Switchblade Sisters

Switchblade Sisters is a new podcast providing deep cuts on genre flicks from a female perspective. Every week, film critic April Wolfe sits down with a phenomenal female film-maker to slice-and-dice a classic genre movie - horror, exploitation, sci-fi and many others! Along the way, they cover craft, the state of the industry, how films get made, and more. Mothers, lock up your sons, the Switchblade Sisters are coming!

Switchblade Sisters Episode 69: 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me' with 'Shirkers' Director Sandi Tan

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Guests: 
Sandi Tan

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

Born in Singapore, Sandi began her career as a film critic at The Straits Times, Singapore’s largest newspaper. She then threw that all away to run off to film school at Columbia University. Sandi most recently wrote, directed, produced, and co-edited Shirkers (2018) which won the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award after its Sundance 2018 premiere. It was picked up as a Netflix Original Documentary and was on the shortlist for the 2019 Best Documentary Academy award. Shirkers reconstructs the story of an unfinished feature film Sandi made as a teenager using actual footage from the film combined with personal interrogations exploring how exactly the film came to be before it went missing.

The movie that Sandi chose to discuss this week is David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Although this film may not seem to have much to do with her own film, Shirkers, throughout the conversation she and April discover a great deal of overlap. Both movies are steeped in murder, reconciling the past, and mysterious disappearing male figures. Sandi details the incredible story of how she came to make the documentary. And she and April explore the intuitive filmmaking of David Lynch, and why he wanted to tell Laura Palmer's side of the story.

You can watch Shirkers on Netflix.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walks with Me.

With April Wolfe and Sandi Tan.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 68: 'Labyrinth' with 'Solace' Director Tchaiko Omawale

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Guests: 
Tchaiko Omawale

Labyrinth

Tchaiko graduated from Columbia University before going on to intern for Spike Lee and Mira Nair. While assisting directors George C. Wolfe and Tom Vaughan she directed several short-form projects, including America's Shadows: HIV Risk in Black & Latino Youth. In 2012, she wrote the script called Solace, which would eventually become her feature debut. At that time, it was a semi-finalist for the Sundance Writers Lab. In 2015, the project became a recipient of the Panavision New Filmmakers Program. Solace premiered at the LA Film Festival 2018, winning Special Jury Mention Best Ensemble Cast. Tchaiko was a 2017 School of Making Thinking resident fellow where she created the VR film Shapeshifters. In between her independent projects she produces and directs commercials and branded content.

The movie that Tchaiko has chosen to discuss this week is the wonderful, wacky, goblin-y, Labyrinth. April and Tchaiko touch upon the arousing gender fluidity of David Bowie's character "Jerith." Tchaiko talks about how she strives to make "imperfect" films. She also elaborates on being inspired by nature in the writing of her next fantasy film. Plus, there's a lot of puppet talk - from the construction to the puppeteering itself. If you love Labyrinth, you will love this discussion.

You can watch the trailer for Tchaiko's feature Solace here.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Labyrinth.

With April Wolfe and Tchaiko Omawale.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 67: 'Head' with 'B.C. Butcher' Director Kansas Bowling

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Guests: 
Kansas Bowling

Head

Kansas is a born-and-raised-in-Hollywood writer and director. She wrote her first feature when she was only 15, and then went on to direct it for release at 17. The film, titled, B.C. Butcher, is a “pre-historic slasher” starring Kato Kaelin. B.C. Butcher was distributed by Troma Entertainment, and Kansas was inducted into the Troma Institute for Gifted Youth. Since then, she has directed 25 music videos for artists including Collapsing Scenery, Boyd Rice, Iggy Pop, and the Death Valley Girls. Aside from directing, Kansas also acts. She’s appeared in more than 30 projects, including the upcoming directorial debut of Glenn Danzig, and also Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. She also starred in a short film series called 'Curious Females', which premiered on Refinery29 in 2017.

The movie that Kansas has chosen to discuss on this week's episode is the 1968 freak-out fest by The Monkees called, Head. It's evident immediately that Kansas has a deep love for The Monkees and this film. She points out that The Monkees were very self aware in the film, as they comment on being "wind-up dolls" meant to distract people from the Vietnam war. She describes how her favorite films have a frenetic editing style, like Head, and also incorporate elements of "artistic non-fiction." Kansas covers some of her craziest experiences working on her own movies, like getting Kato Kaelin to appear in her film B.C. Butcher for free when she was only seventeen. Or like the time she called up Iggy Pop and asked if he'd be in a music video - and he said yes. If there's anything you should take away from this interview, it's that it never hurts to ask.

You can see B.C. Butcher streaming online.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Head.

With April Wolfe and Kansas Bowling.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 66: 'Don't Look Now' with 'Untogether' Director Emma Forrest

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Guests: 
Emma Forrest

Don't Look Now

What a fascinating episode we have in store for you this week. We are so lucky to be joined by writer/director, Emma Forrest. Emma has lived a life. She started out as very young journalist in London, when at the age of 15, she wrote a lauded story on Madonna for The Sunday Times, which prompted her to leave school at 16 to become a full-time writer for the Times. In 1998, she moved into writing fiction with the publication of her novel Namedropper. From there Emma began writing screenplays, selling one to Plan B, another to Miramax, and subsequently being named by Variety as one of the "Top Ten Screenwriters to Watch in 2009." Emma, however, has taken her screenwriting into her own hands and in 2018 debuted her first feature, Untogether, at the TriBeca Film Festival. Untogether stars Jemima and Lola Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn, Jamie Dornan, and Billy Crystal, and tells the story of two sisters in the middle of their own artistic and life crises — one a recovering addict, and the other in a withering relationship she doesn’t understand but can’t let go of.

In addition to discussing her newest film, Emma has chosen to talk about Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. Emma describes how she feels so connected to this film - having seen it at an inappropriately young age and also being burdened by the feelings of premonitions. She and April admire all the incredibly unique aspects of the film - the writing, editing, cinematography, and even the performances of the leads Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Emma even notes the similarities between Don't Look Now and her own film, Untogether, in how both movies take place in cities that seem to know the fates of the protagonists before the characters do. Emma also opens up about the difficulties of working on her newest release, in particular having to direct her ex-husband Ben Mendelsohn while they were going through a divorce, and how that emotion on set powered many of the performances in the film.

You can see Untogether in select theaters and streaming on February 8th.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Don't Look Now.

With April Wolfe and Emma Forrest.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 65: 'The Wiz' with 'How to Get Away with Murder' Director DeMane Davis

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Guests: 
DeMane Davis

The Wiz

This week we are graced by the presence of the wonderful writer/director, DeMane Davis (Lift, 'Queen Sugar', 'How to Get Away with Murder'). She's on the program this week to discuss The Wiz. She and April begin the conversation by fawning over the performance of the one and only Diana Ross as Dorothy. They also cover the technical prowess of director Sidney Lumet, and why he considers this film somewhat of a failure. The conversation then turns towards DeMane's work as a TV director. They go in depth on what a day on set actually looks like. DeMane tells a story about a time when the producers of her feature Lift brought on another editor. But she also stresses that the most important thing is getting your work out in to the world. And lastly, DeMane emphasizes the lessons she learned from The Wiz about believing in yourself, and that when you are comfortable and confident in the work that you're doing, that's when you become really dangerous.

You can see DeMane's episode of How to Get Away with Murder on February 14.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Wiz.

With April Wolfe and DeMane Davis.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 64: 'The Bourne Identity' with 'Close' Director Vicky Jewson

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Guests: 
Vicky Jewson

The Bourne Identity

This week we have the amazing writer/director Vicky Jewson (Lady Godiva, Born of War) on the program. Her new film, Close, stars Noomi Rapace as a counter-terrorism expert and bodyguard tasked to protect a wealthy heiress. It's a gritty, intimate action film, and that's why the movie Vicky has chosen to discuss is so apt. This week Vicky will be discussing 2002's, The Bourne Identity. Vicky elaborates on the influence this film had on her, and how the Bourne series has had a huge influence on the current iterations of the Bond movies. Vicky goes in depth on mapping out action sequences and working with stunt coordinators to achieve a spontaneous feel in her film. She also talks about working with Noomi Rapace, and why it was difficult for her to call "cut." Vicky and April also go behind the scenes of The Bourne Identity and outline Doug Liman's career trajectory from indie films to directing an unorthodox blockbuster action film.

You can see Close on Netflix.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Bourne Identity.

With April Wolfe and Vicky Jewson.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 63: 'The Lure' with 'Abducted in Plain Sight' Director Skye Borgman

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Guests: 
Skye Borgman

The Lure

We are so lucky to have on the program this week, cinematographer and director Skye Borgman. Her most recent documentary, Abducted in Plain Sight, follows the story of a young girl in a tight-knit LDS community, who is abducted twice by her neighbor and parent's best friend. It's an intense and serious film, which makes Skye's chosen genre movie all the more interesting. She has decided to discuss 2015's Polish, horror, mermaid musical, The Lure. She and April pinpoint how this film is able to deftly deliver harsh truths about female sexualization within the framework of a mythic fairytale. The two also marvel at the director Agnieszka Smoczynska, and what she was able to do in terms of pushing the limits of the mermaid's fin designs. Skye also touches upon working with the Broberg family on her doc, and how she was able to get them to discuss incredibly difficult subjects like pedophilia and child abuse.

You can see Abducted in Plain Sight on Netflix.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Lure.

With April Wolfe and Skye Borgman.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 62: 'Defending Your Life' with 'Operator' Director Logan Kibens

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Guests: 
Logan Kibens

Defending Your Life

This week we slice and dice with writer/director Logan Kibens. She's on the program to discuss Albert Brooks' Defending Your Life. This is one of Logan's favorite films as well, and she explains the philosophical aspects of it that keep her coming back to watch over and over again. She and April point out how this film is a precursor to shows like 'The Good Place.' Logan elaborates on working with actors and getting past the intimidation phase. She discusses convincing people to invest in her first feature, even though she'd never directed one before. Logan also talks about working on that debut feature, Operator, starring Martin Starr and Mae Whitman. Plus, they examine how even though Defending Your Life flopped upon its release, it has endured due to its universal message of living without fear.

You can see Operator on Netflix.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Defending Your Life.

With April Wolfe and Logan Kibens.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 61: 'Under the Skin' with 'Rust Creek' Director Jen McGowan

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Guests: 
Jen McGowan

Under the Skin

This week we've got director Jen McGowan (Rust Creek, Kelly & Cal) on the program to discuss Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin. Jen takes April deep into the world of filmmaking as she discusses the concept of "process dictating product." They examine the differences between making films in Europe and the US. They break down the genius of Jonathan Glazer and the exact steps he took to complete this film. Jen explains what it's like pitching as a director for hire. Plus, she and April dissect Scarlett Johansson's risky performance and how she's both sexy and scary at the same time.

You can see Rust Creek in limited theaters and VOD on January 4th.

And if you haven't seen it yet, go watch Under the Skin on Netflix.

With April Wolfe and Jen McGowan.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters at @SwitchbladePod on Twitter. Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 60: 'Point Break' with 'Alaska Is a Drag' Director Shaz Bennett

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Guests: 
Shaz Bennett

Point Break

This week we've got writer and director Shaz Bennett on the program to talk about Kathryn Bigelow's classic, Point Break. As Shaz says on the show, this is the movie she most wishes she had directed. She and April also discuss Shaz's newest film, Alaska Is a Drag, which follows an aspiring drag queen turned boxer stuck working at a cannery in Alaska. The two of them dissect the masterful directing of Bigelow during the visceral chase scenes. They look at the unconventional casting of Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves. They praise the performance and genius of Lori Petty. And Shaz elaborates on being yourself while directing, and being close to your actors on set. April has a special connection with this film as well, having written a retrospective for Rolling Stone last year.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Point Break.

With April Wolfe with Shaz Bennett.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters at @SwitchbladePod on Twitter. Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.