Gigi (from 9 to 5)
March 14, 2013
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I found out about Joanie 4 Jackie when I was 17 or 18 and in high school. 1996 or 1997. It was called Big Miss Moviola back then.
What interested you about the project?
I was interested in the idea of creating this alternative network where filmmakers could share their films with each other. This was, of course, before vimeo or youtube, and the idea was really interesting to me, as I was already making short videos with my friends as a teenager. I was excited about the prospect of sharing them with other people and watching the films that they made without access to expensive equipment.
At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I did consider myself a filmmaker at that time (and I still do). At the time I participated, I had graduated from NYU and had been working with 16mm film and video for a few years. I had just started editing television shows professionally.
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with the project?
The film was basically my senior thesis project. I was really into musicals and situationists both, and was really excited to make something absurd and fun, and sort of along the lines of Vera Chytilova’s “Daisies.” I didn’t come close to the brilliance of “Daisies,” but I had such a great time making this film with the help of my friend, musician Kelly Kawar, who wrote all of the music, and my friends who did all the singing. The star, Gina Young, is an amazing musician too and she appeared in many of my student films at NYU.
One thing I remember very clearly about the shoot was the moment when I said “action” and the dancers started doing their choreographed dance and everything was happening. It was almost overwhelming how crazy it felt to have been orchestrating this whole scene, to have imagined something and then gotten all of these people to participate in staging it! Lots of fun and a very positive experience.
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I thought it was a wonderful and much needed space for people to share their work. In retrospect, I still think it’s wonderful and I wish that something like this existed in an online format. There seems to be so much space for sharing your work via the internet and the potential seems unlimited. And yet… most of what is available to “independent” filmmakers is pretty limited in terms of who actually has access and what kinds of films are screened.
What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
In 2004, I felt pretty inspired by my friends who were making films and videos, or editing, or making music for films and videos. I’m still inspired by people who make amazing, challenging work that doesn’t fit neatly into a commercial genre. I also admire those friends of mine who have achieved great commercial success and maintained their integrity.
What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am still involved in filmmaking and post-production, but I am also an anthropologist. I was always much more interested in documentary film, and was drawn to ethnographic filmmaking techniques mainly because of the serious attention given to time, to allowing things to unfold over time and not feeling the need to script or drive action. So I decided to pursue my PhD in Anthropology, which I am finishing up now. I just received a grant to establish a filmmaking workshop for young women in Lebanon where I conducted my PhD research. Learning how to use a video camera and edit my own movies was a very formative experience in my life. I look forward to sharing that with my students. I hope to produce a documentary of the workshop and the films that emerge from it.
Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I think it would be great to see more of these films online.