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Zia Anger

Filmmaker, Music Video Director

Zia Anger is a filmmaker and music video director. Her most recent short My Last Film premiered at the 53rd New York Film Festival. In 2015, her short I Remember Nothing had its world premiere at New Directors/New Films and its international premiere at Festival del film Locarno. She has made music videos for various independent artists including Angel Olsen, Mitski, Zola Jesus, Julianna Barwick, Maggie Rogers, and Jenny Hval; the latter of whom she also tours with as a performer. Anger previously spoke to The Creative Independent about why moving images are more important than words.

How do you deal with bad reviews/criticism?

At this point in my career I haven’t been the subject of much criticism, probably because as someone who makes “difficult” narrative work within the traditional cannon of cinema it’s hard to find financing to make something big enough to be the subject of a bad review. Which I guess is something like a premature bad review, except it considers my work as a commodity instead of critically. When I make music videos I often tell the artist I am working with that a lot of people won’t like what we are going to make, but the artist shouldn’t take it personally. The people who won’t like it will be disappointed because we’re not fulfilling certain expectations that they have for all moving images—like filming the artist as a submissive object in relationship to the camera or trying to make linear or narrative sense of the video. It’s simple stuff so deeply ingrained in everyone that has grown up watching moving images that it’s hard to articulate beyond a four word comment like “great song, bad video.” Sometimes I’ll see what the commenter has liked, and try to figure out if their criticism is related to an eye that is only looking at moving images as a commodity or a commodity and beyond.

How do you deal with bad reviews/criticism?

Of course, this criticism is directly connected to my narrative work being considered “difficult”—in both situations, because I don’t follow certain rules of commodification. I assume when I get to the point of commodifying my narrative work I’ll get some meaty bad reviews. I can’t wait for that.

With moving images we’ve never not looked at them in terms of the market because cinema was never pure, it’s always been been seen as a commodity. Even home videos. I was only allowed two tv shows growing up, and one of them was America’s Funniest Home Videos.

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