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Slamdance Women Directors: Meet Jiyoung Lee – ‘Female Pervert’

Slamdance Women Directors: Meet Jiyoung Lee - 'Female Pervert'

Jiyoung Lee is a writer, director, musician, and actress. In 2007 she received an MA in Television, Radio, and Film from Syracuse University. In 2011 she played a fictionalized version of herself in the feature film Pleasant People, which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival. She currently works for Turner Broadcasting as an assistant editor on Conan. (Press Materials)
Female Pervert will premiere at the 2015 Slamdance Festival on January 24.

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

JL: Female Pervert is comedy about Phoebe, a painfully awkward video-game designer who follows a twisted path to self-empowerment. As her path to self-improvement unfurls, some of her more eccentric interests lead her down a darker path. She meets a series of men along the way, hoping to spark a love connection. But her perversions are hard to suppress, and she scares them away with her unsettling, absurd behavior. The movie deals with Phoebe trying to become the best person she can be, and how she reacts when the best version of herself is problematic.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

JL: In the spring of 2013 I got into a car accident, and I had to get a new license plate. The new license plate number was “PRN 6969.” It was not a vanity plate; it was the random number they gave me. I interpreted it as a sign from the gods to make a movie called Female Pervert.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

JL: Funding was hard. I raised half of the budget on Kickstarter, and it was very nerve-wracking. Also, our lead actress, Jennifer Kim, got a throat infection in the middle of the movie, and we lost a little bit of production time because of it.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

JL: I want them to think about going to the bathroom, because they refrained from doing so during the screening. I want them to think of how entertained and immersed they were in the movie.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

JL: Making a movie is hard for most people, no matter what gender/ethnicity one is or comes from. For most films, funding is the hardest part of the production process, and I think it’s the main reason why there are so few female directors. Women are less likely to have connections with rich people who can risk money. My advice for women is to be realistic about the money they can raise to make a movie, and write scripts that fit the budget. Also, get involved in your local film scene. It’s in the Atlanta film scene where I’ve met the people who’ve really helped Female Pervert come to life.

W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?

JL: The movie’s called Female Pervert. People expect it to be a titillating movie. Although the movie deals with subjects of a sexual nature, I want the movie to be the opposite of titillating.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

JL: Part of Female Pervert’s budget was self-funded, and part of the budget was raised through Kickstarter. I made a video for the Kickstarter, and I set the goal to a gimmicky 6,900 dollars. People responded to the number.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

JL: Wayne’s World is my favorite film directed by a woman. Penelope Spheeris directed the movie, and it has had a big influence on my humor. She was under a lot of pressure to make it work as a movie, and she exceeded expectations. Moreover, she managed to make locations in Los Angeles look like Aurora, Illinois.

I also have great respect for Kelly Reichardt, So Yong Kim, and Lee Lang.

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