Hi Poppy thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Of course. Thanks for taking the time to watch my film.
Firstly, I’d like to ask could you explain the premise behind FilmFilmFilmFil?
Sure, For Your Consideration is about three entitled young women, who determined to party at Sundance, meet up at an LA members only club to make a selection-worthy film. And in an un-holy fusion of wokeness and cluelessness, they build a narrative from atop the high perch of their privilege.
The film wonderfully juxtaposes “wokeness” with shallowness – how common do you think the attitudes of the characters are in the film industry?
Common enough that we felt like bringing it up! These attitudes exist out there across every industry, whether it’s deliberate or the result of systemic ignorance. For the most part, especially now, I think people are willing to reassess and effect real change but that only makes it more essentially that we are discerning when it comes to performative allyship.
What impact do you think the desire to be woke has had on the film industry?
I think the desire is definitely there – how its manifesting is a different story. I heard The Academy this year made a concerted effort to seek out and invite a more diverse array of individuals to join the ranks. We’ve seen some actors revoke roles that they felt like would be further reducing opportunities and exposure for actors who had a closer connection to the character in question and have suffered from marginalization and bigotry in the past. And behind the camera, producers are more aware to make sure they hire a diverse crew. We’re seeing concerted efforts to create programs that foster and mentor more diverse talent into creative positions of influence. What their criteria for selection is and if this will actually result in true diversification of viewpoints and material, is still uncharted but there is effort being put in.
And certainly, it’s great that the film world is putting in work to be more inclusive but if those efforts are only performative or just on-trend marketing, they will only further entrench us in the current problematic power structures.
How do you think the internet has influenced the way people make films?
There definitely seems to be more “nickelodeon’s” out there…as in Tik Toks, Insta stories, “viral” videos, editorial “content” for quick consumption, startups like Quibi wanting to own the mobile streaming niche, the advent of youtube stars, memes and folks going from Instagram comedians to getting their own shows etc., vice produced shows, films and news, and of course shows like High Maintenance and such that began very DIY and were launched on very simple distribution platforms. And now the whole war between the mega streamers and the previous studio model plus theatrical release. I think it’s had a myriad of effects, but I would have to write a book on the subject to really detail it out. It’s definitely a time of transition and every aspect of filmmaking is greatly affected.
How do you think coronavirus will impact the film industry?
Very uncharted territory. I’m sure more films with less exposure to risk will be greenlit with special consideration for covid production guidelines. Fewer locations, more minimal travel, more quarantining, smaller crews, etc. We will see films being shot in countries with less risk and canceled in places where we see an uptick. For indie films, we will need to be inventive and rely on solid storytelling, but I’m sure the Theme Park Films as Scorsese calls them will still dominate – just perhaps without the theatrical release.
What was the casting process for the film like?
It was very important for everyone involved to get this right as we all knew this film would live or die by the casting. I worked with Treadwell Kelly Casting who I highly recommend, and it was very stringent but quick as my budget was limited. We had a great turn out in options which was nice. Only certain roles, I was given a slimmer count which wasn’t the easiest, but in the end we found a great cast and the process was very collaborative.
It was great to be able to have some push and pull with the casting directors and I love how involved they were. Working with seasoned casting directors really helped me hone in on what I wanted for each part. The challenge was not being able to audition the cast in groupings and rather having to imagine the various combinations.
What was the filming process for the film like?
We filmed in LA over a 3.5 day period. We had a great 1st AD Phineas Palmer who made sure the schedule worked and that was no easy task, for sure. We had a lot of fun on set all the way through. I wanted to make sure the actors felt a sense of ease and play, even though we had a pretty large crew size for a short and were definitely under a lot of time pressure.
What has the reception to the film been like?
I’ve been positively surprised. It’s gotten into some great film festivals – more than I thought it would and it seems to really resonate with those programmers and their audiences. So the folks that get it, really get it, which is very rewarding. But given that, I’ve received a lot of personal messages and had many great conversations with audience members and programmers about it. So, I’m thrilled.
It didn’t get into the few major big name ones, but I’m also a first time short-form narrative filmmaker. Dark satire, especially one that calls out the film industry, isn’t so much Cannes material. Not to mention, the subject matter is niche and may (hopefully) make some gatekeepers uncomfortable.
Of course, it’s been challenging to not be able to attend festivals in person and I do hope that some festivals will decide to reshow the films next year or whenever possible. Online festivals are a great given what is happening in the world right now, but nothing replaces the joy of in-person screenings.
What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?
The film is a time capsule of sorts and a candy coated trojan horse. It’s not an easy film and has a lot to say in a little time, so it’s quite packed in. It was meant to invite have more nuanced and open dialogue on a number of difficult subjects, so I’m very interested in hearing what audiences take away from it. Even more so than wanting to audiences to have a particular take away. That is the beauty of the medium of film instead of let’s say a political lecture. I’ve received some great personal messages from people that have seen it and how it relates to an experience they may have had or thoughts it brings up and I really appreciate that.
What future projects have you got planned?
Aldo Arias my collaborator and screenwriting partner and myself are currently working on a feature script and I’m very excited about it. We’re also developing an episodic insta improv series just for the times of corona and the digital age, so stay tuned.
With thanks to Poppy. You can read Will’s review here.