Your new movie Agalmatophilia
- in a few words, what is it about?
is a low-fi, analog, time-warp, mind-fuck. It’s a journey through mental
illness, recovery and relapse. It’s a love story, a love triangle, a
black comedy, a tale of deceit and delusion.
How did the project
fall together in the first place?
Jared Masters [Jared
Masters interview - click here]
had an idea to shoot a “mock-u-mentary” about his life at the office
Pictures. I told him that it was against his best interest to
expose the intimate details regarding the skeletons that may or may not be
behind his closet door. Instead, I recommended he turn the idea into a
fictional fantasy, and thus was the beginning. That notion turned into a
martini-fueled manila envelope filled with sticky notes, napkins,
receipts, and sheets of printer paper scrawled with incorrigible
hieroglyphics, diagrams, maps, and much, much more.
What were your
inspirations when writing Agalmatophilia,
and who did actually come up with the idea for the story?
was drawn from a multitude of sources, but ultimately the film became what
it is all by itself. Funeral Parade of Roses, a 1969
Japanese film, was inspirational for some of the ephemeral imagery and
eroticism. My personal lack of ability to assimilate to the ideals of the
commonwealth or hold down a job for longer than a few months were
certainly a large part of the dynamic between the employee, Iesha, and her
boss, Guy Talbot. Veronique is essentially just another side of my
multi-faceted personality. She’s just a good-time girl who never meant
to hurt anybody. Really, Jared and I both came up with the story together.
Each night we got together, we threw countless ideas at the wall and
whatever stuck was written down and it went right into the manila
have written and directed Agalmatophilia
together with Jared Masters [Jared
Masters interview - click here] - so what was your collaboration
like? And how did you two first meet even?
collaboration was a Rwandan thunderstorm: Dangerous and powerful, deadly,
even. It was not at all a walk in the park. Jared, having made twelve
feature films who just wanted to get the shot and move on, and myself, an
anxious perfectionist with a vital need to do things exactly as I envision
them, without having a molecule of experience in filmmaking, made a sort
of yin and yang. What Jared lacked in patience, I made up for in
attention to detail. What I lacked in the ability to accept, acknowledge,
and move forward, he made up for in technical knowledge and experience.
The collaboration between us both, however difficult, created an
autonomous being that is the film. Jared and I both made sacrifices that
were associated with a plane far beyond either of our conscious beings.
The actual, tangible stress created something neither Jared, nor myself,
ever thought possible. Jared and I actually met randomly at a grocery
store in Hollywood. The conversation we had there struck a nerve within us
both. I was wearing my “fuck-me jeans” and he had yesterday’s makeup
on and we became comrades instantaneously.
Do talk about
brand of humour for a bit!
lot of the jokes are things that strange men have said to me throughout my
life. My favorite joke in the film is actually something a construction
worker outside my Chicago apartment building said to me as I was walking
home from my high school. He stopped me as I was walking my usual
quickened pace and said, “Are you Russian?” I replied, “No, I’m
not in any hurry.” He immediately burst out in laughter and I could not
understand why. The humor in the film is dry and nonchalant and if you
weren’t listening, you’d miss it. Many scenes are inspired by classic
cartoon television shows. I don’t want to give anything away, but the
restrictions of reality do not limit the downright hilarious instances
that occur throughout the film!
A few words about your
overall directorial approach to your story at hand?
simply stated exactly what I wanted to see. It was not a complicated
process, as I am a woman who knows exactly what I want: When, where, and
why. Most of the time, I was behind the camera, directing, and voicing the
lines of our statuesque star, Iesha Stayput. Because I had no
preconceived notions of how a film should be made, it was close to
natural. Sure, I had to learn as we went along, but I’m a quick study. I
have a very linear, visual mind, and what I wanted to capture I created.
also play the two female leads in Agalmatophilia
- let's start with Iesha Stayput then: How does one even prepare to play a
I should certainly not have been sunbathing all summer, one of the reasons
why the decision was made to release the film in black and white, but
after a martini or two and a trip to the alternate personality center of
my brain, Iesha’s personification was enlivened. Iesha’s belabored,
stagnant manner of speech was created due to none other than the fact that
I was running the camera, directing, and improvising her lines
simultaneously. However, it made sense. She’s a mannequin. It works.
Moving on to Veronique, what can you tell us
about her, and what did you draw upon to bring her to life? And have you
written her with yourself in mind from the get-go?
is the polar opposite of Iesha. I drew upon my love for the nightlife and
the music of the synthesizer. Veronique exudes the confidence and
sexuality not allowed in the workplace. Veronique is a personification of
everything a woman should not be. Her character was most certainly written
with myself in mind from the get-go, but so was Iesha.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
Marlow, Derrick Ingram, Jole Cold, and Poo Bear are a hand-selected bunch
of Hollywood misfits wiling to work in a film that will probably never win
an Academy Award or shine any amount of limelight on any single one of
them. These are the soldiers that make up the backbone of independent
cinema. A low-budget or a vague description of exactly what their job
entails did not scare these actors away. These people are the actors
that will save our industry.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
majority of the film was shot with Jared and I the only living beings
present, Miss Stayput being the only exception. I was the head of the
hair, makeup, wardrobe, and art department. Jared took charge of all the
technical aspects, as well as script supervision and lighting a fire under
my ass. Most of the film was shot between the hours of 11PM and 4AM. The
communication between the departments was usually marinated in hard
liquor. There were nights where Iesha would walk off set because of a
simple disagreement that was blown way out of proportion. Two crazy people
and a mannequin: We made it happen.
Anything you can
tell us about audience and critical reception of Agalmatophilia?
investors are pleased with the final product and our first user review
One Star on Amazon Prime. I deduct it may be
too soon to tell, but I’m hoping to make a splash within the
future projects you'd like to share?
am currently honing in on the final throes of a script entitled Feral
Female. It’s a story of a young woman, abandoned as a baby, who
acquires an insatiable taste for human flesh. Local news follows the story
of the serial killer at large, and a curious youth decides to capture the
Female" before the authorities do.
got you into the filmworld to begin with, and did you receive any formal
education on the subject?
Masters interview - click here] is the sole reason I am involved in film at all, whatsoever. I
moved to LA by chance, and I had no interest in “the industry” in the
least bit. I believed it to be pretentious and any recent film I have been
coerced into having the displeasure of having displayed before my retinas
had been an utter disappointment. Jared saw something in me and invited me
to work on his next picture. Everything I know about filmmaking, I learned
from working alongside Jared Masters on Agalmatophilia.
I have zero
formal education in film, but do I have a degree in fine art and a trove
of life experiences.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Agalmatophilia?
used to make “kung-fu movies” with my best friend when I was a kid. I
received a digital camera as a gift in like 2005 and we would go around
downtown Phoenix and do “parkour” and “karate” and whatever. I
unfortunately do not have access to these cinematic gems, as the digital
camera, a Polaroid with about 3 megapixels, was stolen.
actresses, writers who inspire you?
Ryder, Chloë Sevigny, River Phoenix, Brittany Murphy, Juliette Lewis,
Susan Sarandon, Helena Bonham Carter, Wong Kar-wai, Crispin Glover, Klaus
Bond, Kathy Aker, Steve Martin, Stephen King.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
The Forbin Project, Android, Romeo +
Juliet, Scenes from the Class
Struggle in Beverly Hills, The Florida Project, Wanda, Les Yeux Sans
Visage, Metropolis, Brazil, Liquid Sky, Lord of the
... and of course, films you really deplore?
hard for me to think of a film that I “deplore”, because I refuse to
sit through a film I do not enjoy. The most recent film I shut off was Bandits
because it started off as a fun action packed movie about robbing banks
and then it turned into a romantic comedy. Another that comes to mind is Stepbrothers.
My entire immediate family was obsessed with that movie and it drove me
utterly insane because they seemed to watch it on a loop.
movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?
you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
the film, there are several nods to postmodern design, specifically,
Memphis design. The object that Veronique has a relationship with is
actually a lamp, Treetops, designed in 1981 by Ettore Sottsass.
The architect left his own firm and founded the Memphis collaborative in
Milan. One of Iesha’s tops and one of Veronique’s bodysuits were both
printed with patterns designed by Nathalie du Pasquier, one of few women
who were a part of the Memphis-Milano collaborative.
music in the film was chosen and/or created exclusively for each scene. I
laid down all of the ambient tracks and the “voice” of Veronique’s
love object on a microKORG XL. What Does it all Mean, the original
song Jared and I created for the film was played on the analog
synthesizer, Roland JX-3P and a BOSS Dr. Rhythm drum machine. Jared hit
the keys, and I wrote and sang the lyrics. I’m really into 80’s
post-punk-no-wave, so we had to pay homage to that style of music.
for the interview!