OLIVE GOIL: Jacqueline Castel

I know that I have told you this before my friends, but I am telling it again – women directors rule!

Alas, there are still far too few of them, and that is why it is up to us all to give loud and long shout- outs, to the fine filmmakers of the female persuasion!

Today I am singing the praises of a lovely lady who creates the dreamiest music videos and experimental shorts, a mystical, magical sort of gal who has imagined alternate worlds and mysterious messaging for acts like Lola Jesus and Moon Duo.

Miss Jacqueline Castel studied at fine schools like CalArts and NYU and honed her directing skills by doing it, by commitment and exploration and experience. Over just the last few years, Jacqueline’s work has been featured internationally, on the BBC, MTV2, NME, The New York Times, Pitchfork, and VICE. Her short film work has been exhibited at The Director’s Guild of America, The Museum of the Moving Image, and SXSW.

Take a close look at her work and I think you’ll agree that Miss Castel has a voice all her own – a strange, slightly spooky, but utterly beautiful – aesthetic that reminds me of exotic lands and outer space and deep woods and high seas.

Miss Castel is a filmmaker that manages to create images you have never seen before, except for maybe in the deepest of dreams.

Olive Goil: Lena Dunham

My dears, Miss Lena Dunham is a force to be reckoned with, am I right?

With her hit film Tiny Furniture, she showed a side of us gals that had not been revealed before on film, -creating a raw, witty, and unabashed look at what it’s like to be a woman.

And now, with her hit HBO series “Girls” Dunham has done the same, bringing to television a no-nonsense, no holds barred exploration of ladies trying their best in the big city.  The show is funny, goofy, and most of all, bracingly honest. Even if “Girls” is exactly not your cup of tea, it’s very hard to argue with the wonderful intelligence of the dialogue and biting awareness in the writing and performance.

I am a die-hard flapper/ feminist, as you all know. I like to dance and I like to shout out loud praises, to strong women, round the world.  So it only goes to say, I am utterly thrilled that a young women like Dunham, (she just 26!) is making her way, paving the road, and kicking down doors in film and TV.

The latter being still a bit of a “no woman’s” land, don’t you agree?

That said, my sweet readers, I feel it is my duty to continually introduce all of you fine folks, to gals like Miss D, who make the rest of our lives that much better through their smarts and talent.

Kudos to Miss Dunham and her cast-mates and crew for running such a tight and wonderfully whimsical ship!

Live Olive: Maximilla

Today, my dears, I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Miss Maximilla Lukacs – filmmaker and visual artist of the highest order and a sweet gal to boot.

Like moí, Miss Maximilla is a gypsy wanderer, an adventuress of land and sea and sky, and an explorer of the outer worlds and the inner mind.

Take seat ladies, and listen up!

Q: What inspired you as a child artistically?

A: Drawing mostly. I loved to draw so much as a child that I drew all over my parents’ hallway in communist Budapest, Hungary. Huge scribbles as tall as I probably was at the time. All over their nice wallpaper. I guess I needed to express myself and I guess in a show of support they left the drawings up for a long time.  As a child the thing you love to do the most is create imaginary worlds. So for me not much has changed. I have found a way to make that my job.

Q: What do you love most about the filmmaking process?

A: I really love that through films you can take entire worlds that are imagined in your head and turn them into a reality that you can share with others. It really is magical. And through the process you get to collaborate with so many other talented artists that end up making that world even richer and more beautiful.

I started off painting and drawing which is a very lonely, isolating process but you have control over every minute detail. With filmmaking there is a beautiful chaos to it that over time you learn to surf and sculpt. So strangely the thing I love the most about the filmmaking process is those chance elements that come with working with others and working with nature and light and music. Bring on the beautiful chaos!

Also, there is something of the unspoken, unwritten. There is an experiential quality to film that can only happen in that medium. Those moments of watching a film that make you feel something so specific yet it cannot be described in words. I love that! I strive for that.

Q: Favorite women filmmakers? 

Sadly there are not too many women filmmakers to point to.  They are more absent from the film dialogue as makers than almost any other art form. But I know that is changing as we speak.

My favorites are Maya Deren and Vera Chytilova. Maya Deren’s films offer such a unique and feminine vision that I feel is lacking from the language if film in general. Her surrealist vision and the way she plays with time and with movement is incredible. She is a true visionary!

And Vera Chytilova made one of my favorite films of all time “Daisies”. There is so much experimentation going on in the film in terms of her craft.  But also the main characters in the film, two young girls who are so defiant and show a side to girls that I don’t think had been properly portrayed in film up to that point. (It was banned upon its initial release due to its depictions of wasting food!)

In the film the girls decide that since the world has gone bad they are going bad and the adventures that unfold are truly amazing antics. There is some really experimental storytelling going on in the film.  She uses the tossing of flower wreaths to transition from one scene to another in a way that is so gracefully psychedelic.

Now this brings me to the next person I want to talk about who I think is doing amazing work today and that is Lena Dunham who directed “Tiny Furniture” and is now doing the TV show “Girls”.

I think she is showing a side of young girls that is so honest and refreshing and completely absent from mainstream culture.

I think women need to enter the very important cultural dialogue of film. I think the world needs a prismatic point of view in 2012 and women and people from more impoverished cultures with fewer resources are part of that.  Culturally we need a full spectrum representation of the human experience. Film plays a crucial role in that. It is a mirror we must hold up to ourselves as a species. Our films tell us so much about what is going on with our collective soul. With our collective consciousness. I think this is a very exciting time to be alive!

Wren F/W 12 “Beware of Young Girls” from Maximilla Lukacs on Vimeo.