Jay Kay recently had the chance to talk with film maker Izzy Lee.
TT: Always fantastic to chat with you on any platform! Congratulations on the continued success with your short film work, most recently the Lovecraft-inspired INNSMOUTH with Tristan Risk, Diana Porter, Vera Schränkung, and Porcelain Dayla. With that short film, it now counts ten total, I believe. Most you have written, produced, directed and oh hell, you have just about done everything a complete filmmaker could do and be! Talk to me about taking on so many hats and the importance of learning that kind of multi-tasking, problem solving and leadership to continue creating critically acclaimed short films?
IL: Thanks, Jay. If you count a book trailer I made (Christopher Golden’s Snowblind) and a short I’m in post for, it’s 12. And there are more to come. It’s important to learn by doing. I don’t do most of the technical stuff—just doing what I do is more than enough. I haven’t gone to film school, and from some of what I hear, it’s not necessary, that you learn more just on set, making films. So I’m glad to say that I’ve had success without film school. I am visually oriented, having been an artist; I have a BFA in illustration, actually, but I’m a writer in my day job. You just have to work as much as you can; that’s when you really develop.
TT: All your short films have a message to tell whether through your very edgy and direct narratives, powerful performances and/or crafted visuals. How important is it to have a message or address an issue in each of your short films and is that powerful message your signature as a filmmaker?
IL: We have enough haunted house, zombie, and slasher films, so I choose to make something a bit more original with the propensity to make people think. Horror fans are really smart, and they’re always searching for something different—I’m one of them. I choose not to make dumb shit; you can see that at the multiplex or online. Yeah, it’s important. Live deliciously, bitch!
TT: As a growing filmmaker, you have to utilize all your resources in the area around you. Talk about what is and has been your most crucial resource for you and speaking of important resources, how important is the right camera for each short project?
IL: The best resource is always your crew. Find the best people you know and trust them. Ask them how to create certain looks or shots, and they’ll come up with suggestions or something cool you may not have even thought of. I leave the technical stuff up to my cinematographer, usually Bryan McKay, whom I trust complicity. We usually shoot on a DSLR of some kind, although with Invisible Friend, Michael J. Epstein used a Black Magic. The lenses are usually what matters more, but I’m not versed well in them to speak on that.
TT: Talk about the Boston film scene, talent, film festivals and community?
IL: The Boston Underground Film Festival and IFFB are the best festivals here. I used to be a programmer at BUFF, and that festival in particular is very nurturing toward
outsiders and risqué works of art. There’s a great community here, but it’s tiny. Most of our artists eventually have to leave, because Boston is honestly not that hospitable towards artists, regardless of all the press they give toward it. Artists have been pushed out of their homes here to make way for luxury condos and tech companies. And living here has become more expensive than LA, which two of my friends and core crew—Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola—are now moving to. I’m deeply considering the same.
TT: Your short films have garnered support, film festival selection, nominations and awards, talk about the mindset and feel seeing such respect and acceptance from fans, peers, critics and film festivals?
IL: It’s incredibly cool and a validation of my tiny little life. I never expected the response I’ve received. It’s nice, because I don’t have a choice: I can’t NOT make films, write, or create art. I’ve always been this way for as long as I can recall, and it takes a little of the existential edge off.
TT: For me, A FAVOR has been my favorite short film within your body of work, I believe it shows a very well rounded profile of you as a filmmaker. Which of your short films in your opinion, has shown you at the height of your filmmaking craft?
IL: It’s hard for me to judge, since I’m so close to my work. I enjoy all of them for different reasons. A Favor is great because I love comedy-horror, and Shaun Callahan’s performance in that film is spot-on. And the stairs and basement scenes were really fun to film and watch. However, both Postpartum, which will have its 32nd screening soon, and the Rondo-Innsmouth, in which Tristan Risk does something pretty incredible, are very close to my heart both story, craft, and image-wise.
TT: What is next for you? When will we see your first feature? Where can we find out more?
IL: I currently also have a short starring Tristan Risk, Diana Porter, and Sean Carmichael in post for an anthology. It’s actually the first project Tristan and I worked on together, which set the tone for Innsmouth. As for features, I’m currently co-writing one with my friend Chris Hallock (writer of A Favor, For A Good Time, Call… and my co-writer on Postpartum.). Francesco Massaccesi (my Innsmouth co-writer) may attempt to write an Innsmouth feature.
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5642855/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 FB: https://www.facebook.com/nihilnoctemfilm/
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