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Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
May. 9, 2011 | 10:16 PM

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An Interview with RAW Award winning filmmaker Meg Pinsonneault

How did you first become interested in film?

My first interest in film started at a very young age with a Minolta camera my mother gave me when I was 9. From there, I won a couple awards and I started to notice my love of imagery and aesthetics. From there, film was a natural progression and I feel in love with films like Edward Scissorhands and The Goonies. To this day, those films are still favorites of mine! I was the kid that never put down the VHS camera. I created my senior class video and I was voted most likely to make a Hollywood film from high school graduating class. From that moment, I know I had to fulfill that great superlative!

When did you realize you wanted to become a filmmaker?

My love of filmmaking first derived from my love of acting. From a young age, I participated in many local productions in my hometown of Williamsport, PA. After high school, I was accepted to Emerson College’s prestigious acting program, but I soon realized my true calling was behind the camera. As an award-winning photographer from age 12, the shoe slipped right on. I graduated with degrees in both Film and Screenwriting from Emerson College. I moved directly to Los Angeles, where I’ve been working as an independent filmmaker ever since.

What films and filmmakers inspire you?

As a writer, I’m always intrigued with stories that are truly original or find a unique way to tell an old tale. As a filmmaker, I’m fascinated by filmmakers that don’t play by the rules. It’s always inspiring to discover something new and different. I absolutely love walking away from a film and pondering about it for days, weeks, months afterwards. Some of my heroes include Tim Burton, Michel Gondry, Tina Fey, Guillermo Del Toro, Stanley Kubrick, Jan Svankmajer, Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan, Larry David, Morgan Spulock, and the Coen Brothers.

What kind of stories are you most interested in?

It may sound clich?, but I’m interested in all types of stories. As an indie filmmaker, I’ve worked on my different genres, from drama to comedy to documentary. Therefore, my interests span across the board. However, as an artist, I’m naturally drawn to creative and unique ideas. But I’m also attracted to stories that move me in some way, whether through laughter, tears, or even technique. It’s truly inspiring to find a story that keeps you thinking about it for a long time afterwards.

How did you get the idea for “A Lost Love Story”?

Stop motion has always been a deep love of mine. “A Lost Love Story” derived from an idea that I developed with fellow filmmaker, Carlos Espinoza, for a feature film that would encompass both live action and stop motion animation. However, I got antsy as we tried to find funding for the project and my desire to shoot something took over. With a micro budget in mind, I cut the script down to a mere concept and pitched it to my team at Thirsty Girl Films. “A Lost Love Story” took a total of 5 weeks from conception to completion.

What was the most challenging part about getting the film made?

The most challenging part of “A Lost Love Story” was the technical aspect of the jib crane. I bought a cheap crane to hold a Canon 5D Mark II, which was held directly above the stop motion set. However, none of us had ever used a crane before. Since we couldn’t afford to bring on a professional, we winged it. We spent almost as much time figuring out how to rig the crane system as we did prepping the stop motion set! Eventually, we got into a groove and we mastered the jib crane.

What drew you to stop motion animation?

Animation offers a great way to express whatever you want without any limits. However, it’s an art form limited to those who can actually draw. Stop motion animation offers an open door to limitless creativity without the confinements of a pencil and paper. My love of stop motion animation evolved during a summer film program I attended in Prague, Czech Republic. Not only is Prague a beautiful and wonderfully historic city, it’s also known for its innovative animation and puppetry. It was at FAMU that I discovered one of my favorite filmmakers and Czech native, Jan Svankmejer. Alice, Svankmejer’s rendition of Alice in Wonderland, is still one of my favorite auteur films.

What kind of films to you hope to make in the future?

I’m open to anything and everything. I have so many interests; it would be impossible to narrow it down. I love all types of cinema: documentary, drama, suspense, auteur, comedy, etc. Anything that stirs the mind and imagine is worth investigating. There are a billion ideas swirling around in my head at any given moment, each inspired by something new and fantastic. I believe that if I can keep an open mind, then my future in filmmaking will be limitless as well.

As for budgets, I’m slowly moving up the food chain. I think it’s important to gain a certain creative skill set that you can only get from producing low or no budget films. When you don’t have a penny to spare, it’s amazing the innovation that comes to life. Creativity rises to the top under stress and the true artist emerges. Although I love the art of independent filmmaking, my ultimate goal is write and direct films with substantial budgets and possible studio funding.

What has your experience been like in Los Angeles?

I’m from the sticks in Pennsylvania. I spent lots of time in the great cites of the East Coast, even attending Emerson College in Boston. However, it took a couple years to get used to Los Angeles. I started out as a Prop Assistant on big budget commercials and slowly worked my way up to Production Designer on independent feature films and music videos. Over time, the rigorous life of living on onset got to me and I switched gears to editing and videography. However, that hasn’t been a cakewalk either. But as tough as the journey has been so far, I’ve gained invaluable experience along the way. Thus, creating the filmmaker I am today and the filmmaker I’ll be in the future indefinitely. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 5 years now. I griped and complained about the traffic and the crowds like everyone else. Slowly but surely, she grew on me and I’m happy to call LA home now!

Have you found other women in the industry helpful or supportive?

Let me start this response with a story. I interned at a major film studio when I first moved out to LA. After a couple months of selfless free service and sometimes degrading humiliation, I was fired from the unpaid position on the account that I was “mean” to two older female writers. Upon defending myself, I was told that this company fires a female intern every semester, due to do office jealousy from the other female higher ups. At first I was angry, but I learned what not to do. I vowed to never treat anyone like that, if I’m ever lucky enough to have smart and dedicated people donating their time to my company.

The short answer is that I think it depends on each person. Some women have been extremely helpful and supportive. Others have been less than friendly. Right now, I feel very loved and respected in my community. I’ve made some really fantastic contacts with strong women in the industry and I’m excited to see what unfolds. It’s no longer the time of white males running Hollywood. Indie females need to stick together!

What is your next project?

I’m currently crowd funding on Indiegogo for a short period thriller called “Feast of the Foolish.” It’s a very promising and unique project that is featured on’s homepage. However, that doesn’t mean anything in the crowd-funding arena. Although crowd funding is a very viable platform to raise money these days, it’s not as easy as you might think!

Feast of the Foolish” is a high-concept short period thriller to be shot on the RED camera and possibly the RED Epic. Think Carnivale meets Big Fish meets Deadwood. Set in the gangster era of the 1930s and 1940s, this uniquely stylized film provides suspense, mystery, love, and betrayal. “Feast of the Foolish” is exceptional film bound for the top tier festival circuit and film markets. Everything from the art direction to costume design will be unique and custom to our special aesthetic style. After completing an award-winning short, Thirsty Girl Films plans to produce a feature length adaptation of this script.

“Feast of the Foolish” is a true independent production. Donating to this project is directly supporting the indie filmmaking community. The more success indie filmmakers gain, the more likely our films will be seen. The studios are watching now. It’s our chance to prove you don’t need a fortune to make an award-winning film with high production value. That’s our motto at Thirsty Girl Films. Where there is a camera, there’s a way. And we think we’re on to something!

To ensure the authentic look of the 1940s, while also remaining true to the unique style of the film, monies raised will go towards custom costuming, set design, and props. Since principle photography will be shot entirely on location in desert, money will also go to cast and crew accommodations, transportation, and location fees. Catering and craft services are a very large part of any production. Instead of donuts and sodas, we want to provide healthy food options for those long days in the desert. Post-production costs are also very important. Money will go toward a professional editor, color correction, press kits, and festival entry fees.

What or who are ‘Thirsty Girl Films’?

Thirsty Girl Films is a gritty group of award-winning indie filmmakers specializing in everything from cultural documentaries to high-concept narratives. We take pride in our ingenuity and resourcefulness in getting the job done right without a spending a fortune. Through powerful imagery and experimental techniques, Thirsty Girl Films strives to awaken the wonder and curiosity that hides within all of us, while pushing the boundaries in the art of storytelling. We are dedicated to bringing together talented individuals of diverse backgrounds that share the common goal of creating quality entertainment outside the studio system. We believe that where there is a camera, there is way. Thirsty Girl Films is true independent filmmaking.

In 2011, Thirsty Girl partnered up with Mubi Garage as a semi-exclusive content provider and to help cross-promote independent filmmakers alike. Thirsty Girl’s most recent short film, A Lost Love Story won the 2010 Filmmaker of the Year award from RAW: Natural Born Artists and the Merit Award for Animation at the 2011 Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood. Likewise, Thirsty Girl loves the festival circuit, screening at venues like the East Harlem International Film Festival, Sacramento Film and Music Festival, San Diego Indiefest, and Bootleg Film Festival, just to name a few. Other awards include Best Documentary at 2010 Octaedro Film Festival and nomination for 2010 Maverick Movie Award for Best Short Chronicle. Thirsty Girl has been featured on sites like MubiGarage, Indiegogo, FilmRadar, Raw Artists, and The Coachella Review.

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