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Meet the 2011 Tribeca Filmmakers | “She Monkeys” Director Lisa Aschan

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 14, 2011 at 4:21AM

When 15-year-old Emma lands a competitive spot on a young women's equestrian acrobatics team, she is taken under the wing of her slightly older peer Cassandra. Obsessed with strength and control, Emma covets Cassandra's natural grace and poise, while Cassandra in turn silently desires more than just Emma's discipline. The psychological stakes of their friendship intensify as the two jockey for top position, and loyalty is traded for unbridled power. Meanwhile, Emma's curious and innocent eight-year-old sister (in a remarkably complex performance delivered by rising star Isabella Lindquist) is prematurely spurred to confront the treacherous frontiers of sexuality and womanhood on her own.
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When 15-year-old Emma lands a competitive spot on a young women's equestrian acrobatics team, she is taken under the wing of her slightly older peer Cassandra. Obsessed with strength and control, Emma covets Cassandra's natural grace and poise, while Cassandra in turn silently desires more than just Emma's discipline. The psychological stakes of their friendship intensify as the two jockey for top position, and loyalty is traded for unbridled power. Meanwhile, Emma's curious and innocent eight-year-old sister (in a remarkably complex performance delivered by rising star Isabella Lindquist) is prematurely spurred to confront the treacherous frontiers of sexuality and womanhood on her own.

Lisa Aschan's award-winning directorial debut digs between the cracks of human behavior to reveal the seemingly naïve experience of girlhood as a feeding ground for underhanded brutality and rivalry. Using naturalistic direction, evocative imagery, and engrossing performances, Aschan smartly presents a world where creatures may be the safest and most reliable companions. [Synopsis courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival]

"She Monkeys"
World Narrative Competition
Primary Cast: Mathilda Paradeiser, Linda Molin, Isabella Lindquist, Sergej Merkusjev, Adam Lundgren, Sigmund Hovind
Director: Lisa Aschan
Screenwriter: Josefine Adolfsson, Lisa Aschan
Producers: Helene Lindholm
Director of Photography: Linda Wassberg
Production Designer: Kia Nordqvist
Composer: Sami Sänpäkkilä
Sound Designer: Andreas Franck

Responses courtesy of “She Monkeys” director Lisa Aschan.

"...Not monogamous..."

I’m not a monogamous in my relationship to film. I do theater and I went to The Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. I guess I’m just an artist. I let the theme decide which media I’m going to use.

A growing pile of books...

It all began with a pile. This is how all my projects start, with a growing pile of books, pictures and articles. The first three things in this particular pile was an ad with a little girl in a bikini licking an ice-cream, George Bastille’s ”History of the Eye” and a photo of Shirley Temple.

No coincidences...

I like rules. In "She Monkeys" the western genre serve as a framework that inspired me and my D.O.P Linda Wassberg. I put a lot of work into creating a set of rules for the development of the story, that way the choices I have to make never is a matter of taste. Nothing is a coincidence.

Lying your way into horse riding and vaulting...

During the casting Mathilda Paradaiser and Linda Molin lied about how they knew horse riding and vaulting. When I found out they had to learn everything from the beginning, they trained very hard and succeeded to learn what normally would take two years in less then three months. We didn’t use any stuntwomen in the film so I held my breath every time they were balancing on top of the galloping horse without any protection.

Swedish tumble weeds...

I kept dreaming of a having tumble weed in the film, I’ve never seen it in Sweden so everyone told me to let it go. But then, the last day of shooting it was really windy it just appeared, out of nowhere. I love that shot.

A killer comedy in the works...

Next I’d like to make an absurd comedy that makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe.

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