Part-time Lane instructor Johnnie Mazzocco screened her first feature-length film, Found Objects, at Lane on April 15. According to the closing slide of the film it is “dedicated to the women of the world who create, and especially to the ones who don’t.” The Torch sat down with Mazzocco, who had created five short films previously, to discuss her accomplishment.
The Torch: Had you worked with the actors before?
Mazzocco: No, I felt really thankful to find these people. When I cast them, I was fortunate to find people who really embodied what I was after. I gave them a really elaborate back story on each character and let that percolate during the early summer. That was the bulk of my directing. We didn’t rehearse anything.
Q: When did filming start?
A: It started in September. We did 12 straight days in the motel. It was a very smooth production. The house-burning scene was planned months in advance.
Q: Did you just stay by a police scanner and wait for a fire nearby or did you burn the house yourself?
A: No, the fire department has a program in which they burn houses for the purposes of training. It was McKenzie Fire and Rescue that helped me with that. I was in touch with them way in advance to make sure it would be safe. They said we could start out as close as we wanted, but I think they knew the heat would keep us back.
Q: What was your inspiration for making this film?
A: In grad school, I got really interested in social systems and institutions and how that shapes who we are — especially the nuclear family. I became very fascinated with being a creative woman and raising a family and what that means. I think unrealized creative impulse is very destructive to an individual. It comes out of us in other ways when it’s stifled. I think it makeus physically ill, mentally ill and spiritually ill, and that projects on to the people around us. I also think the opposite is true. I think that if we have a healthy creative outlet, then we can heal the people around us.
Q: Are you going to submit this film to any festivals?
A: I’ve been thinking about it. Moondance is one for sure. There’s another one in London called Raindance. I have this feeling that European audiences will like it, so I’m really going to explore the international festivals.
Q: How many short films did you make before you moved on to the feature-length film?
A: I have made about five short films. They’re in a box somewhere and they might not ever come out.
Q: Do you have any other work coming?
A: I’m starting some beginning phases of the next film and also a web series. I’m getting ready to say goodbye to this project and these characters.