We wrap up our LA Film Fest series with three films that highlight unexplored stories. Maya Stark and Adi Lavy talk with us about their film about the Navajo community, Sun Kissed. The unlikely genetic condition they encountered made for a fascinating subject.
We then meet with David Fenster about his hybrid-doc film, Pincus, which opened up his own family to the lens as they confronted his father’s Parkinson’s disease.
Finally, the wildly enthusiastic R.H. Greene opens up about his homage to a good friend and Cult queen, Vampira and Me. From rolling with James Dean to hard times in New York, Vampira is shown as one of the great often-overlooked figures of modern culture.
Watch new episodes of BYOD live each week on Tuesdays at noon on TheLip.TV, or tune in for the archived replay starting here on the following Thursday.
BYOD is co-hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice, and Vladimir Radovanov, entertainment attorney, and executive producer of “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC.” Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi and Vladimir share their insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
Maya Stark is an accomplished director/editor of fiction and non-fiction films. Born and raised in Israel, she moved to New York to pursue a career in filmmaking. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, Maya directed numerous short films including Sweet Lonely and Before Chaos. She also edited several feature narrative and documentary films and television projects for BBC, Sundance Channel, AZN, and Logo. Recently, Stark edited the award-winning documentary Wings of Defeat (IDFA-First Appearance Competition, Hot Docs and numerous other festivals). In 2007, the film had a successful theatrical run in Japan and was broadcast by PBS’s Independent Lens and ARTE in Europe. Sun Kissed is Maya’s first directorial feature documentary.
Adi Lavyis an internationally accomplished documentary photographer who has worked with publications such as Newsweek, SZ Weissen (Germany) and Le Repubblica (Italy). In April 2008, she was a finalist at the prestigious Hyeres Photography festival, showcasing her project “Camp Sundown”, which addresses the inner world of children who suffer from XP, a disorder that prevents them from being exposed to the sun and ultra violet light.
An Israeli native, Adi began her career as a journalist, working for various publications in Israel, and over the years shifted towards photography, attending Columbia University School of the Arts and New York’s School of Visual Arts. She currently resides in New York City. Sun Kissed is Adi’s first directorial feature documentary.
was born in Miami, Florida. He received a BA from the University of Florida and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He has completed one feature length fiction film, TRONA (2004), and several documentary and experimental shorts. His work has shown at film festivals and in museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, The Sundance Film Festival and The Viennale. His documentary WOOD (2006) won Best Documentary Short at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
R.H Greene is an author, college professor and documentarian living in Los Angeles. He has worked extensively in the vein of ‘cult’ films, having directed “SCHLOCK! THE SECRET HISTORY OF AMERICAN MOVIES,” as well as his current piece on Vampira.
00:01 BYOD from LAFF 3 Introduction.
00:55 Welcoming Sun Kissed makers, Maya Stark and Adi Lavy.
02:13 The story of Sun Kissed.
05:35 Traditional explanations for the genetic abnormality.
08:00 Sun Kissed, Clip.
13:03 Making the story relatable to the audience.
18:06 The common XP experience gets shared through families.
18:52 Where to keep up with the film.
21:56 Sun Kissed, Clip.
27:48 Pincus, Clip.
29:58 Welcoming David Nordstrom and David Fenster.
30:33 The inspiration for the hybrid film and casting his dad.
32:50 Using both documentary footage and scripted shots.
34:27 Casting the rest of the roles.
39:35 The film’s premiere and response.
40:24 Sight gags in Pincus.
41:28 Branching into more traditional documentary style.
42:20 Pincus, Clip.
42:55 Vampira and Me, Clip.
43:18 Introducing R.H. Greene of Vampira and Me.
44:33 Explaining Vampira and Me, and telling a friend’s story archivally.
49:30 Facing the LA Film Fest competition and teaching at LMU.
50:16 Tackling the subject with such little footage.
51:21 Vampira and Me, Clip.
51:51 Sourcing rare video tape.
54:43 Detailing her hardships without being exploitative.
57:35 Getting material by accident and on eBay.
59:46 The fortuitous events that took place during the filming.
1:04:46 The estranged relationship with James Dean, and Vampira’s career crash.
1:08:53 What the story is about on the most universal level.
1:12:01 Keeping up with the film.
1:13:26 Vampira and Me, Clip.
1:14:06 Show credits.