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Premiere of Shana Moulton’s First Film!

Artist Shana Moulton in her two interview outfits at The 1896 Studios & Stages. Bushwick, Brooklyn, 03.07.11. Production still from the series "New York Close Up". © Art21, Inc. 2011.

That picture only tells half the story of A Brief History of Shana Moulton & Whispering Pines.

Shana Moulton, in shape-shifter Shana fashion, showed up to her interview with two outfits—and she wanted to wear both. Switching clothing, in the middle of an interview and with all the possible continuity headaches that it entails, is an absolute no-no in documentary production. But in the New York Close Up spirit of breaking some of the unwritten rules of production (and no doubt abetted by our own naïveté and absolute push-overness as producers), we of course said “Sure, let’s do it.” We even worked out an elaborate hand signal for when she was going to switch.

Fast-forward a couple months later to the edit room and we had the unique challenge of cutting interview footage of Shana in which she appears alternately in John Lennon glasses with a blue and black pullover, and then in a dowdy beige house coat and long hair. Hmmm…what to do?

After struggling mightily, we decided to go with it. And not just go with it but actually show that moment of transformation: when Shana 1 becomes Shana 2. And I’m really happy we did. Shana very rightly pushed our first film with her into the spirit of her own work—loose, transformative, discursive. And she gave us the courage of our convictions to break a couple of rules in the very first of our New York Close Up releases. Thanks Shana.

ABOVE: Artist Shana Moulton in her two interview outfits at The 1896 Studios & Stages. Bushwick, Brooklyn, 03.07.11. Production still from the series New York Close Up. © Art21, Inc. 2011.

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