Sara Kaye (Larson),
February 1, 2017
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I was a fan of zines and Bust and all of the DIY culture, especially Miranda July’s work Big Miss Moviola (at the time). I was 24 when I made the movie. I submitted my film using an email account that is no longer around – I think it was called “chickmail”?
What interested you about the project?
At the time – I was from a very small town now living in a mid-sized city, I like the idea of swapping movies with other female filmmakers from everywhere else. It combined my favorite things: chainletters/snail mail with short movies and DIY ladies. It’s easy to forget now, but there were a lot of great projects people would do cross-collaborating with zines and art, music and film projects.
At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I considered myself a filmmaker in the most innocent way. Thinking about those times can make a gal nostalgic. I just made movies all the time. With a hi8 video camera and with film a lot of super 8 and 16mm (when I could). I thought the greatest places to show them were at art shows or dive bars (or chainletter tapes). I hadn’t thought about larger scale filmmaking or film business.
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
We shot at a very cool house where my friends Kristine and Katherine were staying in. The house was in an area called Detroit’s West Indian Village. I shot on an Arri-S 16mm camera and had learned to change film in a changing bag at the Detroit Filmmakers Coalition. I burnt my finger on a light and still have a scar today. We drank King Cobra 40s (a buck seventy nine out-the-door) and Kristine recently reminded me that we used to smoke a lot. There were so many chicks acting and working on the film. A couple of them were in my best friend Sarah’s geology class and one of my other good friends Cari drove up from Ann Arbor. We set up fast and furious and shot it all in one night. I had little idea on what to do with the lighting so everything kind of looks very Nosferatu. I had a general outline of what I wanted to do and everyone helped with their ideas (props, angles, actions, etc). At that time it wasn’t unusual to have a bunch of us hanging out together making stuff. I showed this film at one of our first Girlee Detroit Artist Collective shows. The Flyer said Pecking Disorder “They shared everything, except her love of dancing”
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
I thought it was such a cool project. I like how it was open to everyone. It made me feel connected to other DIY/guerrilla filmmakers. I definitely felt like a part of something and now I do even more. Who knew there would be so many chainletter tapes? And now seeing it all as a collection is so awesome. A very special kind of feminist time capsule. I’m glad to be a part of it.
What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
Kodak, Kodak PressTapes, Flicker, Bust, Rodchenko, WTO Protests, Sadie Benning, Thrift Stores, Herzog, Diana Cameras, Detroit’s Cass Corridor, Vertov, Margarethe von Trotta, Seneca Falls, Wayne State University, Zip drives, The Handmade’s Tale, Detroit Cobras, The Detroit Filmmakers Coalition, Mother Jones, Kubrick, Kimberly Pierce, Mary Harron, Kathleen Hanna, vintage sewing patterns. So many things. 1999 was when we had just enough internet, a healthy growing disdain for corporate america, it was pre 2000 election, and pre 9-11. It was a different world and kind of hard to recall exactly what it was like.
What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I live in Memphis, TN. I’m a documentary filmmaker and writer. I teach writing at a Federal Penitentiary for a community college. My feature documentary See The Keepers is being distributed by Virgil Films and I’m working on my next feature which is also about people who do very unusual work. I work in time-lapse photography and am obsessed with an old-growth forest here in Memphis. I’m involved in Memphis Women in Film; a group of us helping create and support films and film art made by women. I’m also now marching/standing for women and other people that needed protection.
Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
I love seeing this kind of stuff – the “where is she now.”
Maybe have a place for us to post our “marketing materials” for our old films.
I have a great flyer – very 90s.