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HomeentertainmentMovie NewsAlex Prager on her SXSW debut and preparing her first feature film...

Alex Prager on her SXSW debut and preparing her first feature film with Elizabeth Banks' Brownstone Productions

Acclaimed Los Angeles native photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager has long been a literary favorite. Her playful, colorful work uses classic Old Hollywood tropes to examine darker modern themes, including isolation and the need for connection and empathy. Prager’s first US museum solo show, Face in the Crowd, starring Elizabeth Banks, at 1000’s Corcoran Gallery. Over a decade, she directed nearly a dozen short films, starring Riley Keogh, Bryce Dallas Howard and Cate Blanchett.

Run is Prager’s latest short. Starring Katherine Waterston (Babylon, Alien: Covenant), the darkly comic work is old-school Prager, using stylized visuals and absurdity The episode examines the will to exist in times of uncertainty and cultural conflict.

Many Hollywood insiders have already held events for the movie, CAA (her agency) showing in early November Run (followed by a Q&A with Everything Everywhere All At Once director Daniel Kwan) and Prager, and later that month, stars including Olivia Wilde Attended a screening and discussion of the West Hollywood edition, with Alicia Vikander and Karen O. ) and an upcoming sci-fi feature film from Elizabeth Banks’ Brownstone Productions (Prager co-created with her artist sister Vanessa), the director-cinematographer is set to bring her work to a wider audience this year. wide audience. In an exclusive The Hollywood Reporter conversation, Prager discusses her life, work, and how art has the power to heal.

Why did you choose to take Run to a festival?

I feel like Run is more common in the message I’m trying to convey, and I Felt that even though it was still abstract and didn’t have as clear dialogue as most of the short films that might end up in the festival, it had more of a narrative quality. …This, I really do it for the masses.

Still from Alex Prager's short film 'Run'

From Alex Prager’s short “Run” Running, 2023, Film Still, by Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London supply

How can it be more general?

I think a lot of people have been questioning what the future looks like and where we go from here, just really focusing on what’s important to us things and reprioritize them. What we’ve been doing, in a way – we’re reacting to a lot of things being thrown at us at the same time, so this movie is a response to that, taking all of my questions and anxieties to heart I Know that other people feel it to varying degrees. …in making it, I felt some catharsis and relief, and was able to smile and chuckle again.

Are you referring to some issues that you or people in general have been dealing with?

That’s all. This is climate change. This is the new crown virus. It’s race, gender, politics, everything. Everything that I thought had been infiltrating for a while has just now decided to all come to the surface and we are destined to find a solution. It’s this crazy world we live in right now, but Run is very much about, ‘Okay, we’re dealing with all of this, it’s all being thrown at us, but for what reason us? How do we move forward from here? Because we all decided to come here. It’s the decision to participate in life, despite the sadness and chaos and all that life brings.

You mentioned to me that you changed the ending of the film shortly before filming to make it more hopeful. why?

I realized that what gets us through everything is just reconnecting to the heart and connecting to everyone else. …that’s what always brings me back to a hopeful state. I really want to end it here. I feel like all the possibilities that relationships can offer us.

Your first short film was over ten years ago ?

I started photography from or so, I had my first big breakthrough, I guess you could call it, at MOMA. …my interest in photography started to reach a plateau, and now a few years later I’m starting to realize it’s just part of my process. For a while I had a passion for photography that seemed exciting, challenging and urgent at the time, and then I would hit a plateau until I needed something else to pick myself up again. That’s when I first hit my plateau and it freaked me out…that’s when I discovered the medium of film.

Still from Alex Prager's short film 'Run'

Katherine Waterston in Alex Prager’s short “Run” In stills from Run, 2022, Film Still, presented by Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London

How did this discovery come about?

I discovered the film in London [one of my openings]. People ask me what happened to the subject of the photo. They just want to know before or after the photo they are looking at. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to use motion pictures to show the before and after comparison of photos.

How did you end up working with Elizabeth Banks?

When I started working with Elizabeth, I started to better understand the pace of filmmaking and what could be done with it. I started to try other ways. … she is wonderful. She is such a force. I didn’t know her at the time. She held out her hand to me. I guess she had seen my work and she wanted to do something together. When I started looking for someone for my short film [Face in the Crowd], she was the first person I asked, she was frustrated and really professional. One of the things I love about working with experienced actors is that they work great together on set because they can direct direction with nuance and I always get what I need.

What are your hopes for your first feature film?

It would be great to be able to dive into it and actually have time to rehearse and talk about characters and character arcs. It’s something I couldn’t do in short form, where there’s some backstory to talk about, but in the end it’s pretty quick and intuitive. In the world of feature films, I think being able to get more out of something as a director, I think that would be very satisfying. I have bigger stories to tell.

How was the writing process?

This took a while. The process of learning screenwriting. It’s a completely different medium. My producer, Jeremy Dawson, sent me a bunch of books. I talked to other filmmakers. One of the things I love about the film world is that it’s a little bit different than the art world — at least in my experience with filmmakers — they want to help other filmmakers. The art world tends to be more private. I really like the collaborative process and creative family that the film industry tends to think of itself as.

What is this movie about?

This is a near future science fiction novel. I think Run kind of shows how I do a sci-fi movie. I’ve always loved that retro-futuristicTwilight Zone world, and I really think the future might be like that. When robots and computers start failing us, we’re going to have to go back to all analog systems. This is something we can solve ourselves. To me, this is a more realistic version of the future than the glamorous future you often see. I think it will be more of a mix of retro sims and leftover computers and AI that are still there.

When do you want to shoot?

This is what happened this year.

Do you still plan to be active in the art world like a photographer?

really. I really like the freedom in the art world. I will never give up.



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