With the prestige of the Best Filmmaker Award winner for the Disability Film Challenge, Rosser Goodman has crafted a chunk of mystery with her short film, [in]visible. At less than seven minutes, there is enough intrigue, suspense, depth of character, to stretch this out in your imagination. In fact, this would likely form a fine platform for a feature film, or perhaps even a television series.
Goodman hints at so much between the two characters in a short space of time, you yearn for more information, the outcome of their exchange. And that’s a clever ploy, to draw you in, and leave you guessing. [in]visible almost serves as an extended teaser trailer for black comedy, crime thriller, with two mis-matched leads with an abundance of on-screen chemistry.
An apparent assassin, Bug (Nina Bergman), arrives outside a house on her motorcycle – leather and attitude to match. Her yelling (in Danish) and banging on the door tells us she is pissed about something. Inside, Bjorn (Bryan Dilbek), a disabled man is blasting our rock music via headphones, so it takes him a while to hear the commotion.
When he finally opens the door, not to mention Bjorn’s eye-rolling and head-shaking, the comic edge arrives, as Bug practically falls into the house. A few little crashes and clinks later, she jumps back into the room, before demonstrating her martial arts potential with a few moves. The laid back Bjorn, appears neither threatened nor impressed.
Goodman jumps back in time to show that once upon a time, Bug and Bjorn were marooned in a cell together. And once they escaped, Bjorn insisted that Bug run ahead. There’s suspicion all over this film. They’ve clearly shared the trauma, but do they trust each other? Should they?
Writer-director, Rosser Goodman, a member of the Alliance of Women Directors, has a hefty background of varied film experience behind her. And this shows in [in]visible, blending the wit with the taut, in making being tracked down by a killer amusing, and dental floss somehow threatening and amusing. I spoke to Rosser recently about, among other things, [in]visible, and her other film in competition, Pea Pod – which will feature on Day 3 of the Femme Filmmakers Festival.
Robin Write: Let’s break the ice. So, what is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
Rosser Goodman: Rocky Road.
RW: And you proudest achievement as a child?
RG: Could be in 5th grade band. We got to play the Star Wars theme at the spring school concert. I played the trumpet.
RW: Nice. And what was the last film you saw in the theater?
RG: I paid to see was Oceans 8. And loved it. I was also invited to see Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy. Amazing!
RG: Definitely check it out. It was moving, and educational.
RW: I will. Thanks. So we can touch on women behind the camera briefly. Do you have many female friends filmmakers?
RG: Yes, nearly all of my L.A. friends are.
RW: Did you always want to make films? What was your plan B?
RG: My plan B for a minute was to become a lawyer. But then I got my first film job, and never looked back. I grew up acting and loved acting. My mom suggested, strongly, I become a filmmaker.
RW: Pea Pod and [in]visible are very different films. Do you have a niche?
RG: That’s true, they are. Hollywood for sure wants to put you in a category. Comedy or drama for starters. Just like they do with actors. I love both, and I am drawn to both. I like to think that my work, no matter what, has humor with heart. If I am directing a drama, I need to make the audience laugh once in awhile, and if I am directing comedy, I would like to think there are moments when the audience is touched emotionally and has a reason to reflect.
RW: Is Pea Pod a hat tip to any particular scene from a favorite movie, or to a particular director you admire?
RG: It is a hat tip times a million to women of color, especially black women being underrepresented on screen.
RW: Right. And what about [in]visible – what inspired that story?
RG: Well, both films I made in a matter of days for film challenges. [in]visible was part of the 48 Hour Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge. We won the Best Filmmaker Award. And Pea Pod was made for the HBO Insider Comedy Challenge, and we were a finalist.
RW: Well played!
RG: Thank you very much.
RW: How did you cast these movies? Many of your friends?
RG: Actually, yes almost entirely. With Pea Pod, the only person I had not met prior to shooting, was Efe, who plays the artist who gets in the car last. And, [in]visible, both Bryan Dilbeck and Nina Bergman are friends I have known for years.
RW: He’s a funny guy, very dry.
RG: Yeah, love Bryan! So talented.
RW: Who inspires you, in or out of the industry? And give us some recommendations of other female filmmakers of short films.
RG: I am inspired by Lily Tomlin, Kim Pierce, Ava Duvernay, Megan Ellison, Cindy Holland. I am inspired by the founders and board members of women filmmaker organizations, like Film Fatales, Alliance of Women Directors, Film Powered, #50WomenCan. I did see a short I flipped over at the Women in Comedy Festival called Bitches by the Sea. I laughed so hard, atypical and amazing. One more organization to include in the list of who / what inspires me: Geena Davis institute on gender in media. They do phenomenal work to move the needle and educate all filmmakers. One more, The JTC List. Please mention them, founded by Cheryl Bedford. They supported Pea Pod, and actually inspired me to make it too – a new organization to get W.O.C. in front of and behind the camera working.
RW: I’ll check that out.
RG: Thanks so much!