THE IDENTITY PAS DE DEUX was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2020 Experimental Film Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Sarah Fischer: I have always struggled with with my gender identity, with balancing who I felt like with who I was supposed to be with what social gender roles were expecting from me. This short, and this dance, felt like the right format to express that struggle, and have our protagonist emerge with a better understanding of self.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
-We were working on a bit of a tight timeline because we had hoped to use the film as a proof-of-concept to raise funds for a series of short films promoting diverse storytelling. It probably took about 9 months from first draft to final film.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
-Because we were operating on a micro budget, we relied on a free filming permit to work in the subway. That meant we couldn’t interfere with normal station traffic or construction. At one point, half our crew got stuck outside the station when the station got shut down and the escalators stopped!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
-I was so moved. It was incredible to hear people connecting with the film, and to hear them speak about the little details we spent so much time crafting into the piece.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
-My sister was a dancer for many years, and every Christmas her studio performed The Nutcracker. Since my sister danced, and my mom helped backstage, my dad and I would watch together every year. The pas de deux, the dance between the main male and female dancers, seemed like the perfect way to express this delicate balance between masculine and feminine gender identities. A pas de deux is a balance of strength, as the two dancers rely on each other and support each other throughout the performance.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
-Honestly, probably The Princess Bride. It was my go-to film when I was a kid, particularly when I was home sick.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. What are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
-It was really extremely easy. It’s nice to keep track of all of your submissions and projects in one place.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
-Oh man. Embarrassingly, probably something by ‘N Sync. They were my jam when I was a kid – and who doesn’t like putting on some 90s throwback now?
10. What is next for you? A new film?
-I just finished up a season as an assistant on a new Marvel television show, and I’m focusing on trying to get staffed while working on writing my next pieces.