SxSW 2020 Interview – BLOCKS director Bridget Moloney

“BLOCKS is an existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit plastic toy blocks.” Director Bridget Moloney on BLOCKS which screens in the Shorts section of SxSW 2020! 

Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW

Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations! Are you planning to attend SxSW?

I am planning on attending unless the coronavirus shuts it down.

What is it about Austin, either the festival or the town itself, that excites you the most?

I visited Austin about ten years ago and had a very nice time. I’m excited to be there for the festival with a project because I love having a combo work and pleasure trip. It’s the perfect excuse to really visit a city and eat and drink as much as possible while taking care of business.

How did you first hear about the SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

SXSW has been on my radar since I started making films. It is such an excellent platform for independent films. The shorts have a reputation for being well made AND cool. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?

Tell me about the idea behind BLOCKS and getting it made!

I made this short as part of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women. It’s a year long program for 8 female-identifying or non-binary filmmakers at AFI. We all submit a script we want to shoot and then spend some time in workshops and classes and bonding. I have two little kids and I wanted to make something that visually expressed how being at home with young children can feel. Originally, I wrote the short as a one-pager but then I started to dream about opening up the world a little. That’s ultimately what became BLOCKS. 

Who are some of your main creative inspirations?

I love Lauren Greenfield’s photography and Julia Ducournau’s body horror and Miranda July’s work on the page and on screen. I also love Tamara Jenkins’ ability to elevate the everyday into true comedy with gags that feel grounded.

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

We shot on an ARRI Alexa Mini with Arriflex/Zeiss Super Speed Prime lenses. We filmed in my house, which is 100 years old and quirky and full of stuff so we needed to find the smallest footprint we could. We had literally fit a camera under my bathroom sink. We did it! In another set up Emilio, our operator laid on my shower floor, the following focus had broken so the AC, Will, had to sort of straddle him to pull focus.

After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

Oxford Film Festival! Omaha! Dallas! Atlanta! Florida Film Festival! I’d love to play New York because I have so many friends and family there. It’s also going to be part of the Sundance Shorts theatrical tour, which is very cool. 

What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

I think doing a tour of five to seven is a great idea. I do think there’s an audience for shorts! An episode of Ramy or High Maintenance is basically a short, people like to watch those! 

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?

Make something! Shoot it on your phone or your camera and then start showing it to people, be open to the possibility the first few outings are not going to be as good as you want them to be but if you just keep doing your thing, not trying to do anyone else’s you’re probably going to find your way.

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

JUNIOR by Julia Ducournau.

For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!

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