This week we had the pleasure to interview director, writer and filmmaker, Shari Berman. Shari’s first feature film was the award-winning My Life as Abraham Lincoln. She is currently in post production for her second feature film, Sugar. You can see a preview of the film here and follow Sugar on Facebook.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am the director of feature film called Sugar. It’s about a woman who turns 50 and follows her dream of becoming a rock and roll star, much to the chagrin of her husband and daughter. It stars Alice Ripley (2009 Tony Award Winner for Next to Normal) and Robert Clohessy (OZ and Boardwalk Empire).
Q: Do you have any other projects you would like to tell us about?
I have a feature film called Numbers. It’s about a woman who lives in a world where people are put in groups and she discovers the importance of being an individual. It’s sort of a quirky world and she slowly comes out of this reality like a dream. I am also working on a web-series with a group of filmmakers. We are all doing short stories in different styles and we are going to piece them together.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who has had an impact on you and your work? It’s a number of people: Guy Maddin, Charles Chaplin Federico Fellini, Alain Resnais – although there are many others.
Q: What keeps you motivated as an artist?
The need to express myself. I just need to do that.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
I would say anytime I am at a film festival, especially the first time. I had a 3D German Expressionist film and I was there with other offbeat filmmakers. It was a great feeling
Q: What is one accomplishment are you most proud of?
Finishing my first feature film. Its emotionally daunting and financially crippling and time sucking and you’re not funded. It’s just amazing to get it done.
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
I would just be making films all the time, no doubt about it.
Q. What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I do a few things: I volunteer at a high school. It’s very engaging because they are young and don’t know to be afraid. I watch people. I start to imagine them in different circumstances and how would I put that in a film. How I could turn what I’m seeing on its head.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Worrying. I worry too much.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
I love different pieces of art for different reasons. I think each piece gives you something different. It’s hard to say one is really better than another. I don’t think art can really exist that way. Maybe that’s just me.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Gloria Steinem, (if I had to pick one). She is a writer and an activist and she affected change in such a real way.
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
That my work changed people lives for the better. That it changed the way they think. That it lead them somewhere better, my film work specifically.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
I do like to watch movies designed for 12 year olds. Which is so embarrassing, but it’s true.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
Stop worrying and just do it. Enjoy life and enjoy being an artist.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
I love NYC but I’d like to live in Europe, maybe in Italy.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Getting to do what I love to do on my own schedule.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Getting to be creative and not worrying about the cost of it. Friends and family are also very important. I don’t think you can be a good artist or a good person without those things. I would say all of that.
Q: Final thoughts?
To anyone reading this: People say you regret the things you don’t do, so you should just go and do those things. I don’t want to be laying there dying saying, “ I wish I had”. If you have work you want to express and changes you can affect you have to do it.