Interview with directors Shayna Strype & Ada Defriez

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

We both grew up making movies using hi-8 cameras with our siblings and have continued making movies ever since. 

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

Neither of us went to film school and have learned much of what we now know through trial and error on each of our projects. 

  • Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

The initial ideas flowed easily for us, but living on opposite coasts presented its own challenges. We set up weekly calls to prepare for the shoot, which helped us maintain our momentum. 

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

We learned that, as co-directors, we have different strengths that made this production possible. During the shoot, we gained a greater appreciation and understanding of each other’s capabilities. 

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

Due to our micro budget, our casting was limited to people in our immediate circle of friends, who were willing to donate their time by dressing up in costumes and dancing for hours on end.The original studio we had booked to film told us that our cast was over the capacity allowed in the space. Luckily, thanks to a cast member, we were given access to a better, cheaper space the day before our shoot.  

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

We had planned to use a take that was filmed on 35 mm film, but the framing wasn’t as tight as the digital format. We decided to choose the digital take, which provided a clearer narrative arc, but lacked the vintage look and feel that we loved in the film version. 

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

We have been best friends for many years and our creativity, humor, and love for one another have always been at the core of our friendship. Whenever we are together, we end up making something. The other members of our team are friends who we admire from all different areas of our lives. Each person on the team has their own projects and we volunteer to help when we can to continue the reciprocal cycle of collaboration. There is a mutual admiration and respect among all our collaborators that allow for a joyful and rewarding process. 

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

While we can’t speak for all audiences, we like to watch films that are innovative and life-affirming. As filmmakers, we hope to share something unique and expand on what is possible to create on screen. We strive to follow our own impulses and genuine curiosities, rather than consider any external expectations or recreate a regurgitated idea of a film that we’ve seen before. 

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

We are new to the film festival circuit and have been grateful to share our film across these platforms. These festivals allow people from all corners of the Earth to share their ideas, cultures, and aesthetics. Through this platform, DIY, small scale project, such as this one, can have a much further reach than it would otherwise.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style? 

Yes, it’s always invigorating to make or watch something that feels fresh and original, and it’s exciting to see what filmmakers can create within the confines of “classic cinema”.  There are limitless ways to tell a story and we look forward to discovering more innovative, daring approaches to storytelling.