I’m delighted that once again this September—for the 5th year in a row—Jennifer Dean and Eric Rice are contributing to the #DirectedbyWomen Worldwide Film Viewing Party with a lovingly curated evening of short films.
Shorts of All Sorts NYC takes place on Monday September 2 at Crystal Lake in Brooklyn. This year to make room for even MORE wonderful short films they’ve programmed two distinct blocks of films: 5pm and 7pm. Each screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers in attendance. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll be there. The screenings are free, but space is limited. Reserve your seat here.
Here’s a glimpse into the films included in Block #2… sharing images, trailers (where available) and insights shared by some of the filmmakers in response to the 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?”
Tampon directed by Erica Orofino
While I was in the room with Katie and Mark, the biggest challenge was striking the right balance in tone for the ‘reaction’ at the end. Mark needs to make a quick shift from manly-man to man-child, and Katie needs to go from being totally engaged with him, to realizing he’s nothing like she thought he was. We struggled a bit with that ending. We tried some improv, but the deeper we got into the improv, the further we strayed from the right tone. It would either veer into a frustrated argument, or it was too joke-y.
We eventually got where we needed to be. I often cast actors based on who they are as people, knowing what makes them laugh, or what makes them sad, or how they think about things, so there’s always a certain level of authenticity they’re bringing to the film. Once we were all on the same page and everyone was super comfortable, Katie and Mark were able to really let go and bring themselves to it, and they totally nailed it.
The Seamless Cup Society directed by Deb Ethier
I had been playfully toying with the idea of describing menopausal symptoms mathematically (especially the “distance to the ladies room” equation) as a means of dealing with, well, just that.
Sure that I would make an animation but unsure as to how exactly to present these farcical concepts, I proceeded to make some puppets…and one of them turned out to be me! “I” (well, puppet me) became the presenter of this “very serious”
docmockumentary, which actually became quite a cathartic experience. Weep and you weep alone; laugh and, well, I’m sure I have an equation for the consequences!
Find out more about Deb Ethier on her website.
A Letter to Myself at 16 directed by Claire Tankersley
I spent about a year writing my script and had always had a general idea of what I wanted the visuals to be. However, when I looked at what I had after finishing filming nothing that I had felt quite right. I started to edit but it felt like pulling teeth and I just didn’t like what I had. So, with only about a month until my main deadline, I decided somewhat on a whim to scrap everything that I’d filmed and just start drawing so that I might at least come up with something that I didn’t kind of hate.
Once I started, I just kept going and following my gut, and I ended up with something that I’m really proud of. Often, I wouldn’t even know what the next shot would be, but I would just keep drawing and keying and messing around with it until it felt right. The pressure to just make something that I liked to turn in at my deadline forced me to think more about the way I wanted the visuals to feel and to stop overthinking the rest. I think that that resulted in something much more organic than my original plan ever could have given me and I’m glad that I listened to my instincts!
We Were Hardly More Than Children directed by Cecelia Condit
In We Were Hardly More Than Children, moving the final song to the front and repeating it was a very big deal in finishing the film. It gave it more irony and set the tone for a more relaxed viewing.
The Escape directed by Tash Ann
Less than 24 hours before filming, our male actor playing the roommate got seriously ill and needed to be replaced. None of the other auditions had really blown us away and all the favors we could think to call in were not available so last minute. As we sat at the rehearsal one actor down, it was at first joked that if it could just be a female we would have a million talented favors to call in and suddenly it was like “Why not?!”
My dear friend and angel of a human Anna Jaller was just returning from her honeymoon and came like an improv savvy knight in shining armor to save the day. Once we made the gender adjustment and worked through the scenes, it was clear that this was going to be a stronger, more dynamic story than the one we had planned on mere hours earlier. I am so grateful to that challenge for reminding me that there is often reward in rolling with the punches.
Leotard directed by Stephanie Cheng
I feel like filmmaking is never really happening, until it’s really happening. Even after weeks of pre-production, I didn’t feel like the film was in the process of fruition until taking my first few steps on set (I may be more anxious than most people). However, being on set gave me a sense of ease and comfort that allowed me to realize the film and vision would happen, or was already happening.
They Go Wild directed by Stephanie Patrick
Howdy from Texas! My name is Stephanie Patrick, and I’m the Managing Artistic Director of Early Era Collective. Shot against a grey, desolate Lake Austin, They Go Wild started as a personal sentiment about dealing with trauma and living as a woman in our society. In such a fast-paced time, our ideas about women have an antiquated feel to me. While thinking about this on New Years Day 2018, I heard a hundred-year-old song on KOOP Radio – “They Go Wild, Simply Wild, Over Me” by Marion Harris. I was struck.
Number 2 on the charts in its time, this song was a picture of a 1917 woman celebrated by men. With lyrics like “every night how they fight over me / I don’t know what it is that they can see,” the vibe was excitement of being sought after, but for me it invoked eerie images of objectification, feeling unsafe, and being trapped in a value defined by someone else.
With its rusty, locked-shut boathouse (that we may or may not have snuck into!), Commons Ford Ranch showed us that this film needed to conjure the horror genre. Our set was gnarled trees, uneven boards, metal chains, backdropped by the both calm and wavy waters of Lake Austin.
Lastly, we brought the idea home with spoken word by Amber Wilson. I told her my vision for the film, but 100% let her run with her own idea, and it was absolutely perfect. I won’t say much about this because I think it will impact you best when you hear it in the film. Early Era Collective is excited and honored to be a part of NYC Shorts of All Sorts 2019!
8 Minutes directed by Ariel Loewenthal
The moment I knew I could feel my vision my coming to life was when we where filming the last scene. It was an illusion of a one take so it was about a two minute clip that involved a ton of blocking and we only had about an hour left to actually film due to the location’s time constraints. During the second take of that scene I was so caught up in my actress’s portrayal that I forgot to cue the last extra to come into the scene. I was so invested in what my actress was feeling that I was caught up in the moment and forgot to direct. From then on I hoped everyone else could feel the emotions throughout my film 8 Minutes.
New Devonia directed by Kelly Mann & Skye Tati
The Art of Doodling directed by Nicola Macindoe
I could really see my vision for The Art of Doodling coming together as soon as we added the animations of interviewees to the documentary.
I wanted to use animations of their doodled creations to make the film more dynamic and instead of live action b roll typically used in documentary films, drawing inspiration from documentaries like Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten and Cutie and the Boxer.
Rachel Mackey, writer/co-animator, and I worked around the clock for two weeks to complete all the animations. The animation process was far more complicated than I had predicted. Deconstructing each drawing into moving parts and filling the gaps in the drawings was incredibly time-consuming, particularly because we wanted to preserve the integrity of the original pictures and had to work closely with Elijah Smith, editor, to re-time the animations so they played in sync with the cut. Neither of us had done this kind of animated work before, so it involved a lot of experimentation and was quite a leap of faith.
The creative risk reaped massive rewards. The vibrant animations really brought the film to life and unexpectedly shed more light on the fascinating personalities of our interviewees.
For While directed by Jess Irish
Getting the tone and language of the poem right was the moment where I felt my project come together. I had been drawing people on the subway for the last year and real life moments of my own pains, lateness and city hustle seeped in to my experience of this underground community.
Film Femme directed by Leslie D. Lanier
The biggest challenge I overcame was finding an entire crew of female filmmakers. There are so many women who work in film that didn’t classify themselves as filmmakers. Directors, producers, yes, but not filmmakers. Once I had everyone together, our teamwork and chemistry was amazing. We filmed the entire film in less than a day. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who came together and I am so proud of our film. I hope that everyone who sees it is inspired to not just identify themselves as their position but as filmmakers as well.