Monday, 15 June 2020

Interview with filmmaker Sylvia Toy

Voice will premier at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films? 
I started making movies when I realized my plays were never not going to be boring and mediocre. *What inspired you to make your movie? VOICE is about a bipolar woman whose psychoses start traveling together in outer space when the woman enters therapy. I had my first major depression when I was 3-1/2 in the 1950s when not even educated people like my parents knew that kids could be mentally ill. I was on my own emotionally, which I'm not complaining about because I'm 100% certain that driving myself all my life is how I wound up the person I am who went out and grabbed her own happiness. VOICE was inspired by the resourcefulness of the mentally ill, for which we don't get much credit from mental health professionals or anyone else. 

*How has your style evolved? 
My filmmaking aesthetic evolved from an obsession with the layering of images in shadow patterns and reflections, which so often seems to show both the interior and exterior of reality. Chromakeying lets me make up my own impossible world. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film? 
The protagonist in VOICE, Psyche, is as opposite from me as I could possibly make her except that we are both bipolar. She's an only child (I have 4 siblings); her parents' sudden death in a car crash left her independently wealthy (my parents were not rich); her husband got so frustrated with her not seeking help for her mental illness that he left her (my husband is very supportive); her boss put her on disability to force her to seek help for her mental illness (this actually did happen to me); and most of all, she has had artist's block her whole adult life, which never happens to me. 

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind? 
"Your instincts are right - you CAN do whatever you want. So, go the hell and do it." 

*What can we expect from your next film? 
My sci fi feature film in progress DERMALIAN (aliens investigate why humans became extinct), for which I made a proof-of-concept in 2019, is in 4th draft of the script but will not be made until somebody gives me $75,000. However, I always have several next films - always, always, always no-budget and handmade - in the works. They are character-driven, which in my work means that the characters decide what the story is and none of them have told me exactly what their stories are. So I can't tell you what to expect yet. HALF-LIVES, my second longest running project changed because the antagonist turned into the protagonist by announcing the protagonist's death in an improvisation one morning. THE LABYRINTH, my newest project was only supposed to have a solitary character wandering in a void, but so far additional characters, have shown up in improvisation. Stay tuned!