Interview with Filmmaker Olivia Fouser (THE LAST GAY IN INDIANA)

Directed by Olivia Fouser.
Set in a future where Mike Pence has won the Presidency on the promise to Make America Straight Again, he has succeeded in converting everyone in the United States to being straight; all, except one.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. Q: What motivated you to make this film?
A: I was motivated to make this film by two things, the first being the increasing attacks on the queer community under the Trump administration. I’d list out all the rights he has stripped away from the queer community, but it’d take up this entire email. The second reason I was motivated to make this film is the reason I got into film at all, and that is to create more representation of queer people both on screen and behind the camera. Something that goes unseen is that the majority of the crew behind the making of this short film is queer themselves, which I think is a very special aspect of it.

2. Q: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
A: It took over a year and a half to complete this film, from coming up with the idea for the script to finishing post-production. This is partly because I started writing it in the fall of 2019 during my junior year of university, and then when covid hit all thesis productions at my university were postponed until covid restrictions were lifted, so I wasn’t able to film it until June 2021.

3. Q: How would you describe your film in two words!?
A: Queer Persistence

4. Q: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
A: I’m going to sound like a broken record, but Covid restrictions. I was only allowed to have 16 people total on set, which broke down to four actors, 11 crew members, and myself. And then there were so many specific, small rules to keep track of, like when and where actors can unmask, where lunch can be held, how much distance has to be maintained between the production and the general public, etc. that made it very difficult to concentrate on just the art and making of the film.

5. Q: What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
A: I’ll be honest, I cried. There are aspects of the film that I’d change in retrospect, but seeing the extremely positive reactions in the audience feedback made me believe in myself and my talents a bit more.

6. Q: When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
A: I’ve been a storyteller and writer, since I could hold a pen, but I didn’t realize I wanted to translate that into the world of film until I was Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012). I just fell in love with the whimsicality and artistic direction of the film, and I realized how open and flexible the format of film could be.

7. Q: What film have you seen the most in your life?
A: Either She’s The Man (Andy Fickman, 2006) or Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010)

8. Q: What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
A: Maybe a way to socialize/network with other filmmakers and people who are more established in the entertainment world. It’s wonderful to make a film and receive awards and praise, but then what? It’d be great to have a way to take the next step in furthering a career in film.

9. Q: You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How have your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
A: My experiences have been mostly great, it’s a very easy platform to use and a great way to keep track of how your film is doing across all festivals I’ve applied to. The only barrier I encountered was the cost of applying to film festivals. This is my first time submitting to festivals, and I assumed that there was just one fee to submit to one festival, but you have to pay a fee for every category you wish to be considered for per festival. It adds up quickly, and for people who are just starting their careers and don’t have much money, it’s a huge barrier.

10. What is your favorite meal?
A: My grandpa’s spaghetti with a side salad and some parmesan-crusted toast.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
A: I’m currently trying to shop around my feature script, titled Blood on the Saddle, which is a queer action/romance Western.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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