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Fierce female filmmakers of the 2017 New Orleans Film Festival: Lindsey Phillips

Editor's Note: The 2017 New Orleans Film Festival is full of fierce female filmmakers, and we are talking with some of our local ladies to find out their inspirations and movie-going rituals.

Lindsey Phillips, filmmaker (photos provided by: Lindsey Phillips)

Who: Lindsey Phillips

What: Filmmaker

Title of film: My Name Is Marc, And You Can Count On It

One line summary of film: Cult icon and minor Cleveland celebrity Marc Brown is known for his bizarre late night TV commercials promoting his store, Norton Furniture; meet the man behind the commercials and discover the method to his madness.

Screening date and place: Friday, October 13 at 6:45 PM at The Broad Theater (screening before The Power of Glove)

Q: How do you feel like living in New Orleans influenced the making of this film?

LP: The people that I have met and worked with in New Orleans have been such an amazingly collaborative community. They have pushed me creatively and given me the confidence to find my voice and direct my own films.

In making My Name Is Marc, it was really wonderful to come from that background and bring that with me to this project. Anytime you make a film you run into weird situations, stories, and questions. My collaborator, Michael Arcos, and I had a lot of discussions about how to figure Marc out and portray him in the most engaging way that was representative. We had to wrap our brains around this man as a person, his furniture store, and the strange and somewhat famous commercials that he decided to make for this store.

We were dealing a lot with the question ‘why?’ and that took a lot of thought and collaboration.

The people I’ve met in New Orleans have creatively fed each other--that’s other filmmakers, theater people, musicians, and all these different arts that come together. That community becomes engrained in you, and it supports you to push further in your own art making.

The hotdog statue in Norton Furniture (photos provided by: Lindsey Phillips)

Q: What food would you pair with the screening of My Name Is Marc, and You can Count on It if anything was an option?

LP: My gut reaction is a hot dog because in Marc’s store there are a lot of statues of really strange things. One of them is a giant hot dog, so that would be rather fitting.

Q: Where do you like to sit in the movie theater when you are watching a film?

LP: I like to go three-quarters of the way back and in the middle. When it comes to watching my own films, I like to sit in the back because I like to watch and feel how the audience is engaging and reacting.

I love incorporating humor in my work, and it’s incredible to watch something you created for an audience, and you see them get it. They get the funny, the weird, and the awkward moments that you also saw. When they react to those moments, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. There is this collective audience that is in a moment you created right there with you.

Q: Why do you think film is important?

LP: I mainly work in documentary films, and that is such an incredible way to get outside of yourself and to put yourself in someone else’s world. This feels like a cheesy answer, but it’s this general sense of ‘we are all in this together.’ You learn about someone else’s struggles that you had no idea existed in their life, and it goes beyond empathy.

In the case of My Name Is Marc, the film is nothing about struggle, but it’s a peek into a person that you’ve always known about, especially if you grew up in Cleveland, but you actually know nothing about him. It’s a way of digging deeper and finding the parts of human in everyone--finding what drives us and what our passions are.

Marc, owner of Norton Furniture (photos provided by: Lindsey Phillips)

Q: If you were to talk to your younger self about this film, what would you tell her about the making of it?

LP: Well, it’s funny because I’m not sure my younger self would even know what a documentary was [laughing], so there would be the shock of ‘hey, this is actually what you are going to do in life.’

Marc is also a cult legend, and I still can’t believe he let me come into his world and become part of it, and as a young girl that would be a surprise to me.

In the end, I would tell her to follow her gut, realize that the making of the film is going to be difficult--both personally and technically--so find the fun, the humor, and the humanity in it.

 

Lindsey Phillips is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her newest film, My Name Is Marc, And You Can Count On It, will be screening at the New Orleans Film Festival on Saturday, October 13 at 6:45 PM at The Broad Theater. She also has the film The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium, which is a film about the cherished tradition of costuming during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, Lindsey is also the Director of Cinema Reset, a film initiative dedicated to the exhibition of new media works and installations in partnership with the New Orleans Film Festival.

Kelley Crawford is a professor, writer, mentor, dancer, and constant questioner. If you would like to contact Kelley Crawford, you can email her at kelley@nolavie.com.