Interview with Filmmaker Lisa Cole (SHIPWRECK)

SHIPWRECK was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the September BLACK Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Like so many people during this pandemic, my family and I have been navigating intense emotional terrain as individual members and as a transracial family unit. This film helped me express some of these emotions while also acknowledging the collective loss in our world. The goal was to film safely with a minuscule crew and create something impactful with limited resources on hand.

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

We started talking about it a few months prior to filming. LA was pretty much on lockdown, so I knew I wanted to write something with no sound and no crew – just myself, my children as actors and my DP friend, Gilbert Salas. We used two iphone cameras to film.

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

I guess I would say Drowning & Deliverance. That’s not quite right, but close?

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

Directing my own children, who probably never want to work with me again – ha!

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

I was so moved. I cried! Seriously, this video is the best thing I’ve ever received from a film festival! Especially during Covid when we can’t all be together in a theater and congregating with wine. Thank you, it means so much!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I grew up in a small town with limited access to theaters, so we only got to see blockbuster films on the big screen. I spent summers in theater and writing here and there. After high school, I joined a performing group and eventually taught dance in Norway. I didn’t want to be a dancer my whole life and felt I could combine writing with my innate sensibilities as a choreographer. Film seemed like a natural fit. But, it wasn’t until I was in college and saw Jane Campion’s films including The Piano, that I knew I’d found my calling.

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

This is a funny answer as it’s not at all the type of material I write – but, every holiday I watch ELF and LOVE ACTUALLY. The films that I’ve seen the most recently (past 4 years) are Andrea Arnold’s FISH TANK, Nadine Labaki’s CAPERNAUM and Chloe Zhao’s first films SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME and THE RIDER. I’ve also seen NORMA RAE dozens of times.

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

I love it – it’s an easy and helpful platform in term of reminders and suggestions for upcoming fests!

9. What is your favorite meal?

I’m a Libra, my brain doesn’t work like that! I love so much food! If I was forced to pick a last meal, probably Italian.

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

I’m currently in pre-production on my next short film BIENVENIDOS A LOS ANGELES, filming before the end of the year. I wrote the award-winning script and it’s inspired by a true story of an undocumented young woman attempting to reunite with her 5 year-old son, who’s been living apart from her in Mexico since he was an infant. We have an amazing team of diverse crew & collaborators. I’ve also co-written 3 very different feature screenplays and I’m incredibly grateful all 3 are in development with amazing creatives at the helm.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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