Mini MUFF Profile: Molly McGlynn & Marni Van Dyk
Mini MUFF Profile: Molly McGlynn & Marni Van Dyk
Film: I Am Not A Weird Person
Another month, another Mini MUFF! This time around, our Mini MUFF selection is I Am Not A Weird Person, written by and starring Marni Van Dyk, and directed by Molly McGlynn.
We chose to pair I Am Not A Weird Person with our September feature, Drop Dead Gorgeous, because they are both super amazing dark comedies. We don’t want to give too much away when it comes to this incredible short, but you should know that there is definitely at least one cat—you know how MUFF feels about cats—and that Lena Dunham has called it “haunting” and an “excellent use of 5 internet minutes”.
I Am Not A Weird Person has screened at Huntsville International Film Festival, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Seattle True Independent Film Festival, and Toronto Film and Video Awards, and has been featured on Directors Notes, Wifey.tv, Awardeo.tv, She Does the City, Film Shortage, and Hello Giggles.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED WITH FILMMAKING.
Molly McGlynn: I'm a Montreal-born, New Jersey-raised, Toronto-based writer and director, for starters. I actually was wondering the other night, "Why the hell AM I a filmmaker?" I concluded that it's a convergence of everything I love in the world: the human experience, experimentation, visual design, spontaneity, curiosity, and imagination. The idea of doing the 9 to 5 is something I yearn for in terms of it's consistency, but am ultimately terrible at, so here I am. Terrifyingly. Happily.
Marni Van Dyk: I grew up west of Toronto. I was an actor as a child, but got out of it to focus on school, and then rekindled my love for it when I was a teenager. After I graduated from university, I worked in Europe for a couple years before returning back to Toronto and reconnecting with a group of women I did sketch comedy with in school. We started a sketch comedy troupe called She Said What while we were trying to break into the industry—the whole create-work-for-yourself-if-no-one-will-hire-you format! In turn, we created a platform to give ourselves momentum and get started. That's the similar philosophy I took when getting into filmmaking. Meeting Molly opened up for me the possibilities of what I could do in my industry and I started to see my path differently. So, I made Molly come out for a beer with me, pitched her I Am Not A Weird Person and pressured her to do it with me...luckily she said yes. You learn and grow from doing...so next step, feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT I AM NOT A WEIRD PERSON.
MM: Marni Van Dyk inspired me to make it. She wrote it while we were roommates in the east end at a particular time in her life and, because I was part of it, I inherently knew the world she had in mind. I can thank Marni for pushing me into directing this because I was unsure I could do it and didn't want to disappoint her. The fact that she didn't give me the time for doubt in this is perhaps the greatest gift a fellow filmmaker and writer can give you.
TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU ARE A FEMINIST AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO YOUR FILMMAKING.
MM: I'm a feminist because, most simply, I believe in equality for women and men economically, creatively, professionally, and socially. It's important to my filmmaking because I'm drawn to female-centric narratives and showing a side of a whole, complete woman we don't always see. It's great that roles for kick-ass action hero types for women are more common, but I want to show how we can be vulnerable and honest AND strong and kick-ass. Strength and vulnerability are not mutually exclusive qualities.
MVD: I like complex rich characters in any context. My feminism doesn't necessarily inform my filmmaking. However, if as a result of telling female-driven stories, which is what I am always apt to do as I want to see more of them, and that makes me a feminist filmmaker...sure, I'll take it!
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
MM: Jill Soloway, Christine Vachon, Deepa Mehta, Laura Perlmutter, Katie Boland, Mindy Kaling, Diablo Cody, Tassie Cameron, Jenny Slate, Marni Van Dyk, Tig Notaro, Lena Dunham, Sara Benincasa… oh God, please stop me. I'll never stop. There are so many. Some who have directly influenced me, some from afar.
MVD: All of them. Except this one rude producer once who told me "women don't ski." I SKI!!! I didn't like her. Everyone else rules and I hope they keep doing what they're doing. Pushing, fighting, making great things on whatever side of the industry they love, and not compromising their visions.
IF A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE WAS CAST/CREATED, WHO WOULD STAR AS YOU AND WHAT GENRE WOULD IT BE?
MM: A dark comedy starring Greta Gerwig (mostly for her proclivity for clumsiness) with a heart-bursting climactic dance sequence à la Little Miss Sunshine.
WHAT'S THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT FILMMAKING YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED?
MM: Don't take it personally. That being said, you're going to. But when you're over it, get back on that mother-fucking horse.
MVD: It's the same best advice that applies to basically everything... "Be prepared. Do the work. Make it count."
WHO IS THE BEST/SUPERIOR BATMAN?
MM: Michael Keaton.
MVD: Tie between my cool mom and cool dad.
PUT TOGETHER YOUR DREAM TEAM (WITH YOU IN ONE OF THE ROLES, OBVS!)
MM: Director - Andrea Arnold
Writer - Me
Cast - Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Marion Cotillard
Costume Designer - Ann Roth
Cinematographer - Rachel Morrison
WHAT'S YOUR GO-TO JAM?
MM: Strawberry rhubarb. "As" by Stevie Wonder.
MVD: ‘90s female rappers and vocalists are always the best go-to in my opinion. Foxxy Brown, Lil Kim, En Vogue, Salt n Peppa, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill. I can almost definitely guarantee you need more Latin vibes on your playlist. A little bit of cumbia, reggaeton, salsa. Google Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux to start.
WHAT MALE POP CULTURE ICON OR MOVIE/TV CHARACTER ARE YOU DREAMING WOULD GET A GENDER-SWAP?
MM: Wanda White would make a good Walter White, no?
MVD: The answer to this question is always Hamlet, full stop. After that, I'm a bit like f- the swaps... We need to rethink about rich, layered, dynamic characters sans genitals and then cast women. Diverse, interesting, cool women. Okay, diverse, interesting, cool men are great too, but we have to play some major catch-up here. I'm thinking all about the FUTURE here...
RECOMMEND ONE #MUFFAPPROVED FILM FOR OUR BLOG READERS:
MM: Margarita, With A Straw (2014, dirs. Shonali Bose, Nilesh Maniyar)
MVD: Frida (2002 dir. Julie Taymor)
The Mini MUFF Society is our short film program. We aim to screen at least one local short film at each of our monthly events. You know, because we have a lot of amazing female talent in Toronto and we want to celebrate it! Learn more here!