Meagan Flynn talks about her short film “High Bid” which addresses the issue of on-line virginity auctions

Meagan Flynn talks about her short film “High Bid” which addresses the issue of on-line virginity auctions.

 

Meagan Flynn
Meagan Flynn

 

Meagan Flynn, currently lives in the Kansas City area and grew up on a cattle ranch in south western Montana

It was an amazing way to grow up! Tons of family and the most beautiful part of the country.

Meagan has been doing theatre since she was a child.

I always wanted to be and actor and to work in film. After college I headed to Los Angeles to make that a reality.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of on-line virginity auctions in your art?

High Bid was actually inspired by a two true stories I’d heard. The first story I saw featured on Oprah of a young boy who was selling photos, videos and eventually himself through his home computer from his suburban bedroom. The second was the story of a young woman in Brazil who was actually selling her virginity on-line to the highest bidder. I believe it went for several hundred thousand dollars.

 

 

Tell us why you chose this submission?

I think this film is important because it’s something that is happening. The Internet is not a new world, but it is an infinite world that can be used for more things than I can even wrap my mind around. I also think the important thing about this film is that you don’t quite know how to feel about the story-are you outraged? Do you empathize with her? Are you upset with the mother? Are you upset with the daughter? What do you feel? I’m hoping it’s a piece that starts a conversation.

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I’m an actor and film-maker to the core. The visual medium of film has always been the art form that moved me the most and it’s where I feel that I can generate the most emotion from an audience. I still get my breath taken away all the time by films.

What is your process when creating?

I always say that I’m an idea person and then I have to find the talented people who can actually make it a reality. Honestly, I usually am struck by something in real life that gives me a spark of an idea and then I reach out to people more talented than myself to help me formulate and bring it to the screen.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I’m influenced by so many things. My family, my friends, my children, a person I have a casual interaction with one day. I think part of being a good film-maker and actor is being an observer of the world and the people in it. I can get inspired by the craziest things, so it’s more me making sure that I take the time to slow down and see what’s going on in the world in front of me.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Boy that’s become such a loaded word lately hasn’t it? If you say yes you are then you are pushing one agenda and if you say no I’m not then you are pushing another. I am a woman who believes in equal rights and opportunities for all people regardless of what categories they fit in, so whatever that makes me by definition I am.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

I think because it’s true-art does save lives. I don’t know who or what I would be without art and artistic ways to express what’s inside me. I think there are so many people out there in the world who feel that way.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously?Do you have any experiences of this?

Yes, I think that in 2015 there are expectations and limitations that are placed on women because of gender. I think that unfortunately in film women are highly under-represented, particularly behind the camera. I think we do have to work harder to be taken seriously and that we get fewer chances to make mistakes.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

I think it would be ignorant and arrogant for me to speak with expertise of any society in the world besides my own. That being said I think we are all aware that there are many societies  in this world where women are second class citizens. As far as America goes it depends on what you mean by equal. There is a pay gap still in this country between men and women. Do I think, however, that I have an equal shot at things like education compared to a man-yes? But does that mean all women in this country do, not necessarily.

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?  

How much space do you have on your blog? There are so many things I am passionate about and love to work for! I am passionate about many causes including ending human trafficking, making sure that all children have access to food, decent living conditions and education, helping to advance equal rights for all people, helping mentor young people so that they can explore every opportunity they dream of, and keeping arts and music in our schools just to name a few.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Art helps me cope, it helps me express and it keeps me sane. For me it is life-saving. I can’t imagine where I would be or how I would have gotten through dark times without having ways to express what’s inside of me.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I want my art to get people talking. I don’t care if people love it or hate it if my films get them talking, Google-ing, or researching a topic then I have done my job. I tell women’s stories so even if it’s a silly comedy that just makes people laugh, but they have watched and supported a female driven film I feel I’m doing something positive.

What are your goals as with your art?

To keep making it and to have the means to keep making it and to get better each time. I only hope each day that I can continue to act and create films for the rest of my life.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I’m extremely excited for my next project which is filming on April 4th. It’s a dramatic short film called Tipping Point that deals with the issue of sex trafficking in our American cities. It’s calling attention to the issue and the fact that it’s happening where you least expect it. We have received a couple grants and are actually still accepting donations at our IndieGoGo campaign. We are so excited to tell this story and hope we get a great response to the final film.

 

 

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

I’d really just like to thank you for featuring me and High Bid. I’m truly honoured! I love what you are doing and I am excited to be a part of it!

 

 

If you would like to know more about Meagan Flynn follow her links:

Website

IMDB

Smart Mouth Productions FB page

Twitter

Vimeo

Lorraine Nolan re-imagines Lucretia and creates a modern day domestic rape tragedy where the only downfall is that of the victim in her film Lowly Lucretia

Lorraine Nolan re-imagines Lucretia and creates a modern day domestic rape tragedy where the only downfall is that of the victim in her film Lowly Lucretia

 

Lorraine Nolan
Lorraine Nolan

 

Lorraine Nolan, aged 33, based in London. Originally from Ireland but based now in London for several years. Initially trained as an actor and has worked in theatre, before returning to college to study Film-making. Lorraine’s move to London was to pursue an MA in Film at Goldsmiths University of London, where she specialised in Directing. Currently working as a Creative in TV, but also making time for personal projects under LOR Create, most recently making a music promo for the artist Warsnare featuring Russian Doll.

 

What motivated you to deal with the subject of RAPE in your art?

When I was studying my MA in 2009, a census was published exploring UK university student’s attitude to rape culture. The report included questions such as:

When is a woman not/partially/fully responsible for being raped in a list of scenarios such as walking down a dark alley late at night, or wearing revealing clothing?

I was really disturbed to discover the large percentages of students who, in a western culture in 2009, perceived that a woman is partially or fully responsible for her own rape in any of the given situations.

Upon further research into rape and violence against women, I discovered the insanely low convictions for the crime and indeed that most rapes are committed by a person close to the victim.

This led to my re-engagement with Lucretia, a classical figure that has appeared in art through the ages, painted by a wide range of artists including Titian, Botticelli, Rembrandt and Artemisia Gentileschi. She has also featuring in literature and music; Benjamin Britten has composed an opera about her. Lucretia was a Roman noble woman whose rape by the kings nephew Tarquinius, and her consequent suicide, caused the downfall of the Roman monarchy in 509BC and the establishment of the first Roman Republic.

This reaction to that crime in 509BC leaves me dumbfounded at the rape culture that still prevails today and I decided to re-imagine Lucretia’s story in a modern setting where victims mostly carry their burden alone, let down by society and government.

 

 

Lowly Lucretia:

Lucretia was a Roman noble woman whose famous rape and subsequent suicide in 509 BC caused the downfall of the Roman Monarchy. Lowly Lucretia is a modern day domestic rape tragedy where the only downfall is that of the victim.

16mm Film, produced at Goldsmiths University of London.

 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I moved from acting and theatre to film-making, which I think is a natural progression. I have always loved film, music, and particularly drama and working as a writer/director means that I get to work across a multitude of roles from working with actors, developing ideas and stories, to edit and sound design. I enjoy being across all the creative elements that bring moving images to life.

What is your process when creating?

It varies from project to project, in my TV Creative role I usually work to briefs. In my personal projects I start with the idea and research around it. I then spend time writing, and developing and flesh it out with friends who I collaborate with. Collaboration is key! Once I have a script ready to go, I then rely on the specialist talents of all the people I work with, from cinematographers to production designers. I assemble a crew of skilled people, and have been very lucky to work with such talented people again and again.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

It is not an exhaustive list; influences are everywhere! I am inspired by the visual arts, music, fashion, literature and design. Currently I am very much inspired by the beautiful film Ida, and just discovering the work of artist Marlene Dumas.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism to me means equality and freedom. I am definitely a feminist. How can seeking equality across all areas of my life be a thing I wouldn’t want? Why would any person want their daughter doing the same job as a man to be paid less solely because she is female? It’s a serious issue that still needs a lot of fighting for, and to me being a feminist is inclusive of men, women, and the LGBT community, it is equality for everyone.

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

The celebration of women across the month of March captured my imagination, and again I felt it was the perfect home for Lowly Lucretia.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

In the work place, a woman that knows what she wants can be seen as being aggressive, whilst a man displaying the same tendencies is seen as a go-getter. And female stereotypes in film are perpetuated by a mostly male dominated industry.

In terms of female directors there are so many agencies in London without any female directors on their books, which I really find sad. Recently a cinematographer that worked with me commented that the agency that hired him was surprised that he had worked with so many female directors!

There are plenty of women directing but not enough industry support. Things are changing but slowly and I am hopeful that more women will work across the industry as a whole to enrich female representation. But this problem not only extends to women it is also a challenge faced by ethnic minorities and their representation in film and TV both on-screen and off.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

There are equality issues in almost all societies globally; women can’t drive a car in Saudi Arabia, women have no reproductive rights in Ireland as the government refuses to implement abortion rights even in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities, women in UK are not represented equally in government and so on; there is an endless list of global inequality. I once worked with a woman who had the same skill-set and experience as her male colleague but found out her pay was 10K less than him when they were both doing the same job! Insane!

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I am passionate about female representation and I like writing stories for strong female characters.

Also Ireland has two issues to deal with that are close to my heart. There is a referendum in May to vote for Marriage Equality, which I am hoping that Irish people take to the polls in support of.

And previously I mentioned abortion rights in Ireland, which are non-existent and resulted in the death of Salvita Halappanavar, who died from septicaemia from a hospital’s refusal to terminate her pregnancy after it was discovered she was miscarrying. She was told by the hospital that they could not carry out the termination, as it was the law, that Ireland was a Catholic country. Truly awful that a dying foetus was given more rights to life than the life of a woman. How is that Pro-Life?

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

All civilisations have made art; it is an extension of what it is to be human. The inner-self expressed through all kinds of wonderful, creative ways. I believe art has the power to save lives, if a child has been through a trauma psychologist’s look to the art they create to discover their inner feelings and help them overcome distress. Art can make people laugh, forget their woes, provide escapism, and enrich imagination. It can challenge people to think, raise anger, cause controversy, educate, divide people and bring people together. For me it provides fulfilment and I become anxious if I am not working on some sort of creative project.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

I just want to be a good storyteller and make engaging work.

What are your goals as with your art?

I hope to one day direct a feature film, and would like to have the opportunity to eventually work full-time on my own personal projects.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I am very excited to be collaborating on a female led comedy sitcom with two very talented women, writer Rhiannon Carr and writer/director Ciara Kennedy. I am also developing a short fiction film that is part animation, which is a new area for me, but I am very excited to get both projects off the ground this year. A dream is to get some music projects happening too if I can find the time. I need more hours in the week!

And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?

Only to say thank you so much for connecting with my film and for the opportunity to reach to a wider audience.

If you would like to find out more about Lorraine Nolan please follow these links:

Website 

Films page

Twitter

Facebook

Warsnare promo

 

Directed by Lorraine Nolan
LOR Create: https://www.lorcreate.com
WARSNARE: https://www.facebook.com/warsnare / https://soundcloud.com/warsnare
Russian Doll A.K.A. Swirlesque: https://www.facebook.com/RussianD0LL /https://soundcloud.com/emilyrosechansonnette

Slavka Jovanović “my art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences”

Slavka Jovanović “my art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences”.

Slavka Jovanović
Slavka Jovanović

 

Slavka Jovanović, 50, London. Born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, to Serbian parents,  art has always featured strongly in Slavka’s life in a variety of ways with the support from her incredibly creative family. With her father a poet in his spare time who she remembers would sit at his typewriter tapping away into the night. A mother who was a craftswoman who was always working on a new project – whether it was dress-designing, embroidery, cake decorating. Slavka and her two siblings inherited a talent for art, however as children of immigrants it was not seen as a serious life choice so were all discouraged from pursuing their dreams as artists and designers. After training to be a teacher (at her parent’s request), Slavka ran away to London to join the theatre and has been working in theatre and arts education for much of her life, her career as a visual artist took off about 12 years ago.

What motivated you to deal with the subject of women’s issues and identity in your art?

I see that there is a tremendous pressure for people to conform to society’s norm, whether male or female. As a woman, I have observed this on many occasions.

Tell us why you chose this submission?

“Falling Apart And Keeping It Together At The Same Time” is a 1 minute stop-frame animation which succinctly demonstrates the monotony of being a house wife and the desperate need to keep up appearances as her world falls apart. On first viewing it’s a humorous piece but the more you watch it the more poignant it is.  I chose this film because I am fascinated by the compulsion many of us have to hide our feelings, to tell everyone that we are “fine”, when, in fact, our world might be falling apart.  We are terrified of letting the outside world glimpse any aspect of our interior selves. This film  has moved people who have watched it in the past and opened up discussion around themes of isolation, well-being and expectations.

 

 

“Her Story” is a 5-minute stop-frame animation telling the story of a young girl who has trouble sleeping and has to get to the root of the problem.  On the surface it’s a simple story and it’s narrated in a story-book style, however there are powerful themes within the tale that have resonated strongly with people.  On the surface themes of insomnia and hyper-sensitivity, moving to isolation/loneliness, and even more deeply to depression and schizophrenia.  I like this film for the very reason that it has the power to connect with the viewer in different ways and is entertaining as well as thought-provoking.

 

 

Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?

I have chosen the medium of filmed animation for these two pieces of art because it helps to portray the message in a clear and effective way.

What is your process when creating?

My process involves collect thoughts, experiences and feelings from a number of sources over many many months.  I tend to work on several projects at one time, exploring themes connected to each project in different ways/media.  For example, “Falling apart and Keeping it together at the same time” is a theme that I had explored through collage and through sculpture in the 3 years leading up to making the animation film.  I keep returning to the theme of façades and keeping up appearances/wearing masks/adopting persona’s/containing oneself.

Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?

I love the work of Louise Bourgeois, Annette Messager, Tracy Emin, Hannah Hoch and Frida Kahlo.  I also like the animation work of Lotte Reiniger and Jan Svankmajer.  I like live animation presented by Nic Rawling from The Paper Cinema, and Matthew Robbins.

What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?

Feminism is about choice.  As a woman it is the right to choose one’s own way in life and being respected by those around you for that choice.  It is also about education and awareness.  It’s about you, as a woman, having the knowledge and learning from which to be able to make choices. It’s also about choices being made available to you.

By Slavka Jovanović
By Slavka Jovanović

 

What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?

Art is a powerful medium and a perfect way to put across a message or express deep emotions.  I admire the ethos of Art Saves Lives International in supporting the artists voice and sharing important work.

Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?

I feel it’s a tough world all round – whether you’re a man, woman or child.  I feel that society places extraordinary demands on the individual to conform to the norm.  I also think that the so-called norm is becoming more extreme, whether it’s in politics, religion or advertising.  We are all being controlled and told what to think, what to wear, how to look, how to behave. Social media and the media at large don’t help the situation as both are tools that are used to indoctrinate us, formally or informally.

Personally, I haven’t been overtly affected and am able to live my life in the way that I wish, making the choices that I want to make but I am very aware that many women do have a much harder time than me.

Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?

No women and men are not equal in today’s societies around the world. There are inequalities in every country – of pay, of opportunities, of status (both within relationships and at work)

What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?

I am passionate about disability issues, especially around autism.  Much of my time is spent campaigning about this and making positive creative opportunities for people on the autistic spectrum.

I am also passionate about mental health and well-being.  I campaign against stigma relating to mental health.

Finally I campaign for equality, especially around opportunities for women.

What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?

Art Saves lives means that art is a lifeline.  It can connect you to others who have similar experiences, it can give a strong message easily, it can allow you to express your self (either as an artist or as a viewer).  Art allows me to explore difficult thoughts and feelings.

How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?

My art creates change by connecting people with their own difficult thoughts and experiences.  It also puts women at the centre of the narrative and gives them a voice.  I didn’t set out overtly to create change on an international level but I do know that my work has affected people on a very personal level and has opened up channels of discussion.

By Slavka Jovanović
By Slavka Jovanović

 

What are your goals as with your art?

My goal is to share stories that will resonate with others and make them feel less lonely and isolated.

What is your next project or piece that you are working on?

I am continuing to explore women’s roles (through collage and paint) by creating religious icons and “beatifying” women that I admire or archetypes that I feel deserve to be elevated to a higher status through representation in art.  I am currently working in collage, found objects and paint.

In another project I am working with puppeteers, musicians, storytellers, and dancers to animate a sculptural piece of work that consists of a dining table with cracked and broken crockery. We will explore the story within the story.  What would it say if the table could talk?

 

If you would like to know more about Slavka Jovanović:

Email:  Slavka.j@googlemail.com

Click here for Slavka’s Facebook page