THE STAMP, 10min., USA, Comedy
Directed by Sharon Mayo
A satire on how to complete a task within government bureaucracy.
I graduated from NYU University in 2001 and ended up working in post production for 15 years in different spaces -- the government space, the corporate space and the broadcast space just to name a few.
One of my most infuriating jobs was for a government contractor. I'm a woman with a high work ethic who likes to get tasks done in the most efficient manner to make the most of my time. This short film is based upon my experiences of being too much of a go-getter, too ambitious, too much in general for a government space. When I tried to conform to the job, I found myself miserable and felt that my talents were being wasted.
In retrospect, I now realize the importance of working in an environment that encourages innovation and imagination is key to uplifting society as a whole.
I made this film to highlight three main statements:
1. Your environment can kill your creativity and imagination if you stay within it long enough.
2. There's a reason why the energy at the DMV or the Post Office can be somewhat suicidal and,
3. A new job may promise money for financial freedom but can be at the cost of your mental health.
Wrap this all up in a package (where my strengths are in post and improvisational comedy) and the results are the short film satire, The Stamp.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film? I used to be a government contractor and one day, the person who did a specific task was out for the day. I thought I was doing everyone a favor when I decided to do it myself so I can finish my assignment early. Apparently not. I was told that I was threatening other people's job for going above and beyond, so I wanted to examine that under a comedic lens.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film? This took about a year. I came up with the idea in September/October 2021 when I started graduate school, we shot it in late January or March -- I don't recall because our shoot was postponed twice. First, our lead actor got strep and I didn't want to recast. Then, New York was hit with omicron variant of COVID, so we had to reschedule again for everyone's safety. Then, post and audience feedback started my second year at Columbia and now, I'm trying to figure out how to navigate the festival circuit for the first time.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!? Save Yourself.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film? I didn't back up my footage and my drive died! So ALWAYS backup your footage. I had to cobble together the rough cut exports and recut it somehow that it wasn't completely a waste of everyone's time. However, using a second generation of footage affected the look of the film. I was hoping audiences will forgive the technical misgivings if they are entertained by the story.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? I can't believe a bunch of strangers who don't know me or these actors think this is funny! And they understood the story I was trying to tell. It's nerve-racking when you start showing films to people who have no idea who you are.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films? When I realized I am one of those people that has something to say. Doing it through film was the best way to communicate to a vast audience.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life? Seven by David Fincher
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career? What this program is doing is already great. I guess, where to go from here? Other festival suggestions?
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site? Great.
10. What is your favorite meal? A full dinner at Mama's Fish House in Maui, Hawaii. I had the best dinner of my life there and that was a decade ago.
11. What is next for you? A new film? I'm a creative producing concentrate, so primary focus is graduation. I'm currently in preproduction on two thesis films -- a western with two lady outlaws and a workplace musical.