit right in. This was a moment where I certainly felt our vision coming together.
For Lexee, the casting process was very exciting. Sarah and I had been working on the script for a long time at that point, but we had not yet had actors read our words. It was so cool to see the different actors make different choices about the characters we created and watch them breathe life into our script. I think for me, this is when I first thought, “wow, maybe we have something good here.” The casting process also informed us of things that were working in the script and things that we needed to take another look at it in terms of our writing, so in the larger sense it really helped us hone in on our vision.
Both Sarah Harper and Lexee McEntee are scheduled to be at Videology on September 3, 2018 for the Shorts of All Sorts NYC screening.
Follow Mom on Facebook.
Enough directed by Christina Raia
There’s a scene in the film that is sort of the climax, where one character confronts another. It’s hard to talk about without giving too much away. But it’s a scene where there’s an additional layer of performance the actors had to add on top of a very real need the characters have. They had to tackle appearing authentic in their character’s deceit, so as to not reveal too much to the audience but also hint at what’s really going on under the surface. It’s a very intense scene and one that came together out of a lot of collaboration and conversation with the actors. The whole production had been building up to this scene and these performances, in particular. When I saw the first full run-through on the monitor, I was just captivated by the performances and felt like the film was really going to come together now that this super important piece was what it needed to be. I’m really proud of what we all accomplished together.
Christina Raia is scheduled to be at Videology on September 3, 2018 for the Shorts of All Sorts NYC screening.
Between Voices directed by Anais Taracena
As it is a very delicate theme we did not want to expose the young women who shared their stories with us, so we decided to work with actresses but maintaining the narrative and the aesthetic documentary
I think one of the most challenging moments in the creation process was the work with the actress. It was essential that she could feel and pass through their bodies the testimony and history of the girls who became mothers. Magadalena Morales the actress passed the story through her body very naturally and with a lot of strength. The actress and the girl who told us her story are not victims. They are survivors—and warriors.
When it comes to telling a story in a creative and authentic way, the limits between documentary and fiction are very thin. And you can play with that as long as there is an ethic involved.
Follow Anais Taracena on Facebook.
Backseat directed by Georgia Cook
I was fortunate to have an amazing little crew around me during the production of Backseat, and it was very much a collaborative effort to overcome the various hurdles (be they the time or budget constraints of working on a student film, or trying to integrate the traditional pen-and-ink backgrounds with our digital animation techniques—we definitely ended up wearing a lot of hats!) we came across through the year. But it was always fantastic to watch a fully composited shot sequence (background, clean animation and effects) come together for the first time and really feel the styles begin to mesh. The first ‘horror’ sequence near the start of Backseat, where we were able to blend the ‘storybook’ art style with more modern jumpscare techniques was especially fun.
Follow Georgia Cook on her website.
Thanks to Jennifer Dean and Eric Rice for curating this exciting program.
I hope you are following their work. Find out more about their documentary film project THE 2ND SEX & THE 7TH ART: WOMEN DIRECTORS IN FILM—Female filmmakers: Investigating their works, history and advocacy in the U.S. from 1896-present—on their website.