Mix-n-Match Interview: New Mavericks Shorts

Director Kate Tsang on... "So You've Grown Attached"

"So You've Grown Attached" is a short comedic film about Ex, an imaginary friend, who's forced to consider retirement when his creator starts to grow up. It's also one of the chapters in an on going series onimaginary friends.

What inspired SYGA?
The style and pacing of SYGA are heavily influenced from thousands of hours spent watching cartoons and old TV shows as a kid. I also watched Evil Dead, Edward Scissorhands, and The X-Files for writing inspiration so if you're remotely into any of those things then you might get a kick out of this film.

What was the most challenging part of making the film?
The post-production was pretty intense. During the writing process, I thoughtit might be interesting to shoot a mute live action character who doesn'thave a face except for glowing animated eyes. It was definitely a challengeto shoot and edit, but the overall effect came out pretty neat. SimonPearl, the awesome actor who plays the imaginary friend, had to wear ablack stretch mask the whole shoot while only being able to see out of twotiny holes. We shot the film for 8 days, then spent 10 months in post. Nick Barber, the VFX supervisor, had to track all of Simon's eyemovements, then we had to rotoscope Ex's face out of every frame.

Why did you decide to make films?
One of my first memories is of watching Miyazaki's Totoro. The joy and energy I felt from watching that giant screaming chinchilla was a profound experience. Later on, my cousins and I used to terrorize each other a lot, but whenever a film or a great cartoon was on, we'd all get along for that brief moment of happiness and peace.These experiences ultimately led to my desire of wanting to give others thesame feeling of joy and connectedness through film.

What are you looking forward to doing in Atlanta?
I've never been to Atlanta before, but SYGA editor, Hye Mee Na, is from there and has promised to show me a good Hotlanta time. I hope it involves copious amounts of Korean food which I hear is amazing in the area. I'm also excited to meet other film enthused people and watch the puppetry shorts.

Is this film for dog or cat people?
Neither specifically, but people who like CatDog -- the animated conjoined half-cat half-dog-- would probably like this. Since SYGA is about a weird kid with an imaginary friend, thisfilm might also appeal to people who like to talk to their pets... like me.Shout out to my pet rabbit: Hey BunBun!

If you're curious about the other films of the imaginary friend series, my short Sherman can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/22148031Sherman. Sherman is about an imaginary friend who's trying to cope with life after his child creator has grown up and moved away.

Director Jacqueline Lentzou on... "Thirteen Blue"

If you liked... Coppola’s “Somewhere" you'll probably like my film.

Is your film for dog people or cat people? Why?
I guess it’s for all animal lovers, as there is a scene in the zoo. However, dog people may identify more with the Ellie character since she seems to roam around like a stray dog most of the time.

What’s the most challenging part of making a film for you? Do you enjoy that challenge, or is its something to be avoided?
The greatest challenge of making a film in Greece is fundraising, and I hate it. However, moving on to make low budget films, the challenge is to prove that a good film can be accomplished if there is talent, even with a minimum budget to spend. 

Of the filmmakers working today, whose talent do you most want to steal? 
Harmony Korine is for me the ultimate talent boy. I wish I could have just a slice of his imagination.

Describe the moment when you knew you making movies was what you wanted to do.
After watching Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, on a DVD, during an ordinary melancholic Sunday when I was 15, I decided that I have to make films. It felt more like an obligation, rather than a choice.

Name three films you consider to be under-appreciated and explain their hidden genius.
Many films, especially lots of independent productions are under-appreciated and this is a fact known to all filmmakers, upcoming and established. A most recent example would be “Tomboy” by Cèline Skiamma, a great study of a homosexual girl and a very touching story. I feel that if this film, with that lyrical approach was produced from a huge studio, it would be known to the whole world. The genius of the film is how she slowly reveals pieces of the puzzle and that ends up in great surprise. 

What are your three favorite ways to eat potatoes, and what’s your favorite dinosaur?
Fried potatoes with mayo, always! All dinosaurs are welcome, I don’t have a preference as I haven’t met any of them.



Director Chell Stephen on... "Crystal"

Hi!! I'm Chell Stephen- originally from Toronto but currently based out of Brooklyn where I work alongside my amazing team Think/Feel. On the side I make pinatas so far in the shapes of: strawberry, cactus, rat, piece of bacon, jelly fish, pickle, dahlia... all filled with goodies. For Fun!

Crystal is a dark comedy about a 17-year-old asshole/dancer/superstar. It stars my little sister Kate Stephen in the titular role.

If you like Napoleon Dynamite, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Britney Spears music videos, brightcolors, kicking tunes, weirdo fantasies... IT IS FOR YOU!

While at the fest I'm really looking forward to seeing...
- Nic Cage!! Tye Sheridan!! David Gordon Green! what's not to love?

Obviously beenhearing really great things about Obvious Child. Gillian Robespierre's script and direction are supposed to be top notch and I always love to see Jenny Slate at work, she's got a great natural hilarious delivery that's so rad.

Been hearing high praise for Afronauts as well - and though I'm not yet intimately familiar with everything featured in the Animated Shorts block, I'm looking forward to checking that out—always fun different stuff in a program like that one.

For sure excited to check out the work of my fellow lady directors in the New Mavericks block where Crystal will play- March 31st, 7pm - 7 Stages!

I've been to ATL once before, in 2010 when a band I was tour managing *EarlGreyhound* opened for *OK Go* at The Loft / Center Stage - it was a funtime though we were only in the city for maybe 7 hours or so!  Awesomely -as EG are great friends of mine - Crystal features an amazing prog rock song of theirs called Lady Laser (aka Crystal's Theme.) The same year I tour managed the band, my Think/Feel team and I did a video for their song Shotgun, which was later lambasted on Beavis and Butthead - CAREER HIGHLIGHT!

Here's an instagram video I made to celebrate Crystal's Atlanta debut (Crystal and I both love Ciara).


New Mavericks reception begins at 6:00 PM at 7 Stages, with the film screening beginning at 7:00 PM.