Interview with Producer/Composer Madstone Rowan (LIPSTICK OF THE BRAVE)

LIPSTICK OF THE BRAVE was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the April 2022 LA LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

Project Links

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film represents the journey of getting in touch with the part of me that wants to wear lipstick, makeup and androgynous dress. Being inspired by the artists of years gone by such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, and also paying homage to films such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rocky Horror, and even the modern day androgynous look that Lady Gaga had when she came onto the scene.

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

I first approached Bill Plympton in June of last year and we discussed my ideas for the film. He loved it and we began working on it in July. It took about 3 months from then for the beautiful hand-drawn animation provided by Bill to go with the story idea I put forth in the music.

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

Celebrate expression!

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

In the middle of a pandemic, everything had to be done virtually. Bill and I were never able to meet together in person. We made it happen though.

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

I cried. This film and the song it is based on are so important to me. The story is a personal one so to hear people reacting so positively made me feel seen and heard in a way I can’t describe.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I am a musician – the lead singer and songwriter in the band Tripping Jupiter. As I began the journey of creating my debut album early in 2021, I realized there were these visuals that would always pop up in my mind as I was performing or listening to them – and they weren’t typical “music videos”, but rather, stories that needed to be told in the visual realm.

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

This is a tough one. There are so many – classics like Casablanca are up there, but I love modern/independent as well. I tend to watch movies over and over again that connect with me in a particular way. I’d say Hedwig and the Angry inch is probably something I watch at least a few times a year.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

This is my first foray into film-making and festivals – so far my experience has been great. I’m not sure I’d change anything.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway has been wonderful. I learned it quickly and it’s been easy to use.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Pizza. I’m from New York, we know what we’re doing when it comes to pizza. No pineapples on our pizza here.

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

I’ve actually been going forth with Dito Montiel about putting together a short film based around a story I told through a song which is 9 minutes long. It’s a story about a woman, 7 years after the pandemic, looking back on her life – what she’s lost, what she’s gained. It’s a reflective piece for me, but I think it will be a universal message as so many of us have been affected so significantly by the past 2 years of our lives and it will take years to put it all in perspective.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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