Interview with Filmmaker Juliet McMains (ROGUE REFLECTION)

ROGUE REFLECTION, 5min., USA, Experimental
Directed by Juliet McMains
A tap dancer, discovering that her reflection refuses to mirror her movements, engages in a playful battle with herself.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film started as a live performance in which the dancer, Rachel Zuraek, performed a duet with a video projection of herself. We were so pleased with the audience response to the live show that I wanted to translate the piece to film. In order to create a similar effect of one dancer engaging with her own avatar, I came up with the idea of dancing with her own reflection. I started researching mirror shots in films and discovered such a rich history and some excellent how-to-videos.

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

It was one year from inception of the live performance to completion of the film.

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

I think I did that in the title: Rogue Reflection.

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

Syncing the music and the tapping was a challenge. Rachel danced with a metronome or the music playing in earbuds in her ears because we needed to capture the sound of her tapping without the music in order to hear the music from her feet clearly. Syncing the different tap dance audio tracks back up with the music and the visuals was a challenge, especially because the microphone failed on one of the cameras.

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

I loved hearing audience members recognize moments in the film that I thought were special (yeah, that landed) and hearing them describe interpretations of the film that I hadn’t even considered. My hope is for each audience member to respond differently based on their own personal histories, so to hear the variety of responses was really rewarding.

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

I took a course on documentary filmmaking in college and loved it. But I also had the distinct realization that if I was always behind the camera documenting life, I wouldn’t be living life fully. So I spent the next twenty-five plus years as a professional dancer. Now that my urge to be on the dance floor has waned a bit, I’ve finally returned to making films. I’m also an author, and I find editing in particular to be a perfect blend of writing and choreography.

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

The Cost of Living, DV8

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’d love more opportunities to get mentoring.

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

No issues.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Big, fresh, colorful salads packed with greens, fruits, a bit of crunch, and some strong umami (think sardines, salmon, or anchovies).

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

I’m currently in Argentina working on a series of video portraits of artists in the words of tango and folklore.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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