SxSW 2021 Interview – THE NIPPLE WHISPERER director Jan Van Dyck

Maurice Sanders has a gift. He’s a nipple whisperer. Once he was known as “Magic Sandy.” But that was years ago, before Doris, a famous model and Sander’s muse, fell ill. Now, after more than a decade, Doris wants to meet Maurice again. Having its World Premiere in the Narrative Shorts Competition, we speak with filmmaker Jan Van Dyck on the short THE NIPPLE WHISPERER. 

I hear you are back! Tell me about your previous experience here at the festival and what you showed.

I showed my short Homeful Bliss in 2016. It was great being at the festival, meeting wonderful people. I enjoyed the Q&A’s, the screenings and the atmosphere.

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

I knew the festival from its reputation as being one of the most important in the US.

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

I wanted to make a funny but also moving film on a serious topic: illness and the way this changes your body and your self confidence. I wanted to make a love story about people getting their confidence back and their joy for life. I applied at the Flemish Film Fund in Belgium and got funding and developed the script at European Short Pitch. 

Who are some of your creative inspirations? Any particular filmmaking talent or movie that inspired you for this project?

Buster Keaton is an inspiration for the main character. I also was inspired by the humor and melancholy of Aki Kaurismäki. 

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint?

We wanted to create an “older” look so we wound up using 70’s style lenses and color grading.

Being all virtual this year, what do you hope to get out of the virtual SxSW experience?

Although it is online I still hope to connect to viewers,  film makers and people in the industry. 

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone to get their start as a creator or filmmaker in the industry, what would you suggest?

Trust your guts, be honest with yourself, believe in what you are doing.

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

TWO BIRDS by Rúnar Rúnarsson. 

This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser to!

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