Something very interesting is happening this Saturday at 1:45 p.m. at the TIFF Lightbox. The Share Her Journey Short Film Programme is presenting a series of shorts from a female perspective from around the world. As a part of this programme, Katie Boland and Lauren Collins will be presenting Lolz-ita which is a wonderful, challenging, intimate short film, that marks the collaboration which Boland wrote, directed and stars in, and which Collins produced (and which also stars Sarah Gadon). Boland and Collins will be presenting the film in person and hopefully will spark a spirited discussion.
We spoke with Boland by phone from L.A. and Collins from Toronto as they offered a really interesting take on the filmmaking process of Lolz-Ita.
Brief Take: What is at the heart of Lolz-Ita?
Katie Boland: For this film, I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to say going into it, like I came with a theme first, which is the opposite of how I ususally write.
Lauren Collins: Yes.
KB: This is also the first thing that I’ve really directed, so I really wanted to much very have a clear vision of it in my head, before going into it. People’s reactions to it have been very interesting.
BT: The seamless transitions in the film make it even more intimate and fascinating.
LC: What I love about what Katie told me pretty early on about what she wanted to do with this film is it wasn’t really about making some sort of grand statement about Instagram girls, it’s really more than anything about A Day in the Life and I think *that* is where the seamless transitions, that is what makes that come across and makes that work.
KB: For me, to talk about female identity in this way, it’s such a huge conversation that I really just wanted to present a day in the life of this character that I hoped would be watched and I had a lot of feelings and reactions to who she wanted to be, as opposed to who she is, really, and the space in between. We worked with a great editor called Diane Brunjes and the edit took awhile. I did several cuts, and Lauren gave notes and my mom gave notes. My friend Grace Glowicki gave notes as well. I tried to involve as many smart women as I could to help edit.
BT: Lauren, I’ve noticed that many of your shorts involve Instagram or social media.
LC: The whole theme of being seen is something that I feel I’ve explored in all of my work on the creative side and that was what really interested me in Lolz-Ita. That was what really drew me to the project, the idea that we are living in a time that everyone is so desperate to be seen.
BT: You and Katie obviously know each other quite well. Is the experience different as a producer rather than as a fellow actor or even as a friend?
LC: You know? Just in the sense that there are different responsibilities. What I find so different about this for me, whether it’s working with Katie or working with anybody else is that I’ve never been the key producer on such a large production. We’ve been very lucky to have the BravoFACT money, that there were just a lot more moving pieces to this than anything I had ever done before, so that was just the biggest shift for me. But Katie and I worked in this world together before because I was on her web series [Long Story, Short], what was that, four years ago? God! That really felt that in that world of people that we know, people that we like, trying to keep things as simple and as grounded as possible, it was pretty low key. We always got our days and it was a relatively stress-free shoot. I think having that experience on Long Story, Short really helped a lot.
KB: Lauren was a truly fabulous producer.
LC: *laughs out loud*
KB: I feel like all the projects in which I’ve roped her in have bonded us for life. Definitely.
Brief Take: Working with your friends is essential.
LC: Absolutely. It makes a world of difference because we have to have communication. I would say that number two is to have Gail Harvey *laughs* because having Gail as a mentor through this whole process was so valuable. I know that I couldn’t have done it without her.
LC: No it’s true, honestly, it’s true. Just having someone with that level of experience and clout in the industry really meant a lot and I really did learn lot from her. Lolz-Ita was really the first time I was working on anything behind the scenes without Ben [Lewis] so that was a challenge as well, because he’s a creative partner for life for me. So taking that step on my own was important for me and it was hard but *laughs* I had such a great support system in Katie.
BT: What is the importance of having women supporting other women in the film industry?
KB: I feel like in Canada, and in Toronto, there is an extremely supportive community of female filmmakers and specifically young filmmakers and producers that are helping each other.
KB: We want to lift each other up, so I feel like we’re making films that are alive and an interesting time in Canadian cinema, definitely, and a very supportive one for women.
LC: Molly McGlynn was someone else that watched the film early on and gave you some notes, Katie, and was very supportive through the whole process. It is a good network.
BT: What can the TIFF Bell Lightbox audience expect from you?
KB: We’ll both be at the the screening.
LC: I’m excited for that.
KB: For which we are really excited, and it’s having its North American Festival Premiere at the Austin Film Festival. My plan is to give it a festival run and then use it as a showcase as a writer and director. I’m currently developing a feature that I want to direct and also in which I would like to act. The reason why I write and make film in part, is because there are certain characters that I want to give myself the opportunity to play.