Interview with Filmmakers Whitney Lockert & Miranda Sherman (WHY NY)

WHY NY was the winner of BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the February 2021 Dance & Music Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Whitney: The song was written as a humorous look at New York, a place which has been rightly celebrated in song many many times. As much as I loved the city and loved living there, there were definitely times that I wondered why I put up with the noise, smells, awful weather, and expense of life in the city. While the song obviously expressed some of the downside of life in Gotham, it’s also the greatest city on Earth, with potential magic around every corner, and when it came time to make the video Miranda and I decided that it would be great to try to answer the question of why people live in New York in visual fashion.

Miranda: Listening to Whitney’s song made me want to argue with him. While the song conveys the challenges of life in the city, my experience of New York was always a bit sunnier, and I wanted to show that side of things. In order to capture the city through as many lenses as possible, we asked our friends to take videos of their daily life in New York and I cut them together into this collage of experiences. The decision to crowd-source footage was rooted in our respect for the many faces of New York and our celebration of the community of people who make the city feel like home.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Miranda: An embarrassingly long time involving many trips back to New York from Los Angeles, and many communications with the friends who provided footage. In the end, it was good that we took our time because we were able to get a look at all the seasons of life in New York.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

New York.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Miranda: There was a time most of the way through the edit when I didn’t know how much more I could do with it. It felt like the vibe was there, but I wasn’t sure I had the technical skills to finish the edit. The timing needed to be very precise, and because we were combining so much different footage from different sources, it was tricky to make it feel cohesive while maintaining the collaborative spirit. Ultimately a little time away from the project was helpful in providing perspective and motivation to finish.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Whitney: I was glad that people enjoyed the video, and I was pleased that people recognized and enjoyed the contrasting themes of the song and the visuals. It felt like people really got it.

Miranda: I was glad that the audience could see their own experience in the video, and that the humanity of New York came through.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. What are your passions in life?

Whitney: Music, music, music.

Miranda: Mostly dogs. Also voting. And composting.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Whitney: Probably The Princess Bride when I was a kid.

Miranda: Manhattan. And The Little Mermaid.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Miranda: It’s great! We had a great experience with the festival.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Whitney: Tough call, but a good burrito is hard to beat. And incidentally, almost impossible to find in New York.
Miranda: The Grey Dog breakfast with French Toast and scrambled eggs at Grey Dog on Carmine St. in the West Village.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Whitney: I’m finishing up work on a new album which should be coming out later this year. There will doubtless be at least one video to accompany the album’s release, not sure what it will look like yet.

Miranda: Producing lots of different projects and continuing to have artistic arguments with Whitney.

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