Female Filmmakers: Spotlight on ‘Palisade’ by Lizzy Sanford

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“PALISADE is a short film about a man named Lloyd who robs a convenience store to help his girlfriend out of debt. To escape the cops, Lloyd breaks into a woman’s home, locks himself in her bedroom and holds her cat hostage. The pair develops an odd friendship through the locked bedroom door. This film is a comedy of errors that explores the polarities of compatibility, and demonstrates the power of attraction over circumstance.”

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Recently I attended the Los Angeles screening of the winners of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival… “one of the fastest growing, most respected and exciting film festivals in the Mediterranean” – EMFF.com. I got to watch three spectacularly diverse films that evening, and PALISADE was the perfect way to start it off.

I am not the least bit surprised that writer/director Lizzy Sanford’s film won Best Short Film at the 2015 EMIFF. Without giving too much away, I can say with complete honesty that PALISADE took me by complete surprise. From its suspenseful opening to its energetic yet enticing cinematography, this film was hilarious in the most unexpected ways. Despite being funny, it did not lack emotional subtleties; something that’s often lost on films similar in genre.

Lizzy graciously answered some questions I was dying to know about her background as a filmmaker and process surrounding PALISADE… keep on reading!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background as a filmmaker!

I started working in film just two years ago. I worked in the music industry for a while, then for a creative agency where I found myself producing a commercial. After one experience on set I knew I needed to change directions. I started taking night classes after work for directing; writing every day, teaching myself to use different cameras and eventually making a short every week. I was overtaken by the most incredible force of ambition when I discovered film because I think I felt behind compared to most people. I’ve learned however that everyone has their own path in this industry; there is no magic formula.

How did you hear about Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival?

This film is from 2015, I shot it during the summer. I heard about Evolution through Withoutabox.com. I went to Palma Mallorca as a teenager and fell in love with it, so I figured if I got in I’d be fortunate enough to visit again! It’s a very special place.

What would you say your “genre” of filmmaking is, if you have one? Share what inspires your particular tastes/styles.

I think my tone and style are certainly still developing, as I’m sure they always will be… But if I had to describe it succinctly I’d say dark comedy. Everything inspires me, it totally depends on what’s happening in my life. My friends, strangers, images, the way people communicate. I love the idea of using a humorous situations as a platform to open up broader topics. There’s comfort in comedic work; it often allows us to see truths without taking them personally.

What aspect of the filmmaking process is your favorite?

Being on set is my favorite for sure. Working with actors, figuring out how to get their best performance. It’s a bit like a psychology. The best director is able to effectively communicate their vision and keep the cast and crew engaged throughout the process. They should feel like it’s their project too.

Tell us about the inception of Palisade, how you came about this project, and a little about the process of making it come to life!

I wrote Palisade after talking about the OJ Simpson trial at a party. I had been thinking a lot about cop chases and how they were pushed forth in the media almost as a form of entertainment in the 90s. I’m always into the idea of an inept villain, so I started building this character Lloyd. Getting anything off the ground at the start is all about being vulnerable! Asking for help from your friends, reaching out to anyone who might be into being creative with you. You’d be surprised what a little communication can achieve.

Where do you see your career moving to next, and do you have a specific tidbit of advice you’d like to give to younger filmmakers?

Feature films! That’s the goal. Though truthfully I’m just thankful to have found this form of expression. I’m a young filmmaker myself, but I’d say expect ups and downs, that’s part of every facet of living. The only way to become a professional at anything is to treat the process like a professional would.

You can find out more about Lizzy Sanford here.

To learn more about the Evolution Mallorca Film Festival, click here.

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Kaytra Parkman

About Kaytra Parkman

Actress. “An old cosmic soul disguised as a 21st-century earthling”. Kaytra has no recollection of “catching” any acting bug... it was always there. At the ripe age of 3, she pointed to the television enthusiastically and declared, “I want to be IN THAT!”. After her parents jokingly reminded her she would have to be really small to fit in there, Kaytra skipped and tripped her way through adolescence until she landed a coveted spot at the Orange County High School of the Arts (OCSA). There she spent 4 years studying everything from stage combat to documentary filmmaking amongst a wide variety of young artists. A professional nerd on the side, she also freelances as a social media manager/video editor/techie, and spends her free time Netflixing and obsessing about space. Kaytra hopes to combine her love of acting, filmmaking and activism to evoke positive change both individually and globally.