Interview with Director Alicia Slimmer
Alicia Slimmer's bold 80's inspired flick Creedmoria was one of MANIFF17's biggest hits, picking up the award for Best Production and Best Director. Creedmoria is Alicia's first feature film after previously stepping behind the camera for short film, My First Car.
Creedmoria has screened at a selection of festivals. What is the importance of the festival circuit to filmmakers?
Film festivals are everything to indie filmmakers like myself - without them, my film would likely never be seen. Take Manchester Film Festival, for instance where I made our UK premiere. You have a giant screen, a comfy theater and a great sound system, At Dances with Film Festival in Los Angeles, my film screened at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater on an iMax screen and the sound was off the charts. I joked that I didn't care if anyone liked the movie because I was LOVING it - so large and bright and loud.
Look, every filmmaker wants their film to be seen, bottom line. And today's distribution model is so about the dollar that many films, including big Hollywood movies, are foregoing a theatrical run and going straight to VOD. Film Festivals not only give us a chance to have a theatrical run, of sorts, but it also helps connect us with audiences and possibly, build up a following of fans.
You've described the film as indie to the core. What does Indie mean to you?
It means I made the movie I wanted to make. I have an epic soundtrack which everyone warned me of having because of the price tag. If it were 15 years ago, I don't doubt my film would've been picked up, distributed and packaged with the soundtrack. Artists like Cream, Traffic, The Cure, Tears for Fears, Pat Benator, Iggy Pop...I could go on. The music was, by far, the most expensive element of the movie for the film festival run. I licensed all these amazing songs for two years even though our festival run only went one. Now I'm swapping out the songs to prepare the movie for distribution. It's a bit bittersweet, I admit. But at least, for a good year, I had the chance to screen the movie I intended to make with festival audiences - and they LOVED the soundtrack. In fact, an audience member at Cinequest Film Festival, where I premiered, went and recreated the soundtrack on Spotify, called the Creedmoria playlist.
You were part of MANIFF17's Women in Film panel. What are the challenges facing women directors and do you think things are getting better?
I'm a die-hard optimist so YES things are getting better. I'm seeing so many initiatives with U.S. companies and places abroad where there's a mandate to hire more female directors. American powerhouse, Ryan Murphy proved he's for diversity by hiring more than fifty percent female directors on his shows. Female filmmakers have been doing that for some time - hiring all women crews. Groups like the Film Fatales share a growing database of crews-for-hire with many of the filmmakers seeking out only female crews. The issue became a national one a couple years ago and now that a light is shining on studios and production companies, the pressure is there to consider female cinematographers, directors, gaffers, editors, etc. The pressure needs to stay there until it isn't a "fresh thought" anymore to bring women in. It needs to be the norm.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to make their first film?
My advice to first-time filmmakers is to JUST DO IT! Don't wait until it feels like the right time. Don't wait until everything lines up perfectly in your mind. If you wait around for things like money, or an actor, or a location, you'll still be waiting. JUST DO IT.
To find out more about Alicia and Creedmoria follow this link: http://creedmoria.com/
For more info on the Film Fatales check out the website: http://www.filmfatales.org/