February 25, 2016
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
Astria Suparak, the curator, asked me. She had seen Fine Lines and some of my other S8 films. I had brought back the concept of running a low budget, short film nite for the local’s entertainment on the L.E.S. in 1996. I started the Pink Pony Film Nites out of the Pink Pony Café next door to Max Fish on Ludlow St, NYC. It was a scene that had blossomed back in London in the mid 90s with film nites around town above pubs, in old funeral homes etc. I moved back to NYC in 1996, my contemporaries were of the E.Village 80s scene: Artists, musicians and original Grafitti kats like Futura and Sharp. I worked in the Café and began the monthly movie nite. First honoring some friends, the original filmmakers from the Cinema of Transgression: Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Beth B, Nick Zedd and of course, Richard Kern among others. It was a great time in the history of the cutting edge creativity of Downtown New York back in the 90s and noughties. Astria at the time was a student at Pratt and an active participant in the booming Low-budget movie scene that my Pink Pony Film Nites had resuscitated. There was of course Anthology film Achives, the film Coop and Millennium film workshop along with a few movie projections in clubs. As video had arrived and made filmmaking easier, cheaper and way more accessible to many more people, the momentum of individual storytelling through low-budget film and video was affordable, vibrant and kicking off. As in London, within a year other venues downtown and in Brooklyn had their own movie nites, and the scene caught the attention of The New York Times etc. It was at the beginning of the time of the rise of the International Film Festival circuit.
What interested you about the project?
Astria was way more of an academic than myself, with all the language and knowledge of the contemporary arts. She was also completely passionate, open-minded, driven and devoted to carry individual, erratic artistic subversive visions into the lives of students, educational institutions and the wider public. She was back then a rare, evolved Being mingling in the mess that is the cauldron of cutting-edge talent in progress. As a curator and Co-Star she had the Package in mind. Some Kind of Loving is a spillage of silver mercury balls on a tabletop: Whole and fragile, difficult to contain. Astria and Miranda have managed to do just that. I loved the idea too, the whole of the Joanie4Jackie & Miss Moviola projects.
At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I made my first S8 ‘Every Master Taught a Different Way’ while at The Slade School of Art, 1981. I was at Art School when tutors would say ‘stick to one medium’ And this old and stuffy School frowned upon a (Female?) painter who went off and submerged herself in every aspect of movie making: Writing, directing, editing, drawn animation sections, prop & costume making, acting along with my friends, finding the right music scores and musicians etc It was a tepid tale of Harlequin, 25 minutes long and I completely misjudged how to communicate the storyline. It was great fun to make and took a long time and went down like a lead balloon. In 1989 I started writing for short S8 films again and by 2001 I had completed 8 with one half finished. ‘Every Master…’ got cut up and became the visuals for Inside Out 1992. (An experimental, narrative, specifically about insanity: The mental madness.). Film making for me has always been about engaging with fellow creative folk who bring their own element to the finished product. It’s my foray into 3D after painting. I don’t make sculpture I make movies.
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
Fine Lines became my most popular S8 film on the international short film and video-poem circuit, 1998 –2001. I wrote most of it on a train from London to Amsterdam, I had set off the go see a Vermeer exhibition (the type of life-style I’m still aiming for) I realized I was in fact writing two separate stories, the other became ‘Inside Out’. I’d been shooting film for another film at the time and one or two Kodak reels came back from the lab completely black. So I scratched it as the visual for Fine Lines. This was my fastest and easiest film I’ve made. I feel a little embarrassed or ashamed that its about child abuse and there’s one line that still jars off-key to me, other than that I get a huge kick out of writing and film making. And I am proud of my work. I won’t let any of it out the door unless its shoes are polished.
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
We were all so busy with our own projects and there’s always so much more to do. I really appreciated back then as I do now anyone taking the time to include my work in their project, carrying it forth into a dialogue within the context of the wider world. Sadly I never got as involved as I would’ve liked along the way but I am truly grateful to all the work and effort that Astria and Miranda (and whoever else was and is involved) have put into this project. I love being honored alongside these strong fellow filmmakers. Never one to like the label ‘Feminist’ or ‘Woman Filmmaker’ etc it is a sad fact that we are marginalized (It only took me 54 years to face that one!) So for all the ladies who recognized that and paved the way before me, I thank you!
If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
I am yet to attend a screening.(Yes, I did write that in the hope I will one day) I always felt a tinge of green when Astria would send me press from the tour. I LOVE going on tour! I’m sure it was a lot of fun.
What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I think I wrote about some inspirations above: The downtown NYC vibe was an overflow of creativity. I was still in touch with the Underground Film movement in London, The Exploding Cinema and Omsk etc and I invited the London Underground to The Big Pond Film Fest a three-day event at the Pink Pony. I was very involved in the short film and Underground film scene up till 2003. I curated quite a few film shows for the New York Underground Film Festival, The NY Lesbian & Gay film Festival, I did the opening film program for Sensation exhibition (YBAs at The Brooklyn Museum), The Toronto Short Film Festive, I was on The Mix Festival committee, I won the Kodak Award for ‘Down The Tube’ in 1998, a couple of other awards from Austin Texas and I also curated 2 film shows for The Yale Center for British Art, the first as part of Patrick Caulfield exhibition 1999 and in 2000 a 4 leg extravaganza: The Parson’s Nose, consisting of British short film, music (Jim Thirwell & Gensis P.Orridge) Performance (which I wrote & directed)With English Kills, World Famous B*B, Angel 11:11 & Marianna Ellenberg. I took the American Film-makers over to The London Underground film Festival for 2/3 years. It was all a lot of fun. I stopped, closed my door and went back to painting full time. In a cornball fashion I find inspiration everywhere. I could fill a book with one sentence..in fact I did once. ( a little Love 4 Stanley Kubrick)
What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I am very involved in writing at present. I am writing ‘Pianos From Heaven:“Look Up!” which will have the first three condensed Chapters published in The Canyon News within the next 2 months. I have just completed a condensed Saga, also published in The Canyon News (CanyonNews90210) a Los Angeles local paper, online and in print that covers the Hills from Malibu to Los Feliz. ‘The Clean Up Saga.’(Parts 1 – 11) Dec 2014-Dec 2015. Before this project, which I aim to turn into film either for TV or movies I was writing drafts for an animation project and a TV show as well as painting and exhibiting. www.janegang.com I have a street wear label Cash Only: www.cashonlyapparel.com And I am lucky to have my wonderful fun and brilliant son, Boulevard who is a huge and totally magical inspiration. The Clean Up Saga is a new form of cross-genre writing from SiFi through paranormal to comedy. Set in the past, present and future (as are my paintings). Semi autobiographical, I have referenced my Super 8 film making days throughout. To get this spectacular news about the Getty Research Institute Gift from Miranda July comes with a potent air of 360degree synchronicity into my life. I thank all of you for making this possible, especially Astria.
Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
The site looks terrific.