Where is She Now?

Chainletter Filmmakers:

The Underwater Chainletter

(Lucretia) Tye (Jasmine), Daybreak
January 10, 2017

How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
I think it was from an ad in a punk rock zine or punk rock feminist publication. Big Miss Moviola welcomed films made by women. When I first read about the open call, it was sometime around 1995, and I was 29. I was thrilled when one of my films was accepted.

What interested you about the project?
That it was feminist and punk rock.

At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
Yes, and I still consider myself a filmmaker, though my films are so underground they could be considered buried. I am a director and cinematographer, also a writer and editor. I’ve bankrolled any film I’ve ever made. Crew and actors have been paid with food, beverages, and a copy of the completed work. Also my undying gratitude.

Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
When I was in my last year of college at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1988, I skipped Narrative I and enrolled in the dauntingly named course, Narrative II, taught by the formidable Boris Frumin. Students talked in awe-struck voices about Boris. He was from another country, he rarely smiled, and he’d made feature-length films.

Each student who wanted to direct gave Boris and classmates copies of the script s/he wanted to direct, and then a week or so later, pitched the story to the entire class and to Boris by standing in front of the classroom, a classroom which was really like a cinema or theater with its elevated seating and low center stage headed by a huge screen. Not everyone was chosen to direct, and not every script was chosen to film.

I knew the story I wanted to write. It took one hour to write the ten-minute script at my mother’s white dining room table.

I’ve always been self-conscious, with low self-esteem. But the night before I presented my pitch, I told myself to pitch it the way I wrote it: clearly, and precisely. My script was among those few chosen to be filmed. Boris said to us all about my writing: “You have the script. Now can you translate it to the screen?”

It took eight days over the course of a year to film, and I don’t remember how long it took to edit. It cost a thousand dollars, not including the cost of flying to NYC. The classmate who had promised his house as a location bailed at the last second. I lost the roll of film of a pivotal scene and had to re-shoot. One of the actors could not ever deliver the key line. And a classmate I’d thought was a friend (who is now a very rich and famous TV writer) refused to help me mix the sound! Someone who worked with me in the film check-out department (we were both work-study students) did the sound mix for me, and is uncredited on the film because the titles were shot before the sound mix was done: Patrick McGuinn. I didn’t know then that he was rock ‘n roll royalty; his dad was a rock star. After I graduated, I shot more footage – with Andy Del Barco on camera for the black and white footage, also not credited in the titles – and edited the footage in for the final cut.

I’m not so sure Boris or the class liked the film I turned in at the end of the semester. I think they thought I had not translated the script to screen. He awarded a ‘B’ to me. Boris also gave me two pieces of great advice during that semester, advice I’ve remembered in all my creative endeavors. Boris told me to never mock my work, and to never let anyone mock my work. Boris also told me to make sure that my messages are accessible to everyone (not just to my friends or to some small group) by making aware artistic choices.

The motivation to finish the film was made more urgent by my being in an abusive relationship. After I graduated from NYU, I returned to my hometown. My first job out of college was as a host at a restaurant. I got involved with the chef. Eventually he hit me. It was hard to leave him. My last night working at the restaurant, he created a dessert for me, and named it after me. By going back to NYC to finish my film, I could force myself to leave a man who was abusive. And it worked. I never stayed in an abusive relationship again. And I finished my film.

What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
That it was a creative and DIY way to showcase films made by women! In retrospect, I see Joanie 4 Jackie as a cinema-zine that expresses the punk rock feminist zeitgeist then, and now.

What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
riot grrrl and zines

What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m a professor who teaches aesthetics, and creative writing. I make short films on my iPhone, my digital canon that my best friend found on the street, and on my PXL toy camera. I write and make art, including zines. My current projects are zine mixtapes, which are oral histories in zine and mixtape format with women in music, specifically riot grrrls and groupies.

Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
Films and videos! Interviews with the filmmakers and actors and crew.