Rebekah Fieschi Talks Film School, Filmmaking, and Personal Identity (Interview Part 2 of 2)
Since publishing Part One of our interview with filmmaker Rebekah Fieschi of Horromance Productions she has completed a successful Seed & Spark crowdfunding campaign for her dark fantasy short, Sylphvania Grove. In Part Two we talk about that experience, her award-winning short Mauvaises Têtes (Bad Heads), and her earlier films which are both dark, morbidly humorous, and deeply touching.
Hannah Neurotica: Last we spoke you were right in the middle of the crowdfunding campaign for Sylphvania Grove. The green light is lit and the campaign was both a success and stands out as a model example of how to run a campaign from beginning to end. Congratulations x 1000! My questions are: 1. With so many crowdfunding platforms out there what made you decide to go with Seed & Spark? 2. What are one or two pieces of advice you have for other filmmakers looking to have a successful campaign like yours?
Rebekah Fieschi: Thank you! It’s really strange being asked for advice as I still feel I’m in the learning process. I chose Seed&Spark for many reasons but the main one is that Seed&Spark doesn’t act simply as a platform but seems to really be an ally rooting for your success. It has free online classes about crowdfunding that help understand not only how to crowd-fund but also why you are crowdfunding. The first thought is “I need to crowd-fund because I need to finance my movie” but thanks to Seed&Spark I learned that the most overlooked part is the most important: to find and build one’s audience. The platform also offers feedback on your campaign before you launch it and it has perks if your campaign is successful, they actually reward you for succeeding, isn’t that amazing? Christina Raia, whom I met at your festival, is the one who brought Seed & Spark to my attention and then enlightened me with her “Crowdfunding to Build Independence Class.”
Advice wise I’d say don’t expect your crowdfunding success to fall from the sky because it won’t. It’s months of research, audience building and prepping before the launch, and during the campaign it’s a full time-job in addition to the full-time job you probably already have. Be prepared, it’s going to be a LOT of hard work and can sometimes be very frustrating but it can also be very rewarding, and again not just because of the funds. I have not only widened my audience through this process but I have also made new friends, new connections and collaborators and realized how very supportive some friends, family and colleagues are (and again – I don’t mean monetarily!).
Hannah: While watching the beautiful fantasy short Two Sisters (which readers can watch above) I kept wondering if Sylphvania Grove is in anyway a spiritual successor to this earlier film? And what was the first inspiration for the S.G. screenplay? Was it one of the characters, the overall story, the landscape? A dream?
Rebekah: Thank you for your kind words on Two Sisters. Actually no, I wouldn’t say that S.G. is a spiritual successor to T.S. They do have a lot of common of course but they are fundamentally very different. Both stories come from a very dark place but T.S. has sense of eternal hopelessness while hope is the main drive behind S.G. I first starting writing S.G. as a cynical critique on spoiled children and the responsibility of self-absorbed parents but I quickly realized that I sounded like a phony, the story was so impersonal it felt empty, meaningless and like a pale copy of something else. I didn’t discard it because I got attached to the main character and I didn’t want to abandon her in such a bad spot, so I began to put some of myself into her story and the screenplay became something completely different from what it originally was. Writing it was like a quest to find answers I’ve needed all my life.
Hannah: When googling the title of your film Mauvaises Têtes (Bad Heads) one of the images that came up was an old doll hospital with that name (which is so damn awesome). Did you come across this image one day or know about this doll hospital other ways and become inspired to write MT?
Rebekah: I think I know what image you are talking about, if it’s the one that says “on remplace les mauvaises têtes. ” I am madly in love with it! I actually saw it for the first time on a postcard stand in Paris early 2014, bought it and it has been in my MT folder ever since.
But it did not inspire the film (for which I first had the idea early in 2012), that is however where the tile comes from and it inspired a scene I ended up not being able to shoot and had to cut out of the script because it would required an extra day of shooting which I couldn’t afford. This image was helpful in many ways because it unlocked in my brain a few points I couldn’t make sense of, it sort of re-activated my imagination when it was stagnating.
Hannah: The Saddest Toast is incredible! The concept is simple, it’s funny, dark, and totally in theme with the struggle of womanhood. Tell us a little about the inspiration behind this simple yet visually cavernous piece.
Rebekah: Thank you!!! Well, along with Sharp Candy and three other micro-shorts, The Saddest Toast is a part of my “Suicide Series” which started from me really needing to make films, and wanting a way to keep practicing visual story-telling while being broke. Like I said during our previous discussion I was in a pretty bad place while making these, I was writing these silly, really, really bad, one or two line poems about women and suicide which then served as the basis for the shorts. The one behind The Saddest Toast was “Sofia’s brains went missing, When mixing toasting with ironing.” which then brought to my mind this image of a 50s housewife perpetually smiling and doing chores, mixed with my own feelings on perpetually smiling and doing chores which birthed the short. It’s quite ridiculous really, but it makes me laugh.
To keep up with the production of Sylphvania Grove and other projects from the fascinating mind of Rebekah Fieschi be sure to follow/like/love her various home online: