June 19, 2014
Jasmine McGlade is an award-winning filmmaker who lives in Venice, CA and Colorado Springs, CO. She graduated Harvard in 2007 where she produced the critically acclaimed feature film “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” (one of the New York Times best films of the year) written and directed by Damien Chazelle. Jasmine’s directorial debut, “Maria My Love,” starring Karen Black, premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews. To learn more about Jasmine, please visit www.jasminemcglade.com.
Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What made you want to participate in this project?
You! And the fact that Mollie puts us in touch — she’s someone I admire and trust implicitly. I also try not to turn down opportunities that speak to me. And this certainly did. Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to interfere with the greater plan. You never know who or what is meant to come into your life and why. Besides, it’s always an honor to be able to create art and share it with audiences. And this was a project that forced me to make the film entirely myself, with no budget, and very little time. I welcomed that opportunity to return to my first days with a video or still camera when I was just exploring and had no externally or self-imposed limitations. No awareness of “shoulds.” Just a nascent eye. Taking away my ability to record and edit sound was also a great relief.
Who was hearing the music? (Ex. you now? you as a child? you grandfather? The earth? The sky? A place? A time? Etc)
Definitely me, now.
What part of the song informed you’re interpretation the most?
The tone and emotion.
What was the song about for you? (story? memory it evoked? emotion?)
Memory. Nostalgia. Heartache. Regret. Reminiscence. Loss — of time, relationships. The difficulty of moving on.
What part of your film came to you first? What was your initial image or concept?
At first I had an idea. It was very experimental in nature and didn’t feature any people. But the concept and specific ideas came from my brain, not my heart. And not from an actual interpretation of the song. It was the film I wanted to make. My will trying to force itself into the project. But I kept getting this image of a young woman, going in and out of focus, remembering a past relationship. And looking in the mirror. And I realized I had to run with it. I knew I wanted the camera to be roving. Constantly going in and out of focus. Soft. Handheld. No lights. Just what existed in the space. The piece grew as I shot. And I decided to move quickly. I shot everything in a couple of hours over two days. And as soon as I had my footage the editing process went quickly. I knew the story I wanted to tell as soon as I went in to play. It was just about choosing which images to serve that story. I didn’t use any affects whatsoever. No color correction. No fades. No editing tool tricks. Just raw footage cut together.
If you had one word to sum up the piece?
How do you normally create a film? How was this experience different?
Recently my projects have all been narrative, starting with a script. I then combine improvisation with the written scenes and dialogue when I shoot. This project was different because I didn’t write a script for it and it felt very much like a school exercise in the best of ways. It really reminded me of my days in the Visual and Environmental Studies department at Harvard where I got my most influential filmmaking training. One of my favorite classroom exercises that my early mentor Robb Moss assigned was a light journal. We shot on bolex film cameras and our assignment was to perceive and capture light. The piece was also silent. It was such a beautiful experience. Sometimes I long to just capture beautiful images and moments. Other times that leaves me feeling empty and I know that more traditional (albeit art-house) filmmaking is my calling.
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation? How did you transform this song into a visual piece? (Film strategy/props/people/images)
It was a very intuitive process. My eye scanning a room and looking for what I felt served the piece in terms of tone and mood. I shot in my childhood home in Colorado so all the props and locations were emotionally loaded for me already.
Who was the woman in this piece? What was her story?
She was a young woman bittersweetly remembering an old relationship. She’s torn about the relationship itself. She still feels heartache and loneliness and love. But on the other hand she knows there’s something else out there for her. And so she’s in a kind of Purgatory. Her wounds haven’t yet healed and she’s not quite able to move on. The memories aren’t all good. They aren’t all bad. But because she’s not yet in another relationship, and hasn’t yet gotten over this past one, her mind is constantly in the past, not the present. And so she’s missing out on life. She’s hurting herself the more she allows her mind to wander to past memories. I set it at Christmas and decided one of her most prized possessions is an ornament she was given by this boy. And so her mind is especially on him at this time of year. At the end she wraps a present… either for herself or for him. The recipient is purposefully ambiguous. My hope is simply to convey an emotion with this piece. Not to make every viewer understand all the specifics of the narrative that I had in mind.
Are there certain choices you made in your creation that the viewer might not otherwise know?
The actress in the piece is my sister, Grace McGlade. I think she has this amazing face, and angular nose. She reminds me of one of Julia Margaret Cameron’s subjects. I knew she would be able to tap into the exact emotions I was going for.
Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project?
Yes! If given the chance to do it again I would. Though I would love to try contributing a still photograph. Thank you again for the opportunity!