Illustration by Ayalah Hutchins. Interview by Laura deCarufel.
This is the second part of our conversation with actor/director Nadia Litz, whose short, How to Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused by You!, recently debuted at TIFF. You can read the first part of our conversation here.
What inspires you, in film and life?
“Music would be my top three answers! What I’m listening to changes with what I’m doing and thinking about. While I was in preparation for How to Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused by You!, I was listening to Interpol, and Paul Banks’s solo project. Even gangsta rap—the energy that you can get from that, the bravado or confidence is super-inspiring. I also love people who love life, who really embrace life and what it means to be alive.”
Who are some directors you admire?
“So many, for so many different reasons. As an audience member, I really respond to female filmmakers telling their stories. Sofia Coppola doesn’t get even as much credit as she deserves, because of who her Dad is. I think she’s tapped into something about a girl’s psyche. Also, aesthetically, she’s amazing—her work is just visually really pretty. Julian Schnabel—I like a lot of his work. A lot of Japanese directors, too. In terms of the short [How to Rid...], the toughest thing was translating the gore part, as it was written on the page, into something visual that fit the tone of the rest of the film. I thought, ‘How can I make this scene not super gross?’ For that, I looked to Kiyoshi Kurosawa—the way that he handles violence is so elegant. And I love Akira Kurosawa too, of course.”
How would you describe your own personal style?
“I think that because I instinctively have a creative element, fashion and style for me is an immediate expression of something artistic and visual. I think that’s why I’m drawn to it—it’s like someone who can’t stop doodling. I like putting together an outfit—it’s a quick aesthetic hit. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I spend money that I don’t have on clothes!”
Where do you shop? Do you have any favourite designers?
“I like everything. I like spending $5 on something from Value Village or something vintage, and I also like when Marc Jacobs goes on sale. Marc Jacobs is great, I also love Stella McCartney, Chloé, especially what just came out for fall. APC has some of the cutest stuff I’ve ever seen. But my absolute best, my favourite outfits and shoes, have been found in the Winnipeg Value Village. They have more stuff from the ’70s than any other Value Village I’ve ever been in. When I go home to visit, hitting the Value Village is always a must.”
You Are Here, Daniel Cockburn’s film that you act in and which also premiered at TIFF, is so different from traditional narrative films. Did you read the whole script, or only your scenes? How did the director describe it to you?
“I had read the entire script about 12 times and I still don’t know what it’s about. [laughs] I’ve only seen it once. I have no answers, except that I think it’s partly about the way that we try to understand chaos. Tracy [Wright] had a more significant role, so she really had to understand this esoteric, cerebral stuff and emotionalize it, whereas my character was the rational one, more straightforward. I was the only one in the group who seemed to not be participating in that world. Daniel is like a theoretical genius; he studied film theory, and I think that brilliance comes through.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m writing my first feature. It’s great getting your films into festivals, but there’s something to be said about locking yourself in a room and writing. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but I will say that it’s a love story set in an extremely unusal location.”
Read more of Talk to Me: conversations with Rita Liefhebber, Kealan Sullivan, Amanda Lew Kee, Nathalie Atkinson and more!