Lara Hemingway is an American filmmaker, writer and actor living in New York City. She is a graduate student of screenwriting at Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema Arts, and is an alumna of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The New School (BA). In 2015, Ms. Hemingway executive produced/produced, wrote and starred in her debut original feature Crossroads of America. The film, a surreal melodrama directed by Gabrielle Muller, hits film festivals in 2018.
Gone Cat: An exhibit you recently viewed that inspired or moved you and why:
Lara Hemingway: Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto starring Cate Blanchett at the Park Avenue Armory. I’d never seen film presented this way. A large dark, empty space that was cut into a maze by the thirteen screens. On each one, a projection of a short film on loop. Every few minutes, the films would converge sonically to temporarily unite Blanchett’s thirteen protagonists into one sound (one manifesto). This was my first immersive film experience, more like attending the retrospective of an artist than seeing a movie.
GC: Two favorite artists and why?
LH: Claudia Eve Kleefeld is a little known painter that I discovered in a bookshop in Taos. I have only a collection of postcards of her paintings from 1997 – 1999. Her work explores female strength, vulnerability and sexuality in a mode that I find similar to Kahlo (See Kleefeld’s “Silvana’s Road”). Her figure paintings with fire or butterflies are emblamatic of her feminine mythos. I was elated to find Kleefeld online and am eager to start a collection of her original paintings, a new engagement with an artist for me since most of my influencers are dead and their work stuck in museums.
Claire Denis is a contemporary French director, and I find her films follow an inspirational model of entertainment that is also art. Denis relies on what is conventional but fun about the Hollywood paradigm (parallel action narratives, clichéd filmic cues, sex and violence), yet still creates stories and characters that are subtle, relatable, and profound, and always suspenseful. In Denis’s films, every beat is in service to an underlying metaphor which is in communication with the story’s premise. Her movies, even without endings (especially without endings), are remarkably satisfying.
GC: Favorite city/destination and your favorite art museum or gallery in that city:
LH: The Alhambra (“Red Castle”) in Grenada, Spain on the Andalusian coast. It’s a palace dating back the 9th Century which I could wander for years vainly attempting to take in every detail. Because of its exquisite and intricate architecture, both foundational and ornamental, the Alhambra is more a museum than a landmark.
GC: If you could have a dinner party with 3 artists (past/present/fictional or real) who would you choose, what would you have for dinner?
LH: Maya Deren, an avant-garde filmmaker from the 1940’s whose best know for her short film Meshes of the Afternoon. Deborah Sampson, my ancestor who disguised herself as a man to join the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. (If that isn’t performance art, what is?) And Janis Joplin, who obviously needs no introduction. She makes her way onto every list I’ve every created like this one. I don’t cook so we would order delivery from Taj Kabab King, the best Indian food in my neighborhood. We’d drink Miller High Life and sing battle songs.
GC: Your favorite movie and why?
LH: Gia starring Angelina Jolie. It’s not a great movie (not even a good one). But I love it! It’s an HBO produced film about a glamorous dead supermodel from the 80’s. I saw a Gia DVD for sale as a pre-teen and bought it sight unseen. The narrative structure is sort of fascinating and has merit. One part ‘mockumentary’ and one part fictional adaptation, the protagonist is shown in the past while commented upon in the present. Mostly, Gia was my introduction to the lifestyle of a ‘bad girl’ type, and I’ve never really shaken the influence this film had on my social persona.
Lara Sampson Hemingway
Crossroads of America (Film)