Interview with Filmmaker Millie Heckler (PINK BOOTH CONFESSIONS)

PINK BOOTH CONFESSIONS, 29min., USA, Experimental
Directed by Millie Heckler
Pink Booth Confessions relishes in what it means to be woman: dark, whole, broken, bent, drunk, woke, silent, brash, slutty, strong, prude, wise, forever-changing and deeply committed to humanity and love. Through a pressurized “pink booth,” performers testify to their experiences as women, illuminating their secrets and discharging them simultaneously. Directed by UVM Dance Faculty Millie Heckler in collaboration with Schivona Johnson, Britt Ford, PhaeMonae, Camille Breslin and Elias Hill, this work features original music, dance, costume design, set design, and videography. This project is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Community Foundation and the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund.

http://millieheckler.com/
https://instagram.com/the.real.mildred.heckles

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Pink Booth Confessions began as a dance piece for my thesis MFA Dance show. I realized in grad school that I was not using my voice to serve my best interests and so I began thinking about the relationship between the dancing moving body and the voice. I thought about how dancers spend countless hours training their bodies while simultaneously remaining silent with their voices. I wondered why I felt so voiceless at this time in my life. This prompted me and my collaborators/friends to start talking about sexual trauma in our lives. I had been writing songs privately for some time that expressed how I was feeling and what I was experiencing, and my friend and co-creator/producer, Schivona Johnson, nudged me to use my dance platform to produce and share my music. So we produced some songs together that are featured in the film (minus the incredible intro track that Schivona created and produced for the film). And we made a dance piece with our other friend, Britt Ford, who is also a co-creator of this project. Essentially the dance work was about revisiting in hopes of healing memories from our pasts that held sexual harm. We premiered the dance piece in February 2020. Then the pandemic happened and we decided to come back to the work in 2022 and make a film version of it to put it to rest and to also flip the script a bit. This work was always about trying to make sense of the voicelessness we were feeling, to share our authentic voices, and to also illuminate our shadows. This film rendition feels like a shift from the theater work from victim consciousness to survivor/creator consciousness: yes, things have happened to us but we are players in this game and we have the power to make a change.

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

The very first time we had the idea to create PBC (dance theater version), it was in summer of 2019. We filmed and finished the film in September 2022. So three years.

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

bold, honest

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

Revisiting the work post-pandemic (if we can even say “post-pandemic”). This work brought up a lot for us and it was almost re-traumatizing doing the work in the theater. It was meant to heal but it didn’t always feel like that. So to step back into this work years later, after we had all changed and the world had changed, was trying but also beautiful and so so worth it.

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

Grateful. I felt really grateful that people are viewing it and receiving something of value from it. And also I was curious about hearing the word “intimate” used so many times.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I made my first film in 2017. It was such a raw form of self-expression. When I felt like I had no words about how I was internally feeling, I made films to express myself. And the fact that I’ve never been trained or taught about film makes my expression through film feel very true and authentic and also like I have nothing to lose.

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

Either:

Amy (the documentary) or Broken Circle Breakdown

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

I think you’re doing an incredible job! I have nothing at the moment

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

excellent

10. What is your favorite meal?

Salmon Caesar salad — the way my mom makes it, with her Caesar recipe

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

I would like to go to film school in Norway. I would also like to focus on dancing and get away from my phone and computer! lol

The PBC team is already dreaming up our next project about the end of the world and how five women try to save themselves by initiating a global ego freeze, working title: Is it snowing?

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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