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DOC NYC Women Directors: Meet Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander – ‘Us, Naked: Trixie and Monkey’

DOC NYC Women Directors: Meet Kirsten D'Andrea Hollander - 'Us, Naked: Trixie and Monkey'

Kirsten D’Andrea Hollander is a full-time professor at the Maryland
Institute College of Art (MICA), where she teaches in Foundation; Film and
Video; and Community Arts. She has received numerous awards for her film work,
including an Independent Filmmaker Project Lab Fellowship in 2011. Her shorts have
been seen in film festivals and by broadcast around the US and by
distribution abroad. Us, Naked: Trixie
& Monkey
is her first feature-length film. Her latest project, W.I.N.G.S., will be part of Creative
Capital’s “On Our Radar” program in the winter of 2015 and is slated for
release in 2016. (Press materials)

Us, Naked: Trixie & Monkey will play at DOC NYC on November 17.

Please give us your description of the film playing.

KDH: Us, Naked:
Trixie & Monkey
is the story of an unpredictable couple who stop at
nothing to spread joy with their innovative circus-burlesque act.

What drew you to this story?

KDH: I needed to remember that humor could raise
awareness and be a healing agent in the world. I found myself filming Trixie
and Monkey, who were discovering uncompromising trust in their art, regardless
of outer validation and apart from what the odds of success might be. They
never gave up despite financial uncertainty, physical exhaustion, and at times,
romantic tension. This was the reason I could bear unwavering witness to them
with my camera for almost seven years. We just kept filming until their inspiring
story completely unfolded.  

What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

KDH: Trying to explain to people who were eager to see
the film why it was taking so long to complete.

What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

KDH: The sacrifices made for one’s passion and that anything
is possible. Trixie and Monkey decide to bring their message of art, love, and life to a global audience — and they do!

What advice do you have for other female directors?

KDH: Make the films you
want to make, trust your voice, and stop at nothing to bring what you love to
the world. This may mean crowdsourcing, and that’s okay.

What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?

KDH: That love, and the sacrifices that one makes for
one’s passion, are not important film topics.

How did you get your film funded?

KDH: Us, Naked:
Trixie & Monkey
was self-financed on a shoestring budget, a Kickstarter
campaign (which is live as I write this); and with unprecedented generosity
regarding everyone who appears in the film — our amazing Brooklyn-based
musicians, location venues, the crew, the creation of animated titles, and my
former MICA film students, who contributed in so many capacities — the list goes

Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

KDH: Zana Briski’s Born Into Brothels, Liz Garbus’ Girlhood, Lucy Walker’s Waste Land, Brenda Davis’ Sister — these are all films about
embracing community, discovering new vehicles of compassion, and creating a
higher quality of life.

Watch the Us, Naked: Trixie & Monkey Official Trailer here.

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