Es gibt viele Filme, die sich gern mit dem Label “Indie” schmücken. Nicht alle von ihnen sind in der Tat so unabhängig entstanden, wie die von Kurt Voss und Allison Anders. Die beiden machen bei ihren Produktionen fast alles selbst – und arbeiten dabei mit jungen Filmenthusiasten wie Elyse Hollander zusammen. In Voss und Anders neuestem Film Strutter spielt sie Cleo, beste Freundin und Love-Interest der Hauptfigur. Im echten Leben ist sie selbst Filmemacherin und studiert an der UCLA. Wir haben mir ihr über das Filmemachen vor und hinter der Kamera gesprochen – und über ihre Eindrücke von München.
Elyse, 22, is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Film and Television where she majored in Film Directing. Elyse was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of two film and tv editors, and grew up on films by Woody Allen, Francois Truffaut, and Agnes Varda. Elyse is currently working on her thesis film “Nikolai” produced at UCLA.
Check out her short “An Ode to Demons” the shooting of which is featured in “Strutter”:
How would you describe your role in “Strutter”?
In “Strutter” I play “Cleo” a film buff/nerd who works at a silent film theater who aspires to make her own films. Cleo is also secretly in love with “Brett” (Flannery Lunsord), but is stuck in the friend zone helping Brett recover from his breakup with his long time girlfriend. As a supporting actress and eventual love interest in the film, Cleo character provides an earnest and sensitive female counter part to Brett’s hard rock and roll antics.
You are not an actress, how did you come to play in the movie?
I first met director Allison Anders at the University of California Santa Barbara in a screen writing workshop, but really got to know her through my good friend and star of the film Flannery Lunsford, who went to U.C.S.B with me and was also Allison’s Teaching Assistant. Flannery and I became better friends at school where he would play house shows with his band “Brandy Knights” and come on my radio show “Folktronica.” Eventually Flannery even starred in a short film I produced called “Love Fool” in which he played a punk rocker, not to far from his true rocker self. One thing led to another when Allison asked Flannery to star in her movie…
If you had to describe “Strutter” in about three sentences, what would that read like?
“Strutter” is film about young 20 somethings in L.A who grew up watching too many old movies and listening to one too many love songs. Its a film about cynics who are really just failed romantics, who are trying to find themselves and their artistic voices in the process. As much as this film is about music and musicians, I also think “Strutter” is about the desert, L.A and Joshua Tree. People get lost in the desert, but in the process they end up finding themselves, which I believe is the journey that Flannery’s character and many others take.
In “Strutter” there is a scene showing you shooting a short film on 16mm. That film actually got made, right?
Yes, it is my short film “An Ode to Demons” starring Flannery Lunsford and Sara Ashley – my attempt of paying tribute to Jean Cocteau’s 1946: “La Belle et la Bête”. This was my first film that I personal shot Kodak Black and White Reversal 16mm at UCLA’s Film School. It’s a very silly and whimsical film starring my two best friends, and it is simply about Sara’s character being captured by Flannery who is this Goat Demon living in the woods. We made a really cool plaster mold of Flannery’s face for the mask, which by accident, got stuck on his head for 45 min! Overall I have an obsession with misunderstood monsters and outsiders, so all my films, including this one, tend to have an outcast in some shape or form, looking for love and understanding. When I saw Strutter for the first time, I was actually shocked to see how much behind the scenes footage of me filming “An Ode to Demons” was actually in the film. I guess I was so stressed about not having a film permit and scared of park rangers that I zoned out Kurt and Allison filming.
What was it like working with Kurt Voss and Allison Anders?
I never thought of myself as an actor, but working with Kurt and Allison was such an amazing experience, they made me feel like I could do anything in front of the camera. They really know how to get to the heart of the scene while keeping things fresh and spontaneous. As someone who is more comfortable behind the camera, I really took it as a privilege to watch their directing and producing process on set. They really did everything. I mean everything. While some people throw the word “Indie” around regarding films made for 500,000 to 7 million with crews to 20 to 100 people, there was just the two of them. We had no trailers, no lighting kits, no catering, and no crew other than a sound mixer and Allison’s son Ruben. We wore all our own clothes, did our own make up, and used real locations, and I think because of that, “Strutter” has a really authentic feel to it that a lot of other “indie” films with bigger budgets lack. Allison and Kurt are simply very talented and authentic guerrilla filmmakers that know how to work new technology and the internet to their advantage when everyone else is stuck in the studio system.
What’s your impression of Filmfest München so far?
This is my first time in Germany and first time in Munich, and I am completely blown away by the city and the festival. I have never been so pampered and taken care of. The first night I arrived, a bunch of lovely interns and festival employees took me out for drinks and showed me around the city. The whole event so far has been magical.
I have to say so far, the highlight of the trip was drinking beer on this huge wooden raft. When I was told we would be taking a trip down a river, I imagined a small barge or boat. When we arrived I was shocked but pleasently surprised to see that they literally meant a wooden raft! Some people even jumped into the river, and Flannery played songs from the film on the boat for all the other international filmmakers there. It was really a great 4th of July for us Americans on the boat and an experience I’ll never forget.