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The 2021 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 28 - Feb.3, in Park City, Utah

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Sundance Interview with WEIRDO NIGHT Director Mariah Garnett and actress Jibz Cameron aka “Dynasty Handbag”

WEIRDO NIGHT @ Sundance 2021.

 

Director Mariah Garnett and actress Jibz Cameron aka “Dynasty Handbag” interviewed by Emmanuel Itier for filmfestivals.com.

 

When COVID times hit, things were already weird for legendary performance artist Dynasty Handbag. Yes, she did have a regularly scheduled feeding off of the live energy of humans during monthly performances at Zebulon in Los Angeles. But when quarantine emptied the place, she took her show to the next level—performing to nobody. Weirdo Night takes no prisoners as Dynasty Handbag pillages the late-night television profile to give us this gorgeous, delicious derangement.

By Emmanuel Itier:

Q: Tell me about the idea about making this film and the inspiration?

 

Mariah: The movie came from the last 4 years of live shows with Jibz playing “Dynasty Handbag”. It was very popular and always sold out. I had documented the shows from the beginning and when covid shut down everything, including our show, we had to re-invent ourselves and keep the show going. The venue where the show took place started to do live streams of bands.

 

Jibz: We wanted to make a “weirdo night” for the fans and something that looked very good. I had never done such a live performance on zoom other than for a benefit or two. And so, the opportunity came to make a movie instead and it got me very excited. It was very comfortable t go back on that state where I had performed so many shows for so many years. What’s funny is that we didn’t do it to be a film festival. But a programmer from Sundance saw our movie and really wanted to select it. He even waived the entry fee so it was a miracle.

 

Q: How different to do this film versus the live show and the challenges you faced?

 

Mariah: The toughness of making it right was to make people feel it was a live show. But it was tricky since we didn’t have an audience. Usually, the show plays on the energy of the audience, therefore this was quite a challenge to make it work. We also had to work hard on the transitions between the various acts that you see in the film. It was also tricky to address covid visually without dwelling into it and like a live zoom performance would do.

 

Jibz: Yes, I didn’t want to make silly covid related jokes: “What do you think Guys, well, no one is here! Haha!”. We just address the issue of no audience at the beginning and then we go on with the show without insisting heavily about it. What is interesting is that we really had to build it as a film. We even story boarded it to figure out how to make it flow as perfectly as possible.

 

Q: What do you think you’re talking about I this film? What are the themes if any in your movie?

 

Mariah: The movie is really an expression of queer culture. There is still a queer radically underground non-conformist scene. There are fun and weird things happening in our culture and we wanted to show it. It’s important to gather the community around and honor it.

 

Jibz: It’s really about putting out there what is in our heart. To show our passion for life. I feel there is so much joy in our film and I hope it will translate to the audience. But I don’t want to hit your over the head with a particular set super queer or super feminist stuffs. It is but it’s more than that, I hope. I think there is room for the film to be a bunch of different things at the same time. Queerness is about fighting against the binary that is not just the gender and the sex binary but queerness as in “queering things”, making them more, or less of a commodity. Less than a pigeon-holed thing that can be packaged and sold very easily. Not that I don’t want to be packaged and sold! Haha!

 

Q: Do you think the movie transcend its “queerness attitude”. As a straight French bulldog, I truly dig it and therefore there is a sense that we all can have fun with each other no matter who we are and what is our sexual identity, right?

 

Jibz: Yes, absolutely! And you can be many things at once. And we don’t have to explain everything all the time neither. We can do our art the way we choose to do it and let the art speaks for itself. Take it or leave it.

 

Mariah: Yes, and I hope people enjoy our film the way it is without over explaining it or having us explain it. Just enjoy the ride for the fun it is. And we really tried to make it accessible for everyone, whether you’re queer or not.

 

Jibz: ‘Weirdo Night’ is for everybody but not for everyone!

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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