interview

30. Lily Baldwin: It’s Not My Own Trip by Elaine Sheldon

Lily Baldwin is a New York-based filmmaker and dancer that uses movement of the body and unconventional narrative structures to tell human stories. Her short films (Sea Meadow, A Juicebox Afternoon, Sleepover LA, and Swallowed) have played at festivals like SXSW, Berlinale EFM, and the Lincoln Center and been featured on NOWNESS, Short of the Week, Fandor, Filmmaker Magazine, and Vimeo Staff Picks. Lily fell into filmmaking when she was performing as a professional dancer in David Byrne’s two year world tour Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Lily often writes, choreographs, directs, edits and plays the leading role in her films, seeking to “rip things up” with both graceful and rigid moments and scenes made up of bold, jarring edits. In other scenes, she’s simply another human on the street, walking with the rest of us. Lily is a Sundance Fellow with her upcoming VR project in collaboration with Saschka Unseld, Through You. She’s about to start shooting her first feature, Glass, a stalking thriller based on a real experience about a dancer and an insidious fan in our privacy-gone world. Lily talks about the rigor and commitment of dancers, coming into film as a “second career”, the responsibility she feels as an artist to pull from her own experiences and educate, and “working your buns off” to be the ultimate version of yourself.

I think we have a responsibility to mine what we know. It’s great to make up stories and live in imagination but I feel like I can do a better job with something I’ve been through. Life is unlived, for me, if I don’t peel off the layers.
 

MUSIC in this episode is by Michelle Blades. Listen to her music on Bandcamp or on Midnight Special Records' Soundcloud, and take a peek at her Tumblr.

Songs you heard: Subtropical Suburban, Crush! I Went to Your Party from the album Ataraxia // Le Bois, Lava Boy, Swallowing Truths & River Rocks, Yellow Petaled Coast from the album Songs From Another's Bed // My Grimey Dreams, I'll Let in the Outside Noise from the album & // 10th and Wilson Score off the EP Nah, See Ya // Making Friends In The Dark, It All Ends Here off the album Cold Shoulders

 

Name: Lily Baldwin

Current City: New York

What are you listening to now? I just went throwback on myself and have been listening pretty nonstop to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? There are too many to fit into this white box, but if I look at my bookshelf right this second, I'm going to say: Eadweard Muybridge's pictures and Murder She Wrote -- Jessica Fletcher is one of my favorite protagonists.

Who is your career role model? Cindy Sherman -- she's self taught, fearless about changing herself and isn't afraid to be ugly in her work.

What is a tool you can't live without? A Panasonic boombox from the 80's that I listen to NPR on.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Coffee-- a super dark, greasy brew with a dash of cream

What's your spirit animal? Wolf.

Updates?  I'm thrilled to be premiering my short film Swallowed as part of the upcoming omnibus feature project, Collective:Unconscious, at SXSW as the first ever omnibus feature in competition! Next on the horizon this year is gearing up to shoot my first feature GLASS, a thriller inspired by a true stalking story. I'm also going to be directing a VR project, Through You, with Saschka Unseld in collaboration with Sundance. And on less immediate burners, I'm cooking up two episodic series!

 

 

CLIPS USED IN SHOW:

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover
  • Production Assistance by Alijah Case

29. Almudena Toral: Focusing My Energy by Elaine Sheldon

From left to right: Elaine Sheldon (She Does), Almudena Toral (Univision), Sarah Ginsburg (She Does), Maylin Colmenares (WOMANMAY) at Film Gate in Miami, Florida.   RELATED LINKS    Almudena's Website    Interview on ReportHers    Vimeo    Twitter

From left to right: Elaine Sheldon (She Does), Almudena Toral (Univision), Sarah Ginsburg (She Does), Maylin Colmenares (WOMANMAY) at Film Gate in Miami, Florida.

RELATED LINKS

Almudena's Website

Interview on ReportHers

Vimeo

Twitter

Almudena Toral is a Spanish visual journalist and the head of video at Univision News Digital in Miami. Prior to working for Univision, Almudena freelanced worldwide and worked at The New York Times and TIME. Her work has been published by The Guardian, VICE, AlJazeera, Huffington Post, El País, Canal+ and other outlets. She's the recipient of a 2013 Pictures of the Year International Award of Excellence – Multimedia Photographer of the Year. 

Her work has received accolades from the Emmys, National Press Photographers Association, the World Cup of Photography, and The Deadline Press Club. Almudena is passionate about multi-platform storytelling, human rights, health and gender issues, the global south and immigration policy, among others. 

In this episode, she talks about Univision News Digital’s goal to serve Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S., the benefits of being a woman in journalism, covering heroin addiction in Tanzania, and her many lessons learned as a freelance video and photojournalist. 

Almudena gives great advice on pitching stories. Most importantly, she encourages artists and journalists to be flexible with the ability to do many things, but to really specialize in and master one thing.


MUSIC BY: WOMANMAY

WOMANMAY is the solo project of Maylin Colmenares. Venezuelan-bred and Miami-based guitarist and vocalist. We were lucky to have Maylin open the live show at Film Gate for us. Stick around at the end of this episode to hear a short interview with her. We’ve sprinkled songs from WOMANMAY'S latest album Ahi Ahi throughout this recording.

 

27. Alexis Wilkinson: Let Me Work It Out by Elaine Sheldon

Alexis Wilkinson went from being the first black woman President of Harvard’s acclaimed humor publication, The Lampoon, to writing for HBO’s hit comedy series, “Veep.” She’s become an outspoken public figure and writer--with work featured in Slate, Opening Ceremony and TIME--but as we know, big victories such as these don’t come without a lot of work, a few disruptions and some twists and turns in the road. In this episode, Alexis recalls her experiences of “comping” or trying out for The Lampoon multiple times, finding her place in the middle of an elitist institution, losing her best friend and working to create media that represents this diverse world as it actually is. Her response to naysayers? Laughter. And this is why she chose comedy. Music in this episode is by Chargaux.

The best thing you can do when the unexpected happens is to laugh at it. That’s the best outcome. You either get angry or you laugh at it.
— Alexis Wilkinson
 

Name: Alexis Wilkinson

Current City: Los Angeles, California

What are you listening to now? "I Wanna Boi" by PWR BTTM

What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? I've gotten really into the director Alexander Payne lately. "Citizen Ruth" is a great movie. I've been thinking a lot about smart satire and treating "unlikable" characters with compassion and that film does an amazing job of both.

Who is your career role model? Shonda Rhimes

What is a tool you can't live without? My foundation primer by BECCA! My skin is oily like an empty bag of chips without it. I also have a Mophie phone charging case that has changed my life.

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Milk and sugar if I'm relaxed. Black if I'm getting down to business.

What's your spirit animal? House cat: attractive, inflated sense of importance, adaptable, rude

Updates? We're finishing up shooting the last episodes of Veep, which everyone should check out! The new season premieres the 24th of April. I've got a couple projects in both film and TV that are moving forward, but it's a bit too soon to tell. Fingers crossed!

CREDITS:

  • Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon
  • Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
  • Illustration by Christine Cover

 

MUSIC in this episode is by Charly & Margaux of CHARGAUX. Visit their website, purchase their music on iTunes and check out their MusicMaker episode Wednesday, February 17th. 

Songs you heard: Lullaby (feat. Soft Glas), Tell William, I'm So Pretty from the album Broke & Baroque // All The Parties, Lone Ranger, Great Expectations from the album The Gallerina Suites


23.5 Julianna Barwick: She Does Music by Elaine Sheldon

MUSIC FEATURED IN EPISODE 23

Curated by Elaine Sheldon

Julianna Barwick's truly unique music is built around multiple loops and layers of her voice. Her experimental songs feel spontaneous, sometimes meandering, and always emotional. Julianna has lived in NYC for over 14 years, but she was born and raised in the South--in Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma. She grew up singing in choirs at church and school, which has clearly had a lasting influence on her work. 2015 was an exciting year for her; she's finishing up her next album, she played with the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass at Carnegie Hall, and toured in Japan. 

In this episode, we talk about how her work has changed over the years, the collaborations she has worked on, what it's like to play piano for Yoko Ono, and why it's important to teach yourself new skills and be nice to people.

Julianna was the musicmaker from last week’s episode with Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli.


When people ask me to describe my music I still get tongue-tied and don’t really know how to answer it, or classify it, in any normal kind of way. For me it’s about the joy of making stuff.
— Julianna Barwick

17. Pamela Ribon: Finding Your Own Fun by Elaine Sheldon

Pamela Ribon is a television writer, screenwriter, best-selling novelist and all around hilarious human. She’s been a writer in comedy rooms for both network and cable television and is the author of four novels. NPR called her new memoir, Notes to Boys, “brain-breakingly funny.” Pamela has developed original series and features for ABC, ABC Family, Warner Bros., Disney Channel and 20th Century Fox Productions. She recently finished working on a feature for Walt Disney Animation Studios and she’s currently writing for Sony Pictures Animation on an upcoming feature. Pamela started writing on the web in 1998, before most people even knew what a blog was. She has been building her audience ever since, breaking the internet with “Barbie F*cks It Up Again,” among other posts. We talk about standup comedy, how to make your work go viral, and why it’s important to mind your our beeswax and find your own fun.

Wanting what other people have will never get you what you want, because you’re not spending time finding your own fun. It’s not fun to be jealous of people and it’s such a waste of time, because nobody has the same story. You can take the craziest route if you just follow what’s interesting to you.
— Pamela Ribon

RELATED LINKS:

Name: Pamela Ribon

Current City: Los Angeles

What are you listening to now? Podcasts: Scriptnotes, The Dinner Party Download, Pop Culture Happy Hour, Extra Hot Great

What film piece of media changed you? The Family Ties episode "A, My Name is Alex." It was an hour-long "very special" episode about Alex going to therapy after the sudden death of a close friend. Shot like a play, Alex moved in and out of the set, talking to an unseen therapist while playing out scenes with his family and friends. Seeing a sitcom tackle something so serious, mixing comedy with drama, letting Michael J Fox "act" so hard, completely blew my young mind. Comedy could help? Comedy could get serious? A sitcom could make me cry? I still remember jokes from it, so it also made me laugh. Because this episode is such a long ago memory, I originally assumed this epiphany happened only to me, but I've met more than one writer who also named this episode as an important moment in their young lives. Wikipedia says it won a shit-ton of awards, so I guess it wasn't just us kids knowing it was a good. 

Who is your career role model? Tina Fey, John Waters, Penn Jillette, Peggy Olson, Bjork, Leslie Knope.

What is a tool you can't live without? Spotify

How do you drink your coffee/tea? Black

What's your spirit animal? Hello Kitty. It used to be Batz Maru. I am evolving.

Any updates since we interviewed you? I'm currently writing a feature for Sony Animation and a comedy pilot for the Disney Channel. Everything else is under various NDAs.


MUSIC FEATURED IN SHOW:

Music this week is by Springtime Carnivore

Listen to Episode 17.5 with Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore!

TRACKS: Karen Bird’s Themes, Talk To Me Slow, Last One To Know, Foxtrot Freak, Collectors, Western Pink, Name on a Matchbook, Low Clouds, Two Scars

 

CREDITS:

Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg

Sound design by Billy Wirasnik

Illustration by Christine Cover

Production Assistance by Alijah Case

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Good Morning America Barbie Segment 1 & 2

Barbie Commercial "Cut & Style Barbie"

 

14. Caitlin FitzGerald: A Very Specific Kind of Femininity by Elaine Sheldon

Caitlin FitzGerald, writer and actor, is one of Hollywood’s emerging talents. She may be best known for her role as Libby Masters on Showtime Network’s “Masters of Sex.” The series, which is currently in its third season, is set in the late 1950s and is a drama centered around the true story of the pioneers of the science of human sexuality. You may have also seen Caitlin in feature films “It’s Complicated,” “Damsels in Distress” and “Newlyweds,” and TV shows including, “Gossip Girl,” “How to Make It In America,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Additionally, Caitlin co-wrote and starred in the feature film, “Like The Water,” which was filmed in her hometown of Camden, Maine. Caitlin talks about the ups and downs of Hollywood and her love of live theatre. She encourages you to choose yourself, remove “weakness” from your vocabulary and live for the journey, rather than the “I made it” moments. She’s a thoughtful soul that is sure to make you appreciate the role of an actor in our society.


Name: Caitlin FitzGerald

Current City: Los Angeles

DOB: 8/1983

Current Gig: "Masters of Sex" on Showtime

What are you listening to? Fink, Alabama Shakes, and Bob Marley. I love the Moth radio hour and and I really appreciated Marc Maron's interview with Obama on his podcast.

What piece of media changed you? So so many. I am currently reading a book by Marion Woodman called 'Conscious Femininity' that's blowing my mind. 

Who is your career role model? I love anyone who seems to be marching to the beat of their own very specific drum. Tilda Swinton comes to mind. 

What is a tool you can't live without? My aeropress coffee maker and Stitcher. 

How do you take your coffee/tea? Coffee with Half-and-Half 

What's your spirit animal? A lot of people have compared me to birds, which may be a slightly unkind comment on the way I look. I like to fancy myself more of a lioness. 

Any news or updates? I shot a film called 'Always Shine' with an amazing couple of filmmakers Sophia Takal and Lawrence Lavine last fall that I'm really excited about. It is just getting completed and will be hitting festivals next year. Another film I'm in called 'Manhattan Romance' will be getting released this fall! 

Related Links:


Historically we’ve always needed actors in the world because we need to see ourselves, and that feels honorable to me. That’s the thing I come back to when I get lost in clothing and red carpets and nonsense.
— Caitlin FitzGerald

Music Featured in Show: 

Our featured musicmaker is Nona Marie Invie, who is part of the bands listed below. Tune in on 7/22 when we release a mini episode featuring Nona and read more about her here.

Dark Dark Dark

  • Who Needs Who (album): Meet In The Dark (song)
  • Wild Go (album): Daydreaming, Something For Myself (songs)
  • Flood Tide (Original Soundtrack): Dragged By The Moon, Building, Bike Ride, Flood, On The Water (songs)

RONiiA 

  • RONiiA (album): Last Words, Bellz (songs)

Anonymous Choir

  • From Album II: This Woman’s Work

Credits

PRODUCED by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine Sheldon

SOUND DESIGN by Bradford Krieger of Hanging Horse Studio

ILLUSTRATION by Christine Cover

11. Kat Cizek: Making Everything From Scratch by Elaine Sheldon

Kat Cizek is an innovative documentary storyteller who works across many media platforms. She’s currently the director of the National Film Board of Canada’s multi-year project entitled HIGHRISE, which examines life inside residential skyscrapers in suburbs around the world. Since it launched in 2009, HIGHRISE has generated interactive documentaries, mobile productions, live presentations, installations and films that have garnered Emmys, a Peabody, Webby Awards and recognition from the World Press Photo and IDFA Doc Lab, among others. Kat and the NFB just released the latest and final HIGHRISE project, “Universe Within,” that explores people’s digital lives online. We spoke to Kat about her life growing up in Waterloo in the late 60’s  after her parents escaped the Russian invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia. Kat talks about being at the frontlines of the Oka Crisis in Canada, a defining moment in her career and first-nations history in Canada. And her nearly 11 year relationship with the National Film Board of Canada through the Filmmaker in Residence and Highrise projects. Kat encourages us to explore new and meaningful ways to approach technology, and challenges us to evaluate our methods and ethics as storytellers.

I have been preoccupied with the role of the subject for most of my working life. It’s about understanding that a subject isn’t a subject. A subject is an agent in their own world and how can we work together to create interesting media that will contribute positively in this community. Too often we get so enamored with the technology that we forget about that.
— Kat Cizek

Name: Katerina Cizek

Current City: Toronto, Canada

DOB: 10/19/1969

What are you listening to now? Tanya Tagaq Animism

What film changed you? Opened your eyes? Vertov's silent film 'Man With a Movie Camera" (1929) The first great example of the power of the edit. It's documentary plus. About the city, about the camera, about the street. about revolution. I love Cinematic Orchestra's live re-scoring of it too.

Who is your career role model? Alanis Obomsawin. I first saw her behind the barricades in 1990, when the Canadian Army had surrounded the First Nations community of Kanesatake. I was there as a student photojournalist, she was there with her camera crew, shooting her masterpiece documentary series about the crisis. Seeing her there inspired me to become a documentarian. Years later, I made a short digital documentary piece and a short film about her. 

What is a tool you can't live without? Long Johns--I'm Canadian.

How do you take your coffee/tea? Tea. Black.

What's your spirit animal? Owl

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Russia Invades Czechoslovakia

Leonard Cohen "Suzanne"

Seeing Is Believing

Challenge for Change NFB (1 & 2)

Filmmaker In Residence NFB

HIGHRISE: Out My Window

HIGHRISE: One Millionth Tower

HIGHRISE: A Short History of the Highrise 

HIGHRISE: Universe Within

Večerníček (Czech Animation)

CREDITS

PRODUCED by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg

SOUND DESIGN by Billy Wirasnik

MUSIC FEATURED IN SHOW: Our featured musicmaker this week is Audrey Ryan. Download her music on Bandcamp. Read our interview with her here.

Let's Go To The Vamp (album)

  • Oh The Ego
  • Snibber
  • Holding Back

Sirens (album)

  • Casiotone
  • Lift Me Up

I Know, I Know (album)

  • Are You Sleeping
  • Alright
  • I know I know
  • So Afraid
  • Maybe

Dishes & Pills (album)

  • People

10. Bianca Giaever: Always Talk to Strangers by Elaine Sheldon

Bianca Giaever is a radio producer, filmmaker and our youngest guest to-date. You may have heard her on RadioLab or This American Life or seen her short films on NPR, New York Times or featured as Vimeo Staff Picks. She recently won a Webby for "Videos 4 U" a new series she’s heading for This American Life. In this episode, Bianca talks about her inherited curiosity and inclination to talk to strangers as well as how her personal life, questions and struggles influence the themes of her work. We talk about the paralyzing effect of your first successful project, the fogginess of the sophomore slump and how to be patient instead of forcing an idea. She's a delight and full of contagious energy that is sure to make you want to throw yourself out there and make work.


Name: Bianca Giaever

Current City: Brooklyn, NY

Current Gig: This American Life / Videos 4 U

DOB: 4/1990

What are you listening to right now? Reply All

What piece of media inspired you? Joe Frank radio stories

Who is your career role model? Jay Allison

What's one tool you can't live without? Tape recorder

How do you take your coffee? Milk and sugar

What's your spirit animal? Still waiting for their arrival

Any updates since we interviewed you? Finishing up a couple stories at This American Life, then doing some soul searching about what to do next. The first video in the series just won a Webby.

Having a tape recorder is just an excuse to be able to ask these questions that I’m really wondering about and struggling with. I guess what’s served me best is to just share things about myself and that’s always led to great conversations that have been genuinely helpful to me. It’s created deep relationships between me and the person I’m interviewing. It’s a great lesson that when you share something about yourself people are usually grateful and willing to share something back.
— Bianca Giaever

CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:

Holy Cow Lisa

The Scared Is Scared

Wake Up Now (TAL)

Dear Hector (RADIOLAB)

Horrible Day  (Sonic ID)

I Love You: Video Series for TAL

For Sale: by Jay Allison

A Milkshake Experiment (NPR)

Crush

Dinner With Strangers

War InVoice

 

CREDITS

PRODUCED by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg

SOUND DESIGN by Billy Wirasnik

 

HELP US BRING YOU SEASON 2:

MUSIC FEATURED IN SHOW:

Our featured MusicMaker this week is Lira Mondal of Boston-based band, Mini Dresses. Read our interview with Lira here.

Featured from EP FOUR: 

  • Center of a Room, Me and Mine, Are You Real, Bracelets

Featured from EP THREE: 

  • Other Ones, Been Out for Days, In Two, Strangers

Featured from EP TWO:

  • Watching You

Featured from EP HOT SUN:

  • Post Office Girl, Just Go

Featured from EP SUMMER Recordings:

  • Tide Pools, Comfortable

Featured from EP Emmi // Tom and I:

  • Emmi