New York based filmmaker Aly Migliori joins us for an insightful chat ahead of the screening of her latest short film, Twist, at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival.
Q: ‘Twist’ will screen at Tribeca this week. What can audiences expect from the
film? Is it a twist on the traditional coming of age story?
A: It’s definitely a twist on the traditional story — in the sense that it’s an element of growing up female that is not necessarily told in film or TV. But twist is also a soft serve ice cream.
Q: Molly MacGilbert wrote an incredibly insightful piece for Bust about the themes you explored in your previous short film, ‘After Her’. Can you talk about using your voice to tell female-led narratives? What do you want to explore through your work?
A: I’m most interested in employing, then subverting, traditional narratives — large scoping, entertaining films that change into something fresh, progressive, and unique. In showing limitations and judgements placed on certain characters, certain genres, and then having the film actively resist — overcome — the expectations, then you’ve created a discussion, a through-road to change.
Q: ‘After Her’ had a wonderful festival run and will premiere be online next month. How do you reflect upon the experience and hearing feedback to your work?
A: Visual language, media and content are increasingly pervasive in all aspects of life, and audiences are smarter and less patient than ever — I am not interested in the trite storyline and predictable character arch, and from what we gleaned at festivals with After Her, audiences aren’t either.
After Her was received strongly by a young audience looking to be challenged by work that leaves more questions than answers, doesn’t distill its meaning into dialogue or a bowtie ending. I’m looking forward to releasing it to a wider audience on DUST channels this June, both through mobile and digital platforms, and I look forward to the discussions — and perhaps confusion — that will hopefully ensue.
Q: Can you talk about your experiences working with led actresses Natalia Dyer and Helena Howard? What did they bring to their respective projects?
A: I don’t think I could emphasise enough how important casting is — actors bring such a dimensionality to the characters, and the collaboration reveals itself in
every element of the film. Both Helena and Natalia incredibly intelligent and talented — they challenged the characters, bringing greater depth and motivation to the story.
Q: You have shown remarkable versatility in your career so far with credits as a director, writer, cinematographer, editor, producer and many other positions. What initially attracted you to filmmaking? And what continues to drive you as a creative person?
A: I love getting lost in any story – the feelings of empathy and investment, tension and irony — whether that was in a book, a play, a movie, or a series. Losing oneself in another’s narrative is incredibly powerful and eye-opening, and I think stories are great medium to transcend cultural and political boundaries.
Q: Is a feature film on the horizon? What would an Aly Migliori feature look like?
A: Yes! Right now, I’m focusing on the After Her sci-fi feature. I’m interested in exploring genre-based stories; there’s already a suspension of disbelief inherently, so viewers, I think, are more open to a parable.