#miniMUFF Profile: Maggie Levin
“The main thing I’ve gleaned from heroes and mentors is to build a great community, out of people who challenge & delight you.”
Short Film: LovesIck
For our inaugural #MUFFSociety screening in San Francisco, we are thrilled to showcase writer/producer/actress/talented everything, MAGGIE LEVIN. Maggie is one of three amazing ladies who host the CHICKS WHO SCRIPT Podcast, which is 100% #MUFFApproved. Her passion and drive for filmmaking is endless and inspiring.
LET’S START THIS OFF WITH THE BASICS: YOU!
ML: I’m a film & theatre artist with rock n’ roll roots. I got my arts education from school-days in New York dance studios with my ballerina Mom and summers on international pop tours with my bassist Dad. I write, direct, produce, & perform out of both passion and habit. There just hasn’t been a time in my life when I wasn’t making stuff.
Currently, I’m based out of Los Angeles, “making stuff” with a group of wonderful, like-minded art freaks. I’m also the co-creator & host of Chicks Who Script, a podcast about women in entertainment.
CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SHORT WE ARE SCREENING?
ML: I wrote the script for LovesIck three years before it got made. I probably attempted to film it at least twice a year until it finally got off the ground.
The metaphor and the inspiration are anything but subtle–the film wears its heart on its sleeve in every way possible. When I wrote it, I was six months into a relationship with someone who continues to floor me with his earnestness, even now. So I scribbled down a Technicolor version of our meet–cute and all the “let it all hang out” honesty it came with.
When you first fall in love, sometimes it feels like your heart is just barfing all over the place. This movie is about that feeling, in all of its disgusting glory.
TELL US ABOUT WHY YOU ARE A FEMINIST AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOUR FILMMAKING.
ML: I’ve always been a feminist, but both the podcast and the sea change we’re experiencing in Hollywood have really brought my feminism into focus this year. I am more cognizant than ever about the roles I’m writing for women, and the diversity of the crews I hire. I like my sets to be co-ed, but parity is absolutely essential.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WOMEN WORKING IN THE FILM INDUSTRY?
ML: Oh man, my list would go on for days and days and days. In the interest of saving blog space, some just-under-the-major-radar chicks everyone should be watching out for: Dylan Meyer (screenwriter), Lisa Joy Nolan (screenwriter), Bridget Palardy (director), Danielle Krudy (director/cinematographer), Dagmar Weaver-Madsen (cinematographer), Auden Bui (cinematographer), Tiana Brinton (costume design), Jade Thompson (costume design) and Anna Lore (actress).
IF A MOVIE ABOUT YOUR LIFE WAS CAST/CREATED, WHO WOULD STAR AS YOU AND WHAT GENRE WOULD IT BE?
ML: It would most definitely be a long-form, high-concept music video starring Robyn, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Natalie Portman, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Nicholas Hoult and Sam Rockwell (all playing me, interchangeably).
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT FILMMAKING YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
ML: There’s plenty of succinct, magnet/pillow worthy stuff I could regurgitate here but most of it I’ve never properly followed. I’ve put my own money in projects, I’ve gone against my gut, I’ve succumbed to professional jealousy. But the main thing I’ve gleaned from heroes and mentors is to build a great community, out of people who challenge & delight you.
WHO IS THE BEST/SUPERIOR BATMAN?
ML: I’m actually partial to Val Kilmer, but would have to name Michael Keaton as “best” Batman.
PUT TOGETHER YOUR DREAM TEAM (WITH YOU IN ONE OF THE ROLES, OBVS!)
ML: Producers I’d sever a limb to work for: Donna Gigliotti, Rachael Prior.
If there comes a day where Kristen Stewart or Ellen Page are interested in playing roles I’ve written, I’ll do the “just won a radio contest” scream and run around my house (and call my mom & cry that I’ve finally made it, etc).
I’d also love to work on something big with my friend Max Landis, who has one of the most explosive creative minds in the universe.
The big dream, of course, is to get the kind of funding where I can just hire my homegrown team to do something very large scale.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO JAM?
ML: ONE JAM?! I CAN ONLY PICK ONE JAM?!
Okay, the jam of the month for me is most def “Clean,” by Big Data.
WHAT MALE POP CULTURE ICON OR MOVIE/TV CHARACTER ARE YOU DREAMING WOULD GET A GENDER-SWAP?
ML: King Arthur tends not to play well onscreen for some reason–the TV shows come out schmaltzy and only last a season or two before they wither and die. I think it’d be cool to attempt a Camelot story in a different era and swap all the genders. Could be a way to get more mileage and compelling drama out of that narrative.
RECOMMEND ONE #MUFFAPPROVED FILM FOR OUR BLOG READERS:
ML: 10 Things I Hate About You (written by the ever badass Kirsten Smith & Karen McCullah)