SHOW AND TELL #30: Lana Z Caplan

Lana Z Caplan is a film/videomaker, photographer, and installation artist. Her work has been recognized by awards at various exhibitions and festivals, including the Director’s Prize at Black Maria Film Festival and Audience Award at the Crossroads Film Festival in San Francisco. Caplan earned her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and BA from Boston University. She has served on the faculty of several colleges including Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of California, San Diego and is currently an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Lana is coming to Alchemy to attend the European Premiere of her film Maelstroms in our Reasons to Be Anxious, Part 3 programme.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
In these crazy times in which all of our hard fought liberties and human rights are being challenged by hate and maniacal sociopathic narcissism, I am not sure that perfect happiness can exist. However, I am pretty content when I can make work, watch and experience other work that inspires me and be around like-minded people that reaffirm my hope for the future.

2. What lies at the heart of your own desire to make films?
I began making films when my photographs seemed to want to exist in time and space. I am also a huge live music fan. I wanted to make more communal experiences, similar to a live music show, to take people on a journey rather than a fraction of a second exposure hanging on a wall. This desire for creating an experience is still what drives most of my work.

3. What are the first things you do in developing a film idea in response to a subject?
It is always different, and the processes and timeline is always different. Sometimes a project is born from an idea, sometimes the place or event comes first and I make a work for that purpose, developing a site-specific idea. And sometimes I work in collaboration with musicians to create something together.

4. What’s your favourite film and why?
Wow, way to many to list and all for different reasons, and I certainly do not have one favorite over all. One film that was influential to me early on was Ken Jacobs Little Stabs at Happiness. Pasolini’s Teorama is one of my favorite feature narrative films. Su Friedrich’s Sink or Swim also made a big impression on me early on, as did Paul Sharits.

5. If you were to die and come back as a person, animal or a thing, what would it be?
Water in the ocean

6. What is your greatest extravagance?
Taking care of my health by eating well, which should not be such an extravagance.

7. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Experimentation, learning and growing, being taken someplace new (creatively, spiritually or emotionally).

8. What is your final word?