Susan Weiss

Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about?
Lia is a documentary film about a woman training and competing in a body building competition. The work spans over 6 months of her training and competing, photographing the entire process.

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What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
It is a documentary piece so there are no actors in the film.

How did you communicate with the cameraman?

I was the cameraperson and photographed with both film and stills so there was no need to communicate with anyone else.

What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
Most of the images were taken in the gym where Lia was training. There were some exterior shots, the beauty parlor, acupuncture and massage parlor, her home kitchen and in the final sequence the photographs were taken on location in San Antonio where she was competing.

Why should distributors buy your film?

The film is of interest because it explores a sport and community that not many people are aware of. It is an introduction to a subculture of fitness, competition, and asks the viewer what is their notion of female beauty.

What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?

The work is expressive and dramatic in the image details, the closeup photography, and body imagery.

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At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
The film has had good success at the festival circuit – having been shown at Miami Women Festival, Best Shorts Competition, Accolade (award winner and IMDB qualifier), San Francisco Art House (semi-finalist), Chicago Filmmakers (semi-finalist), Tokyo International Shorts, Roma Short, Montreal (nominee), Munich New Wave Short

What motivated you to become a filmmaker?

The project originally began with the goal of being a print piece but early on I was encouraged to make it a film piece. This is my first film.

Which movies are your favorites? And why?

I prefer movies that are both visually and content challenging. One of my favorite directors is Martin Scorsese and Lia was very influenced by his work, specifically Taxi Driver, which I watched numerous times while creating my piece.

What topics do you like to deal with in your work?

My body of work is focused on the human condition, what motivates people, their psychological state of mind, and how they navigate their lives.

What genre do you like to shoot and why?

Lia is my first film and I like working in the documentary world. I am now contemplating a second film and thinking about a multi-channel piece exploring the issue of perception and how we look at and interpret what is in front of us.

What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?

I am very interested in working with stories of women in multigenerational families and how their lives have changed from the oldest generation down to the youngest. I think this is a fascinating story that would be of interest to everyone.

What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?

I watch a lot of movies and have been taking movie classes since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. If I am not thinking or watching, I prefer to be outdoors and hiking where I can continue to think about movies.

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?

I am beginning to think about my next film which I will start to work on in the spring. It will be called "If you look closely black tulips are really purple" Last fall I planted 100 black tulip bulbs in my garden which I will photograph in May 2024 when they bloom and this will be the basis for the piece intermingled with other photographs and video that I have done. The piece will be about perception and how we understand and decode what we are looking at.