Web series creators Aaron Ballard (co-creator and co-writer of Brokers) and Lauren Maul (creator, writer, and director of Next Level Anxiety) discuss their work in two recent interviews. Ballard's series Brokers is currently online, and Maul's series Next Level Anxiety can be viewed beginning October 30.
Interview with director, producer on documenting initiative to use recycling as a way to heal sectarian divides
The forthcoming documentary short film Khadra is currently in pre-production with production to commence in Lebanon later this fall. Directed by Alice Rowsome and produced by Lauren Santucci, Khadra focuses on grassroots work in the conflict-torn city of Tripoli, impacted by violence and failures in waste disposal. When on a reporting assignment, Rowsome connected with a woman named Rabab, and her son Khoder who wanted to launch a recycling initiative at his university. Rabab gathered some of her friends to launch their own initiative to help clean up their communities and heal sectarian divides.
by Kyna Morgan
Jen Ponton is an actress, media creative, and puppeteer whose latest film is Love on the Run, also starring Francis Fisher, Steve Howey, and Annaleigh Banford. She is also co-creator, co-writer, puppeteer, and actor for the puppet web series The Weirdos Next Door. We recently discussed her work in front of and behind the camera.
KM: You describe your webseries The Weirdos Next Door as a mix between The Muppets and Full House. There's definitely a deep nostalgia there! Why did you choose this as a project and with whom are you working? What are your specific roles in the series, both on screen and off?
JP: I work under PacKay Productions with my co-showrunner, Kay Koch, and our 3rd producer, Packy Anderson. We were 100% going for deep nostalgia! We spent so much time collectively pining for the family content that really defined the '80s and early '90s -- 'TGIF' (Full House, Family Matters, Boy Meets World, Step By Step), Family Ties, Perfect Strangers, Growing Pains, I could go on and on! Not coincidentally, it was also something that Jim Henson was brilliant at doing. Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street, and The Muppet Show (not to mention his many films) all had content that engaged both children and adults, that truly was family viewing. When Kay started to build puppets, we knew we were being called upon to basically resurrect the long lost artform of the '80s family sitcom.
by Luísa Pécora
When Kyna Morgan kindly invited me to collaborate with Her Film Project and write about women in Brazilian film, it got me thinking: what should my focus be?
After all, in the last two years the Brazilian film industry has experienced a much-needed awakening when it comes to debating gender equality in entertainment, and while the road ahead is long, the feeling is that there is so much going on. There are more women speaking out, more movie fans willing to listen, more online sharing that leads to mainstream media coverage, and more festivals, seminars and other events dedicated to female filmmakers. Perhaps most importantly, women in Brazil are getting organised: they are gathering themselves and finding support in the form of collectives, film societies and even Facebook groups.
As in many parts of the world, this is a growing, yet recent movement that has yet to lead to significant change or even to major conclusions on what the next steps will or should be. But these last two years have left a very clear message: in Brazil, to talk about women in film is to talk about black women in film. Or, in other words, it is to talk about the absence of black women in film.
by Ella Henry
Mia Marama Henry-Teirney is an emerging talent in the New Zealand screen industry. Mia is currently in post-production of the first short film she has produced, My Brother Mitchell, while holding down a job as Production Assistant on the rebooted Monkey TV series, called “The Legend of Monkey, which will appear on ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corporation], TVNZ and on Netflix around the world in 2018. Production is already underway in New Zealand” (ABC News, 2017).
Mia comes from a family immersed in screen production, her father (Mark Teirney) was a cameraman and DoP, and her mother (Ella Henry) is a Māori screen academic and one of those who founded Ngā Aho Whakaari (the Māori screen industry guild), in 1996. Mia is part of a blended family, with 8 siblings (sisters, half-sisters, step-sisters and a step-brother), many also working in the screen industry. After completing a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in HR at AUT, Mia worked in retail and customer service, in New Zealand and Australia. Living in Australia, seeing how minorities and the Indigenous people of Australia are treated prompted her to move home, as she felt “a sense of obligation to do something for my people”. On returning Mia secured a role at the New Zealand Film Commission in Wellington. There she was mentored by renowned Māori-Samoan film maker Whetu Fala (Fala Media), in the Short Film Department, “where we were basically the only two Māori, in this government body that funds and produces New Zealand stories, which stimulated me to want to become a story-teller myself”.
Auckland University of Technology
Female Identity Without Motherhood: interview with My So-Called Selfish Life director Therese Shechter
In 2010, Therese Shechter discussed the beginning stages of her documentary film How To Lose Your Virginity, and in 2012 returned to discuss it again during the final stages of post-production. This year, she's back to talk about her latest film My So-Called Selfish Life which is scheduled for a 2019 release. This documentary focuses on women who choose not to have children and the cultural obstacles to defining femininity in a way that does not include motherhood.
Therese Shechter is a filmmaker, writer, and multi-media storyteller based in Brooklyn. She is currently raising money to complete My So-Called Selfish Life and would love you to check out her Kickstarter campaign. Her other documentaries include How To Lose Your Virginity and I Was A Teenage Feminist, and she’s part of a podcasting trio called Downton Gabby.
In a recent interview, we discussed her work in feminist filmmaking, the politics of not having children, and the commodification of motherhood.
by Kyna Morgan
Following the recent completion of my master's dissertation in which I looked at writer-director Jordan Peele's 'social thriller' (as Peele himself calls it), Black horror film Get Out (2017), I wanted to delve into some specific aspects of the film, some of which I wasn't able to include in my dissertation. (This first piece will be general and function as a brief overview of some points of interest.) Titled 'Woke Horror: Sociopolitics, Genre, and Blackness in Get Out (2017)', my dissertation explored the film's place in sociopolitical horror film history, how it addresses Blackness as an integral part of creating horror, and also its postmodernist status (the state of being postmodern, a point that Lisa Guerrero has made, is a reality inherent to lived Black experience). The film has often been covered in reviews and articles as mainly a 'social thriller', one that was inspired by (as Peele has often discussed) other horror films such as Night of the Living Dead (1968), Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Stepford Wives (1975), and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), but also, and specifically, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) about an interracial couple (a White woman and Black man played by Katharine Houghton and Sidney Poitier, respectively) who visit her parents, introducing them to her fiancé. Peele's film makes stylistic reference to 1980s horror slashers like Friday the 13th (1980, with series continuing for decades) and, even more recently, 1990s slashers like Scream (1996, with subsequent films into the 2000s), through its visual aesthetic and haptic sensibility.
Star of Dementia 13 and founder of new gender equity-focused
Jacqueline Lee Katz