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AFI Women Directors: Meet Jillian Mayer

Interviews
by Kerensa Cadenas
November 12, 2013 9:00 AM
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"#PostModem," a short film produced in Miami.

Jillian Mayer steeps her artistic practice in the verisimilitude of a generation that came of age in the 1980s. Her video works have premiered at galleries and museums internationally and at film festivals including SXSW and Sundance. She was recently featured in Art Papers and in ArtNews discussing identity, the Internet and her artistic practices and influences. She is a recipient of the South Florida Cultural Consortium's Visual/Media Artists Fellowship 2011, Cintas Foundation Fellowship 2012, and was named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine. This year she has been awarded the Elsewhere Museum/NEA Southern Constellation Fellowship, Zentrum Paul Klee Fellowship (Bern, Switzerland) and the Sundance Institute's New Frontier Story Lab fellowship. (Mayer's site)

#PostModem is playing AFI as a part of the shorts program.

Women and Hollywood: Description of the film:

Jillian Mayer: #PostModem is a comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. #PostModem is the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told through a series of cinematic tweets. It is also the concept sketch for a feature film that we are currently in pre-production with.

WaH: What drew you to this story?

JM: I wrote it with my often collaborator Lucas Leyva because we started to get more and more interested in futurist theories and started to fall deeper in love with our phones and computers.

WaH: What was the biggest challenge?

JM: One of our largest props did not fit in the studio so we had to cut it in half, fold it like a taco and shove it through the door. Also, riding a Jet Pack thirty feet up in the air without clothes is a challenge.

WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?

JM: Don't let anything but your talent affect your success. People will be engaged in your work if it is good, interesting or challenging. There are many amazing female directors that made work in more skewed times so we should be thankful for the boundaries they pushed through. Also, befriend the other female directors that make work that you respect. I have met some of my best friends through film festivals in the last few years.

WaH: What are the biggest challenges and or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?

JM: A young artist can become popular more quickly with the Internet providing instant access to ones work. That might lead to more opportunity and an accelerated career. But it seems as if funding may be harder to come by and filmmakers are being prompted to give away their work for free in hopes to become part of the conversation.

Everyone is always trying to figure out the future of film distribution. I try and not spend too much time worrying about things like this and just try to focus on making the best work I can to entertain me and my friends.

WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.

JM: There are many to choose from but recent inspirations have been Sun Don't Shine by Amy Seimetz and A Teacher by Hannah Fidell.

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