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My First Film

My First Film
2019 | NR. 1hr 20min
DIRECTOR: Zia Anger 2019 Tacoma Film Festival Official Selection

My First Film is an expanded cinema performance in which artist and filmmaker Zia Anger attempts to recount the stories behind her lost and abandoned work—including her first feature. The performance takes place in a movie theater. On the screen is a projection of a laptop screen. Zia sits in the audience, on her laptop, and communicates with the audience exclusively via typing in the TextEdit application.

The performance comprises screenings of Anger's lost and abandoned works combined with live commentary that details the making of, rejections, and lessons that made her the artist and filmmaker she is today. 

“Last year I Googled myself and found my IMDB page, which listed my first attempt at a feature film as still being in 'post-production.' In the interest of mitigating the risk of any potential financiers coming along and seeing that I had a film from 2012 still unfinished, I emailed IMDB to ask if they could remove the listing. 

"I never heard back, and a month later I checked my page again, and was surprised to learn that instead of removing the listing, they had labeled it ‘abandoned' in red italic letters.

My First Film explores this 'abandoned' mythos—from expired Instagram stories, to the nearly-finished feature I made in grad school—to re-imagine the relationship between the audience, the filmmaker, the movie theatre, and cinematic narrative and erases the line between a filmmaker's corporeal body and their body of work.” — Zia Anger

Zia Anger works in moving images. Her most recent short, My Last Film, premiered at the 53rd New York Film Festival. In 2015 her short I Remember Nothing premiered domestically at New Directors/New Films and internationally at Festival del film Locarno. She directed music videos for various independent artists including Angel Olsen, Mitski, Julianna Barwick, Beach House, Maggie Rogers, and Jenny Hval; the latter of whom she also toured with as a performer and stage director. Various online publications including Pitchfork, the Guardian, and NPR have featured her music videos.

In 2016, Zia participated in the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter’s Intensive. In 2015, Filmmaker Magazine selected Zia as one of the year’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” She is also a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts film/video fellow. In 2008, Panavision awarded her a New Filmmaker grant for her short film Lover Boy.

From 2010 to 2012, she made a micro-budget feature film Always All Ways, Anne Marie in her hometown with some of her best friends and non-actors. Nobody saw the feature. She applied to nearly 50 festivals and it was rejected from every one. Did you know when nobody sees your first feature you’re still considered a first time filmmaker?


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