CATHERINE IN LOVE, 3min., USA
Directed by Nikki (Nikila) Cole
On the verge of being banished from the French Royal Court for failing to provide an heir to the throne, Catherine de Medici has been taking lessons in the Art of Seduction. She needs to seduce her husband create a baby, or else!
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film? I have been researching the life of one of history's most misunderstood and maligned queens in history for a long time. When the opportunity came up to make a 2 minute film shot in Virtual Production on a Volume Wall with the DGC/Pixomondo/William F. White's workshop, I leapt at the chance to make a kind of Proof of Concept for the larger series.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film? Learning to direct in a whole new technology (believe me, it's way beyond Green Screen) under very tight time restrictions was crazy, ridiculous, and heavenly. Imagine having the opportunity to work with the Brain Bar Team behind Star Trek: Discovery and Mandalorian?? 7 other directors and myself worked alongside each other (we called ourselves unicorns). Through a rambunctious and wild 3 week prep period (for all of us). Then we were given a strict 2 hours (with time watch and everything) to shoot the films, one after another with the same actor pool (the actors were madly changing wardrobe, hair, makeup in the half hours between shoots). All during Covid with strict protocols – plus we had four live fire torches on set (yes we had a firemarshall) which were spewing thick black smoke and we had to take air breaks and change our masks every hour because they were totally blackened – I'm amazed we survived!)
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Exhilarating and inspiring.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film? Time Time Time! We were given the resources (almost everyone was a volunteer) but the organizers wanted to not only push the limits of the new technology, they wanted to see how quickly we could learn to work with it. Crazy but all of the 8 films came out beautifully ☺
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? Honestly, I broke into tears at the in depth analysis and understanding each audience member brought to the table. I felt like we were in a Q&A but had more than the usual allotted 20 seconds for an audience response. I can't thank you enough. When I posted them on FB – all of my Friends just loved them.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films? Wow! Long story. I was a dancer and choreographer for many years in Canada, London, and New York. I was so consumed with it (I ate, breathed, thought dance all day long my whole life), I assumed they'd roll me on stage at the end of my choreographies – decrepit and arthritic like Martha Graham. I'd take my bow and they'd roll me back out again, repeat , repeat, repeat, until I died. The shock was mine when, during a long injury recovery, I strolled through the West Village in New York to check out an intensive film class at NYU School of Continuing Ed (where Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, and Woody Allen went). My choreographies were very unusual at the time – I combined theatre, voice, comedy, dance and a lot of other whacky stuff that no one else was doing at the time. A dancer friend had said to me "you don't really make dances on stage – they are more like films". With not much else to do when I couldn't dance, my curiosity got me, and I decided to check it out. THAT WAS IT! From the moment I walked in the door at NYU, I knew I was HOME. The mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional explosions were palpable.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life? Good question. I don't re-watch films often – if so it's usually years later to see how time and my own life experiences alter my impressions of a great movie. I do, however, watch 2001 (or parts of it) as often as I can because it is still my favorite movie of all time.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career? I love screening films with audiences – there's nothing like being in the room with people to get a feeling of where they are breathing, laughing, getting distracted, etc. That probably comes from my performing days (there were many) and that special relationships one has with a live audience is amazing. But I do understand the realities and the way you put together the taped audience reactions was absolutely amazing! I never experienced this before and it (almost) made up for me not being able to be there 😉
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site? Fine – no probems at all.
10. What is your favorite meal? Too many to go into here. I love to eat and I love to travel. My favourite place to eat in the whole world is Singapore – the steet food 'hawkers' have the most amazing foods from many different Asian countries. There's also a fabulous Pakistani street food called Chaat that I love.
11. What is next for you? A new film? I have several projects on the horizon. Like all filmmakers, I consider them spinning plates: all at various stages of development and rates of spin, needing attention so they don't crash. With good luck and a whole lot of prayers, I hope to be shooting my next one very, very soon!