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Catherine corman is a talented photographer, filmmaker and artist in her own right. She is also the daughter of the legendary filmmaker and career launcher Roger corman and producer Julie corman. Catherine recently made a short film titled “Lost horizon” with his father and sister, Marie Tessa Corman, which is currently competing for an Academy Award.

Bloody Disgusting got to talk with Catherine about the film, her famous father, and her childhood with a community of artists in Los Angeles.

Bloody Disgusting: Your new movie “Lost Horizon” is really wonderful. What made you decide to do it?

Catherine Corman: Oh, thank you, Brian. My sister and I drove home from New York at the start of the pandemic to be with our family. We’ve all put together a list of our favorite movies – based on the 100 greatest films from AFI, BFI, and Cahiers du Cinéma – and spent the year watching them together. After seeing 100 movies, I started making my own.

BD: There is a very personal side, almost a home movie. It is shot in 8mm and features your sister and father in important roles. Can you tell me about these choices?

CC: It’s really a home movie. We shot it without a crew, with a small portable Super 8 camera, at home, on the streets of Hollywood, and in a second-hand book and record store. The pandemic has dictated this a lot. Some of my favorite films are experimental diaristic films, like the ones directed by Jonas Mekas or Stan Brakhage, so this form feels very natural to me. And I’m not very tech-savvy, so I sort of belong to the analog world anyway.

Mary Tessa Corman in LOST HORIZON, directed by Catherine Corman, and based on the work of Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano. It was selected for the Oscar for best short film. PHOTO: Catherine Corman / HORIZON PERDU

BD: It also evokes an LA from the past, something you also did in your stunning photographic work. Were you looking to portray a bit of Hollywood you grew up in for the movie?

CC: Oh, thank you, Brian. That’s really nice of you – I didn’t know you knew my photographs. Well, it’s something about Los Angeles that feels very real to me. We grew up going to the Cannes Film Festival with my dad and then traveling through Europe on the way back. As I walked through all these old towns, hundreds of years of history would shine. You would see traces of past versions of the city in the midst of current city life. Much of LA is being demolished and rebuilt all the time. When I was shooting my book of Los Angeles Photographs by Raymond Chandler, a third of the places I had photographed had been demolished by the time the book was published. Marion Davies’ beach house [Del Rey Beach Club in The Big Sleep] was being demolished at the time I photographed it. I had to climb a run down driftwood staircase to get these shots. It always feels more real to me when there are glimpses of an old, lost and past city hidden in today’s shiny new version. There is a shot of Jacqueline [the lead character in “Lost Horizon” played by Mary Tessa Corman] walking past Greta Garbo’s former apartment from her early days as an actress, when she couldn’t figure out whether or not she would make it, under Jacqueline’s narration that she feels lost, adrift, wandering through the city at night.

BD: You grew up in Hollywood as Corman just when people seemed to really realize how influential your father had been in filmmaking and filmmaking. Did you have any idea of ​​her and your mother’s importance in the industry as a child, or did that realization come later for you?

CC: It was more a sense of community. My mom is younger, but my dad knew people going back to the McCarthy era. He was part of the legendary acting class of Jack Corey, along with Jack Nicholson and Robert Towne. Jack Corey was a brilliant actor who was blacklisted and didn’t hesitate to give up his public career out of loyalty to his ideals and to the film community, refusing to expose a single person. But you see the strength of it, the power of his commitment to his art. Some of New Hollywood’s brightest actors, directors, and writers have come out of his classroom. He carried on a deep, honest, true, sort of underground tradition, and it came back stronger, flourished even more perhaps, because his students saw how serious his art was to him, and how impossible it was for him to compromise his ideals. . Even when he had to sacrifice his public career as a result. So, I think that’s the sense I got of the most really and the most important part of the movie world and my dad’s relationship with him. I think you see it in movies like Wild angels. There is a deep and silent knowledge which somehow resists the vicissitudes of the world. A feeling that the whole world can be wrong, but you are continuing with something within you that is true, real, and unstoppable, and needs to be expressed.

Oscar winner Roger Corman in LOST HORIZON, directed by his daughter Catherine, and based on the work of Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano. It was selected for the Oscar for best short film. PHOTO: Catherine Corman / HORIZON PERDU

BD: How have their experiences as producers and artists influenced you?

CC: I would say it’s the community of artists that they’ve always had around them. Our home was a gathering place for filmmakers, artists, sculptors, writers, and architects. It felt like an ordinary life growing up because I had never known anything else. The only adults I really knew were deeply engaged in artistic creation, so that’s exactly what I assumed as an adult, that the goal of growing up was that one day you could make your art.

BD: Is there anything you can share about your father – character traits, interests, etc. – who could surprise people?

CC: He’s so often called a maverick or a radical, but he really loves all the movies. He is always interested in what is avant-garde, new, revolutionary. There’s a line that Joan Didion wrote about her, I think when he was taking pictures of motorcycles, that in her films she found news that she didn’t get from the New York Times. But despite all this, he is also very fond of classical cinema. These are a few of the movies he picked out first when we were compiling our family’s 100 favorite movies. Although now that I say this her favorite old black and white photo is Battleship Potemkin, which is the very definition of revolutionary …

BD: Your father’s role in “Lost Horizon” also has a cool connection with some of his most famous films. Can you talk about it a bit?

CC: Oh, yeah – there was a poetic coda in the movie, which I think you might enjoy, because I’ve read your writings on my father’s Poe movies. He plays a character named Guy de Vere, based on the real French philosopher Guy Debord. Patrick Modiano, the author of the novel on which the film is based, frequented the same cafes on the left bank that my father frequented when he lived in Paris after university. Modiano created fictional versions of the scholars, artists, and philosophers he met, and he found the pseudonym Guy de Vere in a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. It was only after shooting the film that I realized this coincidence, a little moment of synchronicity.

Mary Tessa Corman in LOST HORIZON, directed by Catherine Corman, and based on the work of Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano. It was selected for the Oscar for best short film. PHOTO: Catherine Corman / HORIZON PERDU

BD: Do you have any hopes or plans to make more films?

CC: Yes, actually. We shot the sequel to that movie, based on another chapter in the same book, in which my sister plays a lost girl and my dad plays the detective trying to find her. And I got some wonderful news from Kodak – it looks like they’re going to loan me the prototype of the new Super 8 camera to shoot my next short. Apparently, it’s the only film shot in Super 8 competing for an Academy Award this year, and Kodak has been very supportive. My next film is based on a novel by the same author as this one. We’re currently in pre-production, hoping to shoot downtown LA in the winter.

BD: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me. Is there anything else you would like people to know about “Lost Horizon?” “

CC: Yeah, I just wanted to say that so many things magically materialized to make this movie a reality. Even though it looks like a little movie, it took a long time to make it. But there was alchemy, little coincidences and synchronicities, like Guy Debord from the Left Bank becoming Guy de Vere by Edgar Allan Poe, where some places in Hollywood today resonate or rhyme with places on which Modiano wrote in the Paris of the 1960s. It’s almost as if the more it seemed impossible to make this film without a team and without a budget in the middle of a pandemic, the more these synchronicities emerged and crystallized to move the film forward. There were times when I felt like the movie was being made a certain way, and I was just there to guide it.

Mary Tessa Corman in LOST HORIZON, directed by Catherine Corman, and based on the work of Nobel Laureate Patrick Modiano. It was selected for the Oscar for best short film. PHOTO: Catherine Corman / HORIZON PERDU


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