Searching for greater meaning in absurdity.
Experimenting with stereotypes is what drives my filmmaking. Mixing non-traditional plots with fantastical elements and abstractions is integral to my story telling style. I am passionate to write about characters who exist in recognizable Canadian landscapes, characters who are socially isolated or different, who subvert stereotypes, or battle with difficult moral dilemmas – dilemmas that address the ideologies we take for granted in our society, that sometimes lead to more harm than good.
Primarily my films are driven by thematic content, over character development or plot. I am attracted by themes of dystopia, death, dreams, murderers and psychopathy. To facilitate the thematic content in my work, I place visual barriers between the camera and the actor or subject (for example, a reflection, veil, or makeup – anything that distorts the image). I use discordant focal lengths to create purposefully blurry images and I design storytelling images that cut up the visuals into smaller shapes. Often I use tighter camera shots that do not show the actor’s full form in order to visually distort the human body. Sometimes I will contrast these distortions with extreme wide shots that make the actor look extremely small in order to convey sensations of psychosis and loneliness. Saturated colour palettes and surreal comedy are other elements I use to convey my own questions and explorations of existing social realities. My methods enhance the recurring themes of isolation, loss, and claustrophobia in my films.
The ecological and social responsibilities of my filmmaking practices are a major concern for me. I practice eco-friendly film production by pooling resources, planning time-efficient shoots, and recycling materials across multiple films. My films provide a personal commentary through the characters about the implications of abuse towards people and towards the environment. Many of my stories are set in post-apocalyptic environments, in which humans have already abused the earth to a point beyond repair, and now are left to live with the consequences. I like to create characters who are hopelessly tied to the gears of the machine, ultimately leading to their downfall. For example, in one of my films a girl is so consumed with her own vanity she dies from the obsession. Another film I made in 2018 is set in a post-pandemic society where a girl gives birth to an egg, fights with the silent racism she feels towards people who are half-bird, and then eats her own bird baby when she can’t overcome her shame.
I use my films to focus on themes of gender identity. I explore the pressures on women to be mothers, how or why unspoken worth in society is often assessed based on whether or not one wants to bear children. My films also focus on pressures on women to hold both public and domestic careers, how women are trained from birth through the media to dress or behave in public, as well as how to think about their bodies and appearances. How society teaches men and women to interact romantically is another point of interest for me. Many of my characters also explore various forms of gender fluidity – women portraying stereotypically masculine traits, or men portraying female traits or dressing in a more suggestively-feminine style. I aim to promote a dialogue surrounding interpretations of clothing in particular, and how clothing trains us to conform to gender stereotypes, and how we can learn to think outside the garment boxes that we often take for granted. By exploring characters who share a range of gender traits, I strive to portray those who are different, but also those who are strong and resilient.
I am also dedicated to exploring villains – the characters who we would otherwise love to see fail or meet their demise. From a young age my favourite characters in Disney films were always the evil witches, and this is true still today. I am fascinated with exploring villains as protagonists, but not in a way that necessarily makes them “good,” even from their own point of view. I explore this moral content through my film characters, as it is generally a part of our natures we suppress – but a part that we all possess. We must unlearn unhealthy biases by becoming aware of them and then learning and listening from those around us to incite change. By exploring cold characters and themes through a lens of fantastical and absurd dark comedy, I am searching to understand the ways that we, as a society, deal with pain and hardship and grow from it. Revenge of the Supermom features a bit of a villain in every central character – nobody is a hero here, and we can learn from their mistakes.