Spring Showcase Director #6: Tamar Halpern

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tamar_headshot

We feel more than honored that director Tamar Halpern is presenting a new piece by Alexandra Decas and Melanie Kirschbaum in our Spring Showcase on March 28. First off, she’s human person—you know what we mean—whose great talent lies in bringing out others’ humanities, even if it’s not so obvious they have them at first. What you might call honest filmmaking. She’s the writer/director of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, starring Mira Sorvino, Michael Urie, and Joe Pantoliano. Her previous features include Shelf Life, starring Betsy Brandt, and the documentary, Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, which premiered at the LA Film Festival and released theatrically 2014-2015. If you haven’t seen Llyn Foulkes yet, please do. It’s a feel-good film for all those artists who think they’re late bloomers. Here’s a bit more from our fabulous director Tamar below.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays/shows that have inspired you?

Movies – Raise the Red Lantern, Paper Moon, The Broken Circle Breakdown.

Plays – Almost anything by Tracy Letts, Shock Headed Peter, Stones in his Pockets. New production from Chicago that recently played in LA that blew me away was Luna Gale.

Shows – all of Spalding Gray’s monologues, Stomp.

Or did you mean TV shows? VEEP and The Comeback and Arrested Developemnt and Season 2 of Workaholics.

2. Did you go to film/theater school? What led you to being a writer or director?

I earned an MFA in Film and TV production from USC. Before that, I decided not to be an actor and go behind the camera instead, and it stuck!

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

I boycotted the Oscars this year because there were – again – no female writers or directed nominated. I want to do everything to support women in theater, not just as actresses. We write, we direct, we make babies if we feel like it, and we exact change through our views and voices.

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I’m experiencing the first deep sorrow of my adult life. I don’t know where it will take me, but I am in it and letting it be as it needs to be.

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Spring Showcase Director #4: Kat Vondy

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KVondy Headshot

 Kat Vondy had written to us early on, expressing interest in directing something for the stage. She’d been working in film/video, had racked up some awards for her films (like her USC thesis “The Broken Heart of Gnocchi Bolognese”) but had just come off of directing a live show for Lost Moon Radio. We read her email, loved it, and then promptly buried it in an ever-growing and insurmountable inbox. Lucky for us, she wrote a reminder, and we were just looking for a director who could take a screwball comedy by Ari Berkowitz and elevate it to an artful physical performance.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays/shows that have inspired you?

I grew up in a time and place in which most of the movies I had access to were big budget studio films, and it wasn’t until I took a film class during my freshman year of college that I began to get more exposure to independent and art films. Short Cuts, Blue Velvet and Don’t Look Now were three films I saw at that time that really started to change how I looked at movies. I saw there were more ways to tell a story than I’d previously thought.

2. Did you go to film/theater school? What led you to being a writer/director?

Yes, I received an MFA in Film and Television Production from USC. I wish I knew what compelled me to write and direct! I feel like, growing up, I just always sort of found myself doing creative projects without really having made a conscious decision to do them. Then, when I was trying to figure out how serious I was about pursuing a creative career and was thinking about applying to film school, I remember talking it over with a friend who basically said “If you don’t go to film school, you probably won’t end up being a director, because it’ll be harder to get the skills. It could happen, it’s just not that likely. But if you go to film school, you MIGHT end up be a director.” And that was a very reasonable assessment of the situation, so I applied.

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

It’s basically impossible for just one person to put on a show or make a film; these are collaborative forms of art and entertainment and they don’t happen unless people work together. Also, it’s not a reality TV competition, so I’m here to make friends.

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

Figurative answer: I am going to try new things, even/especially if they are scary, and I have been working very hard to find out what those things could be.

Literal answer: I am going to a friend’s house to watch a reality TV competition, and I have been to the dentist.