Switchblade Sisters

Switchblade Sisters is a new podcast providing deep cuts on genre flicks from a female perspective. Every week, film critic April Wolfe sits down with a phenomenal female film-maker to slice-and-dice a classic genre movie - horror, exploitation, sci-fi and many others! Along the way, they cover craft, the state of the industry, how films get made, and more. Mothers, lock up your sons, the Switchblade Sisters are coming!

Switchblade Sisters Episode 80: 'An American Werewolf in London' with 'American Psycho' and 'Charlie Says' Writer Guinevere Turner

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Guests: 
Guinevere Turner

An American Werewolf in London

Guinevere Turner is a writer, director and actor who has been working in film and TV since her 1994 debut feature Go Fish, which she wrote, produced and starred in. The film premiered at Sundance and then got picked up by Samuel Goldwyn. Next, Guinevere teamed up with director Mary Harron to write the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho, starring Christian Bale as a psychopathic finance guy who murders people for fun and to see how much he can get away with. Guinevere also worked with Harron writing The Notorious Bettie Page. She was a writer, story editor, and played a recurring character on Showtime’s The L Word. Her latest screenplay, Charlie Says, tells the story of the women who killed for Charles Manson as they serve out the first few years of their decades-long prison term. Charlie Says is directed by Mary Harron and is in theaters now.

The movie that Guinevere has chosen to discuss is An American Werewolf in London. She and April elaborate on just how groundbreaking this film was in terms of its combination of comedy and real horror. They, of course, dissect the famous werewolf transformation scene. Plus, Guinevere talks about her own process, and how her childhood spent in a cult inspired her newest film Charlie Says. She reveals that she hates it when actors change the dialogue from one of her screenplays, but conversely, as an actress she always asks if she can change lines. She discusses her dislike of tricking actors into performances. And she even touches upon working with Christian Bale on American Psycho and her decades long collaborative relationship with Mary Harron.

You can check out Charlie Says in theaters now.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch An American Werewolf in London.

With April Wolfe and Guinevere Turner.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 79: 'The Red Queen Kills Seven Times' with 'Body at Brighton Rock' Director Roxanne Benjamin

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Guests: 
Roxanne Benjamin

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

Roxanne Benjamin is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, who began her career in creative development, analyzing story for film festivals and production companies. In 2010, she moved up the ladder at a company called The Collective, where she went on to produce the well known anthology horror films V/H/S and V/H/S/2, which premiered at Sundance Midnights. Roxanne then helmed the short “Don’t Fall”, part of Magnolia Pictures’ all-women-helmed horror anthology, XX. She served double duty on the film, co-writing and producing the segment “The Birthday Party” for musician-turned-director Annie Clark aka St. Vincent. Body at Brighton Rock is her solo feature directorial debut. It tells the story of a young woman working the trails of a mountainous park, who finds a dead body in the middle of nowhere and is given orders to guard the scene, facing down all her worst fears. Roxanne is currently working on a remake of Night of the Comet for Orion Pictures.

The movie that Roxanne has chosen to discuss is a giallo classic - The Red Queen Kills Seven Times by Emilio Miraglia. She and April go over all the tenants of the Italian giallo genre - the murder, the fashion, the blood! Roxanne talks about how giallo has influenced the way she works on her own films, and particularly, how she crafts her kills on screen. Plus she goes into detail on the production of her newest film, Body at Brighton Rock, and the "1980's TV movie" look she was going for. She and April also dissect the unfortunate prevalence of rape in the horror genre, and how so often it's disturbingly used as a device to titillate.

You can check out Body at Brighton Rock streaming now.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Red Queen Kills Seven Times.

With April Wolfe and Roxanne Benjamin.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 78: 'Mulholland Drive' with 'Wild Nights with Emily' Director Madeleine Olnek

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Guests: 
Madeleine Olnek

Mulholland Drive

Madeleine Olnek is a New York City based playwright and filmmaker. She began her career with award-winning and widely screened comedy shorts. ​Countertransference ​(2009) and Hold Up ​(2006) were official selections of Sundance, while ​Make Room For Phyllis ​(2007) premiered at Sarasota. Olnek was also awarded best female short film director at Sundance in 2009 by LA’s Women In Film organization. Her debut feature, ​Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, told the story of three lesbian space aliens who come to Earth, and one of them falls in love with an earthling. It ​premiered at Sundance 2011 and is now translated into eleven languages. Her second feature, ​The Foxy Merkins,​ is a kind of buddy-comedy homage about two lesbian prostitutes. She is one of the authors of The Practical Handbook for The Actor (with a foreword by David Mamet), a widely used acting textbook. And now she’s back with her third feature, Wild Nights with Emily, a perhaps more truthful yet comic telling of the life of Emily Dickinson, starring Molly Shannon as the eponymous poet. Madeleine was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship for the completion of the film, so it is a BIG DEAL.

The movie that Madeleine has chosen to discuss is one that she calls a "masterpiece." That would be David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Madeleine likens the film to The Bible in that there are many interpretations that are applicable across generations. She discusses how she is personally connected to the film and how she felt that it truly mirrored her own life. Madeleine even dons David Lynch "our great poet of filmmaking" and explains why this film (and Inland Empire) are his greatest poems. She also discusses why she cast Molly Shannon in her newest film, Wild Nights with Emily. And how most literary adaptations do not properly portray the true words and feelings of a piece of literature. She ends the conversation with explaining why artists have the moral obligation to put humor in their work, and how making a straight drama is not a creative choice.

You can check out Wild Night with Emily in theaters now.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Mulholland Drive.

With April Wolfe and Madeleine Olnek.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 77: 'The Peanut Butter Solution' with 'Pet Sematary' Actor and 'The Girlfriend Experience' Co-creator Amy Seimetz

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Guests: 
Amy Seimetz

The Peanut Butter Solution

Amy Seimetz started out writing, directing, and acting in short films and made her feature debut in a pair of films, Black Dragon Canyon and the indie cult hit Wristcutters: A Love Story. She appeared in films such as Gabi on the Roof in July, Tiny Furniture, You're Next, and The Myth of the American Sleepover before directing her own feature debut, Sun Don't Shine in 2012. Amy went on to co-create and executive produce the critically acclaimed Starz series The Girlfriend Experience. In 2018, Amy directed two episodes of the acclaimed FX series Atlanta and subsequently signed a first look television production development deal with the network. But yes, she continued acting throughout that time as well, and you’ve seen her in Upstream Color, Alien: Covenant, The Killing, Stranger Things, Wild Nights with Emily, and Pet Sematary.

But the movie that Amy chose to discuss has nothing to do with any of that! She's chosen The Peanut Butter Solution, a Canadian children's movie from the eighties that most people thought they dreamed up. April and Amy dissect the crazy plot and how something this unconventional could be made for children. Amy discusses working on her debut Sun Don't Shine, collaborating with Hiro Murai and Donald Glover on Atlanta, and being directed by Madeleine Olnek on Wild Nights with Emily. Plus, they ponder the lessons on creative freedom that can be learned from children's films and how it's sometimes best to not think logically.

You can check out Pet Sematary and Wild Nights with Emily in theaters now.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Peanut Butter Solution.

With April Wolfe and Amy Seimetz.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 76: 'Alien' with 'Little Woods' Director Nia DaCosta

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Guests: 
Nia DaCosta

Alien

To quote the Tribeca Film Festival, director Nia DaCosta is “a name you’re gonna need to get familiar with.” Nia DaCosta was born and raised in New York City and attended NYU’s Tisch. She started her film career paying her dues in production, on the documentary series, Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life, while also writing and directing shorts. In 2015, she took an early draft of her script for a film called Little Woods to the Sundance Directors Lab. There, she hooked up with Tessa Thompson, who read the part of a woman named Ollie, who’s caught in a poverty trap in rural North Dakota and must decide whether she’ll re-enter a life of crime to help her pregnant sister. Tessa Thompson continued with the project, and Nia then cast Lily James to play her sister. The film premiered in 2018 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Shortly after that, it was announced that Nia would be directing the “spiritual sequel” to Candyman off a script penned by Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld, which will be released by MGM.

The movie Nia has chosen to discuss is 1979's Alien. To quote Nia, "it's a perfect film." She and April discuss the revolutionary character of Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, and how the world had never seen someone like her before. Nia talks about working and collaborating with Tessa Thompson on her character in Little Woods. She elaborates on directing the upcoming Candyman and what she learned from Jordan Peele. Plus, Nia tells April how Tessa Thompson is excellent at acting with her hands, or as Nia calls it - "hacting."

You should check out Little Woods in theaters on April 19.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Alien.

With April Wolfe and Nia DaCosta.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 75: 'The Bad Seed' with 'Breakthrough' Director and 'Star Trek: Voyager' Actor Roxann Dawson

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Guests: 
Roxann Dawson

The Bad Seed

Roxann got her first job playing Diana Morales in the Broadway production of A Chorus Line. But fans probably know her best for her role as B'Elanna Torres in Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager offered her the first opportunity to direct and she proceeded to direct 10 episodes of the next Star Trek series, Enterprise. Since then, she’s directed The Deuce, House of Cards, The Americans, The Path, Bates Motel, Crossing Jordan, Lost and many others. She will also be directing the upcoming Morning Show, starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carrell, and Jennifer Aniston. She makes her feature film directing debut with Breakthrough, starring Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, and Topher Grace, an adaptation of Joyce Smith’s memoir, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s Resurrection.

The movie that Roxann has chosen to discuss is, kind of, the exact inverse of her own upcoming film - 1956's The Bad Seed. Maintaining such a prolific acting and directing career, Roxann has so much insight into the craft of acting. She discusses how actors often think that by making "small" acting decisions they are being more authentic, when in reality these decisions are just "lazy" and "boring." She also expresses her belief that the characters in a film should not be discussing the philosophical ideas of the movie, but rather, the film should inspire discussion from the audience. And of course, she talks all about her role as the half-human, half-Klingon, B'Elanna Torres, and what that role has meant not just to fans, but to her personally.

You should check out Breakthrough in theaters on April 17.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch The Bad Seed.

With April Wolfe and Roxann Dawson.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 74: 'One False Move' with 'Miss Stevens' and 'Fast Color' Director Julia Hart

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Guests: 
Julia Hart

One False Move

Julia Hart was a school teacher for eight years before she quit to make a go of screenwriting. Her debut screenplay, The Keeping Room, landed on the 2012 Black List and was made into a feature directed by Daniel Barber (Harry Brown) and starring Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld and Sam Worthington. Julia's directorial debut, Miss Stevens, is based on Julia’s experience as a teacher. It starred Lily Rabe, Timothee Chalamet, Lili Reinhart, and Rob Huebel.

In 2018, Julia’s second feature, Fast Color, debuted at SXSW. It tells the story of a family of women afflicted/blessed with a mysterious power and stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, and David Straithairn. Most recently, Julia directed and co-wrote (with Jordan Horowitz) Star Girl for Disney, starring Grace Vanderwall and based on the best-selling book by Jerry Spinelli.

Although Julia only recently saw One False Move, she was shocked at how thematically similar her film Fast Color compares to it. She and April discuss the use of violence in cinema, and how a filmmaker can make it have an emotional impact on the audience. Julia also reveals how she rewrites her scripts once the films have been cast in order to tailor the role to the actor. And she and April also adulate the performance and career of the late, great Bill Paxton.

You should check out Fast Color in theaters on April 19.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch One False Move.

With April Wolfe and Julia Hart.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 73: 'Dead Ringers' with The Soska Sisters! PLUS an Interview with Michele Meek

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Guests: 
Jen and Sylvia Soska

Dead Ringers

Identical twins Sylvia and Jen Soska, known as The Soska Sisters, are an unstoppable force. You may know them best from their films Dead Hooker in a Trunk and American Mary. You may also know them as the hosts of the Blumhouse game show, 'Hellevator.' Or even as the writers for the most recent installment of the Black Widow comics. They are on the program this week for a very special Max Fun Drive episode talking about David Cronenberg's masterpiece, Dead Ringers. The sisters are avid Cronenberg devotees and, not to mention, this film centers around identical twins Beverly and Elliot Mantle. The pairing of guest and movie is truly a match made in heaven. The sisters also discuss what went into making their body modification horror, American Mary, and why agents and managers warn actors about working with them.

And in celebration of the Max Fun Drive, we have an additional segment this week. April talks to writer and filmmaker Michele Meek about her new book, Independent Female Filmmakers: A Chronicle Through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos. They discuss the travesty that not one film made by a woman is on the AFI Top 100 Films list. And how movies actually influence society's concept of consent.

This episode has a little bit of everything. And it's all in celebration of our annual Max Fun Drive. If you would like to support this show, please become a monthly member at:

maximumfun.org/donate

You should check out American Mary by The Soska Sisters.

And if you haven't seen it yet, go watch Dead Ringers.

ALSO, go and buy Michele's book - Independent Female Filmmakers: A Chronicle Through Interviews, Profiles, and Manifestos

With April Wolfe, The Soska Sisters, and Michele Meek.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 72: 'Pickup on South Street' with 'Leave No Trace' and 'Winter's Bone' Director Debra Granik

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Guests: 
Debra Granik

Pickup on South Street

Debra was a Boston independent filmmaker before she picked up and left for NYU’s graduate film program. Her first short film there, “Snake Feed,” was accepted into the Sundance Labs, where she developed the concept into her first narrative feature, Down to the Bone, starring Vera Fermiga. From there, Debra and her creative partner Anne Rossellini developed a film based on Daniel Woodrell’s 2006 novel, Winter's Bone. The film was released in 2010 and tells the story of a girl who’s the sole caretaker of her family who must hunt down her missing father to avoid being kicked out of her house and losing everything. The girl was played by Jennifer Lawrence. Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award, as was Debra’s film and screenplay. In 2018, she directed Leave No Trace, a story about a father with PTSD trying to raise his teen daughter off the grid when some well-meaning people intervene and change the course of their lives. Starring Ben Foster and newcomer Thomasin Mckenzie Harcourt, Leave No Trace has been on multiple Top Ten lists, and won Debra the Best Director award at the 2019 LAFCA awards ceremony.

The film that Debra has chosen to discuss is Samuel Fuller's classic noir, Pickup on South Street. This is a personal favorite of Debra's and it becomes clear with how much appreciation and thought she has for the film. Debra discusses how she is able to create realistic dialogue for people who aren't from her "bougie, liberal" world. She talks about working with actress Dale Dickey, and why people love watching her on screen. Debra also elaborates on the use of guns in cinema, how we rely on them to tell stories, and how she is trying to "restore meaning to the woundable body."

You can watch Leave No Trace on Amazon Prime.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch Pickup on South Street.

With April Wolfe and Debra Granik.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 71: 'What We Do in the Shadows' with 'At Home with Amy Sedaris' Producer Katie Tibaldi

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Guests: 
Katie Tibaldi

What We Do in the Shadows

Katie Tibaldi is a writer, director and producer born and raised in Michigan. She also has the distinction of being childhood best friends with the host, April Wolfe! Between working on shows such as Broad City, Nurse Jackie and Damages, Katie's already worked on over 300 episodes of television. She’s currently producing the documentary feature Street Fighting Men, which will be distributed by First Run Features later this year. Her work on that made her a 2016 Sundance Institute Doc Fellow. She’s also Co-Producer on truTV's Emmy-Nominated comedy series 'At Home With Amy Sedaris.' She recently directed the independent half-hour comedy pilot 'Ian Owes U' that had its world premiere at the New York Television Festival in July. She is also the writer, director and executive producer of 'Seeking Sublet,' a comedy series with 9 full episodes debuting later this year. The series has been showcased by MovieMaker Magazine, Script Magazine, Tumblr and Funny or Die.

The movie that Katie has chosen to discuss this week is the vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. Katie and April discuss the improvisational style of the film and how it contrasts with that of Amy Sedaris on her show 'At Home With Amy Sedaris.' They also dissect the anatomy of comedy; how jokes can age badly, what makes a physical joke work, and grounding comedy in reality. Plus, they discuss vampire movies in general, and how even though something's been made a million time, it can be made unique by simply adding a personal touch

You can watch 'At Home with Amy Sedaris' on truTV in theaters now.

If you haven't seen it yet, go watch What We Do in the Shadows.

With April Wolfe and Katie Tibaldi.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters on Twitter or Facebook.

Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org.

Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.