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SxSW 2017 Interview: LEMON director Janicza Bravo

LEMON at SxSW 2017
by Jason Whyte

"LEMON is an unhappy comedy about failure. It is a dissection of privilege and mediocrity. A mans life unravels after he is left by his girlfriend of 10 years." Director Janicza Bravo on LEMON which screens at the 2017 South By Southwest Conference.

I hear you are back at SxSW this year! Tell me about what you have had here in the past, and your favorite aspects of the city.

My first SX was 6 years ago. I was here with my first short, Eat. It's safe to say that that experience and validation played a big role in my trajectory as a filmmaker. The first draft of LEMON, the feature I am here with now, was written during that fest. My then boyfriend who is now my husband, Brett Gelman, co-wrote it with me.

So how did you get into this movie business and LEMON getting its start?

I went to theatre school. I studied directing and design. Out of college I worked as a stylist. I did that for 8 years and 6 years ago I made the transition into directing. As for LEMON, after five years of NO, a big yes came last spring.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What’s your poison?[br]

Water and tea.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

Time, time, time. 18 days and 90 pages of heavy dialogue was a mountain. That the cast was happy with their work and the end result is what I most hoped for.

I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie and how it was shot!

Jason McCormick was the DOP. I can't tell you what camera we shot on but our lenses were anamorphic. My style is theatrical and absurd. I like welcoming palettes and unwelcoming circumstance. I feel that the contrast of an inviting space allows for a bigger gut punch when the information on screen is unexpected.

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Austin?

Having had my first short here 6 years ago and returning with my first feature has a kind of cyclical magic about it. Feels like I made some good choices.

What would you say to someone who was being disruptive, like talking and texting, through a movie?

I think this is a question for Brett. There isn't one movie I have gone to with him where he doesn't want to slap a face or throw a phone.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

If there is anything else you want to do, even kind of, do that. Making movies is less romantic that it seems.

And finally, what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

All time favorite movie is ANNIE HALL. I want to have an answer that feels less problematic but it's just fact. I love everything about it. In fact when I prepared my audition for college at NYU I debated using the opening monologue of the film.

We hope you enjoyed this SxSW filmmaker interview as part of our coverage of SxSW 2017. To see the entire series click on the Live Report sidebar on your right. We will have interviews posted all throughout the festival so be sure to visit us often for more coverage!

This is one of the many films screening at the 2017 SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas taking place March 10-18. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to or use the SxSW GO App for Android and iOS.

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

link directly to this feature at
originally posted: 03/14/17 02:02:19
last updated: 03/14/17 02:04:58
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