5 questions with This is She writer, producer & actress, Grace Rex at the half-way mark.
Monday, January 30th, 2017
1Hi Grace! Thanks for being a part of our festival. First, what was the initial seed that made you want to make this film? Thank you so much for including us! The idea came as a result of feeling really sad awhile back. This was several years ago. My rational mind was at a loss for finding distractions from the weary feelings. They were like a presence in the room with me, and I knew I should probably have a good look at them.
2I thought this film was so beautiful and that "the spot" was such a great metaphor. How did you come up with that and how much thought went into creating the actual "spot"? Thank you! Well, during this sad time I just mentioned, I read a book called "Owning Your Own Shadow" by a Jungian analyst named Robert A. Johnson. He wrote about how trauma offers a unique opportunity to see dark parts of your unconscious mind that only surface during a crisis, and that really got me excited. I liked the idea that whatever darkness I was feeling could be a part of me I just hadn't met before, and I started to wonder what this part would look like if it had a physical form. Once the script was done, Tarik, the movie's director, and I decided that the spots should look kind of fleshy and alive, as if they were made of organic matter. A serious mold problem in my East Village sublet provided further inspiration. It was out of control in the closets. No one has googled black mold more than me. Jiyeon Song, the art director, was really instrumental in designing the spots. I think she made the bases out of live sponges. They smelled terrible and were really fun to touch.
3You wrote, produced and stared in this film. What was your writing process like and how was it wearing so many hats? Tarik came on board when I started writing, so he was there for guidance and gave notes on drafts. It's always nice to have a writing buddy. My work as a writer and producer all happened in pre-production and in post. When we were shooting, I just got to be an actor. I have a lot of faith in Tarik's talents, so it felt natural to take off the other hats and let him do his thing. I think projects where you have a lot invested personally go well when can let go of those precious reigns because you trust your comrades.
4Tarik Karam directed this film. Why did you choose him to direct something so personal? What was it about Tarik's style that attracted you to his directing? I had written and produced a couple of projects but never directed anything, and this seemed like too personal a place to begin. I was marinating in a vulnerability soup that I think could have made for a messy vision, so I wanted someone to direct it who connected with the story but also had their own perspective on it. I met Tarik several years ago when he cast me in a short he was making called ZZZZZZZ. It is a beautiful movie- moving and dreamy and atmospheric - and as an actor he was wonderful to work with, so I thought of him right away. I'm so glad he said yes! He brought all of his style and heart to it. He also brought on ze gift that is Dan Sharnoff. He was also the the DP on ZZZZZZZ. They're a power duo.
5What's next?! In between acting jobs I like to make things, so I made a short last year called Be Good that is screening at some festivals now. That was my first time directing a project while wearing all of the previously mentioned hats and it was a really enjoyable experience. I wrote and am directing a short collection of non-narrative vignettes called Others this spring. There are some body horror-esque visual representations of the unconscious mind in there, too. I guess I like that sort of thing.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
The film with the most fans wins $1,000
For 2017 we are moving on from screening feature films and will be showcasing shorts.
For our Winter 2017 Festival, we are giving away $2,000 in prizes to the top three films.
The film with the most fans.
The film with the most views.
Our favorite film.
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