An elderly man grapples with the guilt of what he's done in the strange, whimsical land of his subconscious.
Interview with Writer/Director Wynter Rhys
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
My film was originally created for the 48 Hour Film Competition, where you draw a genre from a hat and must write, direct, shoot, and edit a short film in just 48 hours. The genre I so fatefully received was Fish Out Of Water, meaning a person who feels out of place in society. I expected a lot of people who drew this genre would choose to explore the story of a victim, so I wanted to explore the reverse - and dive into the twisted mind of the perpetrator, the aggressor.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I believe Jouska is a film that will get under the audience's skin and challenge the overall view of a criminal mind's inner processing.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The story may be about a pedophile, but on a greater level it is a story about the odd behaviors of human guilt.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script didn't evolve at all, as it was written by me in a rush at 3am during the 48 Hour Film Competition.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Jouska has received highly mixed feedback - some people felt it was a documentary of the human psyche that honored the ugly unspoken parts of their abusive childhoods, while others felt it was a whimsical journey through a millennial remix of Alice in Wonderland. Others even saw the film as a piece about drugs and falling into the rabbit hole of your own mind. It made me realize that such a simple, rushed story can be surprisingly versatile and universal.
Stripped to the bone, it's about a man who can't get a thought out of his head. I believe everyone - alcoholics, businessmen, cheaters, and everything in between - can relate to this feeling. Overall, people have been moved and impressed.
It has also provided me with incredible opportunities, including receiving the Francis Larkin McCommon Scholarship for full-tuition to attend Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and winning Best Sound, Best in City Runner Up Seattle, 2016/Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best in City Runner Up Portland, 2016/George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Florence Alabama, Vanguard Award Finalist, March 2017/The Young Filmmakers Grand Jury Prize, Nashville Film Festival, Nashville Tennessee, April 2017/YoungArts Cinematic Arts Winner, 2017, Miami FL/Best Experimental, CineYouth Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago IL.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I was surprised to hear how the piece intensely moved many people, or made them cry, triggering them back to a dark place of their childhoods. Of course the topic of pedophilia and abuse may trigger those who experienced it, but I was thrilled to hear that the offbeat, deeply psychological and experimental focus of the film was still able to reach audiences in such a present way. I was also really surprised at those who saw the film in a completely different light, reading it as a story of a loving father who lost his children. In a way, this is even more eerie than the people who cried in their theater seats.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Jouska was a 48 Hour Film, so needless to say in the rush of barely two days and while catering to strict festival rules, it was not my best work. With this said, Jouska showcases the visceral edge of my consistent vision as a director, especially within such intense time and resource constraints. I hope by having my film more visible on We Are Moving Stories will allow other potential collaborators or investors to see that my vision as a director stays consistent and pulsating across all genres, different crews, possible stresses, and any other highs and lows. Hopefully others seeing the work ethic and style in this piece will open doors for further work in as a director, as while as steer me in the direction of other inspiring creatives.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above. Jouska is scraping the iceberg of the human condition stories I'd like to dive into, so above all else I am simply looking to be heard by an individual who can open doors for further progress of a future piece. If I can simply have a skype call or sit in a room once to express the next big thing, I believe it will open doors to create this piece, which will then open psychological doors for those who see it.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I believe interpretation to be an extension of my work. I write something I am passionate about, and then I convey it through visual correlation, but it becomes art when it is taken in by the eyes of others and processed in their minds, or even thought about later. That is when it goes from a project to a piece. And if my piece lingers, if it is reflected on, if it raises questions - then I have done my job. I would like Jouska to leave people thinking, to keep them talking.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I think the question is eerily simple: how would I react if I did something this bad?
Would you like to add anything else?
Just that I'm honored to be a part of We Are Moving Stories, and I am immensely looking forward to all that is to come.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I will be directing my debut feature film very soon.
Interview: August 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. 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
An elderly man grapples with the guilt of what he's done in the strange, whimsical land of his subconscious
Director: Wynter Rhys
Producer: Wynter Rhys, Mumukumba
Writer: Wynter Rhys
About the writer, director and producer:
Wynter Rhys is an 18 year old director, writer, editor from the Seattle area. Her signature aesthetic and storytelling style represents all things controversial and abstract that push the boundaries of society and common thinking. She wants her films to ignite raw truth and get under an audience's skin.
Mumukuba is a Seattle based film collective, making stories talk through film.
Key cast: James Pinto II
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Yes
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