Fandor’s Keyframe Interviews Lynne Sachs and Lizzie Olesker

FIXshorts: Lynne Sachs and Lizzie Olesker

‘We really did not want to say goodbye to this brilliant, imaginative and totally committed group of actors and media artists.’

September 19, 2015

Editor’s note: Fandor recently announced the expansion of its FIXshorts film initiative, featuring four original short film projects as well as a short created from Tombstone Rashomon, to be directed by legendary filmmaker Alex Cox. Fandor is again partnering with crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, contributing half of the initial budget and providing reward benefits for the Kickstarter campaigns. Here, we introduce two of those filmmakers, Lynne Sachs and Lizzie Olesker, who are raising funds for Every Fold Matters, a hybrid experimental film that looks into the charged intimacy of washing clothes in a neighborhood laundromat.

Keyframe: What first inspired you to make films?

Lynne Sachs: What other medium could allow me to throw together my love of poetry, investigative reporting, musique concrète, street theater and abstraction?

Lizzie Olesker:  I come from a theater background, and this is actually my first experience making film, though I’ve worked in film a bit as an actor (and stuntwoman) on independent and larger commercial films. I never thought I would direct a film but now that I have, I feel more inspired about this process.

Keyframe: What inspired you to make this (FIXshorts)​ film?

Sachs:  There was an incredible collective spirit that was part of our series of live performances.  We really did not want to say goodbye to this brilliant, imaginative and totally committed group of actors and media artists.  So we said, ‘Let’s make a movie!’

Olesker:  It’s because of Lynne who brought her singular cinematic sensibility to our theatrical collaboration. The film segments she made for the performance were particularly rich and evocative. It made me want to explore in a more purely visual way, moving into places that are very different from what can happen in live performance.

Keyframe: How are you going to film it?

Sachs:  Sometimes we shoot in a laundry using a documentarian’s observant eye. Other times we integrate our script into a wildly expressive sliver of fiction. We are working with cinematographer Sean Hanley, editor Amanda Katz and composer Stephen Vitiello to create an edgy, impressionistic work of hybrid cinema.

Olesker:  When we started shooting, I was amazed at the intense combination of high organization and playful spontaneity that making film demands. There’s a sense of performing and not performing that I really loved.  Decisions and changes can really evolve as you go, with the creative imagination happening in a very collective way. One needs to have a strong vision and at the same time, a willingness to shift and let go of things that aren’t working.

Keyframe: What three directors or artists have most influenced you (and why)​?

Sachs:  I have been deeply moved by the intuitive observations of Chris Marker, the hard-hitting clash of images in the collage films of Bruce Conner and the very personal cutting of Gunvor Nelson.  Over the course of my life as a filmmaker, I was able to work with each of these artists.

Olesker:  Because my background is in theater and playwriting, I’ve been inspired by people like Anton Chekhov, Euripides, Bertolt Brecht, Suzan-Lori Parks, Adrienne Kennedy and Caryl Churchill. But there are artists who also inspired me like Louise Bourgeois and the pioneering portraitist Alice Neel. Film directors like Jean-Luc Godard, Chantal Akerman and Mike Leigh are among my favorites.

Keyframe: What was the last film you saw in a theater?

Sachs:  Last Tuesday afternoon, I went to the IFC theater in Manhattan to watch Wim WendersThe American Friend.  I want to savor cinematographer Robby Müller’s sense of color for a long, long time.

Olesker:  My eighty-seven-year old mother really wanted to see Trainwreck, with Amy Schumer, and so we did at her local neighborhood theater.