Art's a difficult thing, especially when you're focusing on anything with a contemporary bent. I've been walking through museums with various relatives, and when the pictures look like the things they're supposed to look like, it's easy; they get it. When things get abstract, thought, the going gets weird.
Shawn Wickens' Gloria on Art is almost exactly like walking through a museum with various aunts I've got.
Gloria, played with damn-near majestic dismissal by Jaqueline Fouasnon, walks through the lovely Socrates Sculpture Garden in Astoria, Queens. She is opinionated, hating on, or simply completely missing the point of, just about every work of art she encounters. In a way, it plays out like an exceptionally subtle SNL Digital Short, but at the same time, it's got a lot more substance due to the fact that Wickens chose to shoot in the actual sculpture garden, and included the real people who were there. That gives a certain authenticity to the film.
Shot in black-and-white, and running just about 2 minutes over a lovely suite from Bach, GLoria on Art has the feeling of wry comedic performance out in the wild, which is somehow more subversive than that performed on a stage. It's like we're out in the garden with her, and she's 'on' for the visit. It only makes the film that much more rewarding.
You can find out more about Shawn Wicken's work at http://shawnwickens.com/home/
Gina Carey is a singer, songwriter, author, playwright, and filmmaker whose debut feature is The Unexpected, based on her eBook and script. You can find out more about Gina Carey and her films at www.ginacareyfilms.com/
The Unexpected is your first feature film, and I see that it started as a play, became an eBook, and then settled down as a feature film. How did that journey happen? Would you mind walking us through your timeline?
Gina Carey - I wrote The Unexpected the script 2 years ago. Since then, I had a few character changes just to find the right person I felt would bring out the best of each character. Still, I wasn't satisfied, so I put the project on hold for about a year and a half. But, for some reason I couldn't get away from the script. It was almost like the story was supposed to be told. I just couldn't shake it. So one day I just decided to publish The Unexpected as an eBook .
The ebook received no less than 800 downloads within the first few months of its release . I was amazed by how many readers took interest in my story.
Later, I decided to revisit the idea of doing a live presentation as a stage play. I began casting again . After I finalized my cast, my pastors Eddie and Dawna Elguera of the Rock Church, Palm Desert CA were so supportive and we're willing to give me the rehersal space I needed at my church to perfect my play.
After the cast spent several months preparing, one of my main characters was unable to continue due to her foreseen overwhelming and demanding schedule.
So, not having my key character and having only a short time to pull it all together in a short period of time and decided to take lemons and make lemonade . That's how I came up with the decision to make it into a film.
You've created a rich set of characters in The Unexpected, each with a strong sense of self and purpose (even if that purpose may not always be honorable). How do you go about figuring out what your characters feel and how they react to each situation
GC - I just put own self in the position of thst character and think to myself, If I were this person how would I react to this particular situation. I create a profile for each character I add into my story and I literally have to almost become that character in order to help my actors understand their characters.
You wore many hats in the production, so it would seem to represent a singular vision. How do you approach the collaborative aspects of filming and performance? How do you know when to hold firm control and when to let go a little?
GC - My background is in music so I am used to taking my career into my own hands. I own my own label, write and produce my own music and promote it. I think that has trickled into every part of my life. I love being in control of my life.
I am very ambitious and a quick responder. It's very hard to find people who are equally passionate about my visions as I am, so I just do as much as I can without having to depend on anyone.
My script was written but I did allow my actors the ability to own their characters by giving them a bit of leeway in veering slightly from a word or two and maybe say a word they felt more comfortable with. I wanted them not to change the story but add more to the characters in their performances and they all brought the heat! I'm so proud of all of them! What a great cast
Does your personal faith play a role in your film?
GC - Most definitely, because I am a Christian, the type of movies I create reflect my moral values. I desire reach those who are without Christ with a message of hope, love, and forgiveness.
I know you're also a well-known singer and songwriter. Do you find that songwriting and writing for stage/screen are fundamentally different? Do you ever draw from one to use in the other?
GC - I think the similarities of music and film are that both are inspired by the need of the artist to share a story. The difference is that as an artist, I am solo and my individual art is on display, but doing a film, you're working behind the scenes to help others career flourish. I love both.
Who are the filmmaker and what are the films that you drew on to create The Unexpected?
I love the way christian films have progressed over the years in quality. The latest film that inspired me was War Room. Loved that movie.
Finally, what's next for you?
GC - More films and definitely more education on sharpening my skills as a filmmaker. Of course music will always be in my future plans
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.