By Katie Conway, Contributor
This past April, The Women in Comedy Festival celebrated a week of showcasing women in the comedy industry. This including some very talented females performing stand-up, improv, and musical acts all across Boston. But did you know WICF also hosted not one, but TWO film festivals?
With two different film festival contests to submit to, the Brattle Theater debuted a number of short films- each helmed by and focusing on women. Four films took top prizes at the festival, two from the WICF Film Festival and two from the Rachel Bloom Short Challenge. The difference between the two being that films submitted to the Rachel Bloom Short Challenge had to be made specifically for the festival and begin with the line “you can’t do that.” For each category, the judges determined a festival winner. The audience chose the second winner by voting for their favorite films in each category. We checked in with all the winners to find out more about their filmmaking process and what projects they will tackle next.
Here to talk about their wonderful film “Never Better” – the Best of Fest Winner for the WICF Comedy Short Contest – are Synnove Godeseth and Lucie Guest!
How did you first hear about the WICF and/or the Comedy Short Contest?
Synnove: I knew about WICF from some great comedians that I follow… I read something on Twitter about the Comedy Short Contest and found the entry details on Film Freeway.
Lucie: I first heard about WICF from our producer Synnove and then through social media. We followed the festival online and we were beyond excited to have our film screen amongst so many talented funny women.
How much experience in film did you have prior to creating this short?
Synnove: I’ve been working in the industry for nearly 15 years both in the UK and Canada. I started Location Management and moved into Production. In the past few years I’ve been producing my own projects (this coincided with having a young family as I needed flexibility in my working hours which studio films wouldn’t allow me). I met Lucie years ago on a feature film. We got on famously and I’ve been following her projects for years. She put it out on social media that she was looking for a producer…and when I read her script I knew we had to get it made!
Lucie: I have been working in film/TV for over 15 years in various roles — from director’s assistant to actor. A couple years ago I started directing. Past directing credits include: an off-beat comedic short film entitled Be Right Back that premiered at the Halifax International Film Festival; co-creating and directing Charlie and Yoni #Life After 30, which was optioned by CBC’s Comedy Coup and became a top 5 finalist in Canada; and writing and directing the pilot episode of Over Achievers, an original comedic web-series.
As an actor, I’ve trained with Upright Citizen’s Brigade, The Groundlings in LA, and graduated from The Second City Conservatory Program. Acting credits include: NBC’s Timeless, CW’s iZombie, CTV’s Motive, ABC’s Dead of Summer and Beyond, as well as BBC America’s Orphan Black.
What inspired you to create this film/what sparked the idea for it?
Lucie: The film was based on an experience in my life. I was in a relationship with someone who moved to a very small town in the middle of nowhere and I had to decide between the relationship or pursuing my career. It was a hard decision and it took long time to find closure. Maybe an abnormally longtime? I really questioned what is an acceptable amount of time to find closure. That’s where the inspiration for the film came from. My goal with the project was to write a strong female comedic character who doesn’t have it figured out, makes bad decisions, and has to find strength in it. I love loveable losers who are not winning at life… yet? It’s sad, but there’s humour in the pain of it all.
What was the most difficult obstacle you encountered in creating the film?
Lucie: I found writing to be the most challenging when creating the film. I had written sketch comedy and characters and I co-wrote a pilot, but Never Better was the first short film I had written — I think I wrote at least twenty drafts. It was the most vulnerable part of the whole process, I knew it would never be perfect but I wanted the script to be strong enough to get people interested in working on it.
Any funny stories from filming?
Lucie: Synnove do you want to talk about how you magically had a child a week before we shot the film and were answering emails faster then me from the hospital? And then you were there on set putting out fires!!??
Synnove: Ha! Yes I didn’t make it easy on myself. Prep was fine but shooting 3 weeks after having my son was a little ambitious.
Lucie: We shot the film in two days and we knew our first day was our most ambitious day because we had so many locations to shoot — all outside, in a rainstorm. The morning of the shoot our AD just didn’t show up, (there were reports later that he pulled an all nighter and was still partying at crew call). Our Gaffer was MIA and our sound guy lost his boom pole at the first location, which was 40 mins out of town. Oh, and the keys to the camera truck got locked inside the camera truck with the camera so we had to hold production for two hours and wait for a tow truck. All this before lunch! It was an exciting day.
Is there anything you would change about your short if you could?
Yes! A bunch of little things here and there. But one thing I think every time I see it is I wish saw the dolls! Our art department spent two days making these amazing dolls as Kat’s “art work” and we ended up cutting the scene where Rudi finds them! They turned out so well.
Give us a mini Oscar speech! Who would you like to thank for being a part of or inspiring this short?
Lucie: Well this wouldn’t have been made without our fearless producer Synnove pushed us to go for StoryHive’s grant competition. Everyone who voted for this project to get made and put up with our shameless social media posts and emails. The entire cast and crew who did this film as a labor of love, passion project. The film community in Vancouver for helping us out with discounts on gear rentals.
Who inspires you as a filmmaker? And/or was there a particular movie that inspired you to go into film?
Lucie: I had an English teacher in high school who had us do a report on the symbolism of the film The Graduate. He broke down the film in a visual and fascinating way that I understood and it always stuck with me. I recently watched Jordan Peele’s film Get Out. He is a genius. The symbolism in Get Out is inspiring! A filmmaker who inspires me is Lena Dunham. I saw her film Tiny Furniture, she wrote and directed it and starred in it and I thought– that’s what I want to do. She is a huge inspiration.
What advice would you give to female comedians and filmmakers?
Lucie: I think creating your own work is key. I wish I had started sooner. I guess if I would give female comedian advice is make your own stuff and then shoot it!
Do you have any projects in the works or ideas for future endeavors?
Lucie: I’m writing a half hour comedy in the same tone as Never Better called Figured Out. It takes off where Never Better ends.
Where can fans of your film follow you online?
Lucie: Instagram: Lucie Guest Twitter: @lucieguest @aclosurecomedy