Welcome to the Spa.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer/Editor/Animator Nichola Latzgo
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I am quite put off by the spa experience, and wanted to visualize the absurdity I see in the spa ritual. The film is essentially a walkthrough of my version of a spa, featuring acts of grotesque relaxation. Spa Day was my senior thesis film for The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, which I graduated from last spring.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because it's fun to look at! I would like to think that Spa Day is a visual synthesis of my favorite influences. I am hugely inspired by 1970's Sesame Street animation, and the psychedelic yet comforting world it portrays. My goal with the film was to make it as fun to watch as it was to draw.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
My film is the spa experience as seen through my eyes. I have never had a massage or my nails done, I find both these processes as uncomfortably intimate. I spent the last thirteen years of my life working retail and kitchen jobs, and I am sensitive to the human element in these spa processes. The employees featured throughout my film range from being happily compliant within their roles to fully panicked, something I can relate to. Some of my characters are integrated into the spa itself, mirroring how entrenched I felt in some of my past positions. As a retail employee, I was expected to be helpful yet invisible. In my film, I feel like the roles are somewhat reversed; more often the worker is the focal character.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The film didn't change too much! My plan was to come up with a ton of spa activities and plan scenes around them. I then picked my favorite and snuck in more scenes when time constraints allowed. Animation is a slow process, and I only had about eight months for the piece, so I had to sacrifice some of my ideas in favor of having a finished film! My favorite scene that I cut involved a room that characters visited to just scream their lungs out, as a form of therapy. The screams were then filtered through a huge machine, then broadcast as soothing music throughout the spa.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Spa Day was lucky enough to win at my senior showcase screening at The University of the Arts, where I created it as my senior thesis film. That was a huge honor! Other than that, people seem to enjoy it, which is all I want.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Positive feedback is always fantastic and always comes as a bit of a surprise. I spent the majority of my time working on the film alone, only a small hand full of people had seen the film prior to its first screening. It was odd releasing it to other people's opinions. I love the piece a lot, and it was a huge relief when people enjoyed it as well.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Hopefully, more people will seek out my work! I am excited to make more films and hope that many more people will be able to enjoy them.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I would love to have the film posted all over the world wide web, so more people can set eyes on it.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want people to focus, enjoy, and support independent animation! I am extremely proud that I made this film exclusively by myself, and I would love to see more solo efforts appreciated by the larger animation community.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do you enjoy being kneaded like a lump of dough by the fingers of a stranger? Would you still get your nails polished if the polished was sentient? Care for a mud bath? Do you want to go to a spa?
Would you like to add anything else?
I am very thankful for the Florida Film Festival screening Spa Day!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am working as a freelance animator out of Brooklyn. I am currently working on another animated film, knitting a massive blanket, and ever growing my collection of vintage toys.
Interview: April 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Welcome to the Spa.
Director: Nichola Latzgo
Producer: Nichola Latzgo
Writer: Nichola Latzgo
About the writer, director and producer:
NICHOLA LATZGO graduated from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in spring 2018. She is currently based in Brooklyn, where she is working as a freelance animator and compositor.
Hashtags used: #animaton #independentanimation #studentanimation