MUFF Alumni Interview: Olivia Accardo

“I’m very stubborn, and any time someone has looked at something I’ve made, or asked me about my work, and sort of scoffed or ignored me or made a remark like, “wow I didn’t know a woman could….” — it makes me stronger.”

Still from One True Loves

ONE TRUE LOVES examines love through the eyes of a young girl. We watch Lydia grow, she is a different age in every episode, and see how she interprets these feelings with each love of her life.

This series, which has completed the first four of eight episodes, starts in 2002 and is very 2002. We watch as Lydia, complete with overalls, wrist bands and her own AIM screen name, deals with her first ‘crush,’ peer pressure and an awkward round of spin the bottle.

One True Loves hit me in an unexpected way. I was also 11 in 2002, and as the episodes went on, though the experiences were different, it was amazing to see a version of my life on screen.

The series shows not only what it means to be in love when you are young but explores growing up, learning through mistakes and the confidence needed to be brave.

One True Loves is short and sweet, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Olivia Accardo

We first featured Olivia Accardo as part of the New York miniMUFF screening series. Her film Cupcake Bob was selected to show before The Craft and we are so happy to feature her next project One True Loves as a MUFF Alumni.

Olivia is a Los Angeles based artist and animator with over 300 million views on Giphy. Her work can also be seen in award winning social media campaigns for Paramount’s Mother!, The Alienist and Ferdinand. One True Loves premiered this month and has been selected for the NoBudge Online Film Festival.

You can watch the teaser for One True Loves below!

We last talked in 2015. Here’s a link! Can you catch us up since then?

Olivia Accardo: Since then, I moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, started working full time as a motion graphics artist at an ad agency, and raised around $11k through Seed & Spark for this web series, One True Loves.

Tell us about One True Loves. Where did the idea come from?

OA: One True Loves fully comes from a very pure and annoyingly open emotional version of myself. The obsessive “let-me-tell-you-all-about-my-latest-crush” version of myself. It specifically occurred to me during a heart-to-heart conversation with a good friend (now producer/editor, Will Mason). I was venting to him about the latest Somebody and just blurted out, “I should make a short film about everyone who’s ever made me feel this crazy.”

A still from One True Loves

Most of the episodes use older forms of technology (flip phones!) why did you decide to use it as part of the story and how hard was it to find these phones?

OA: I so badly wanted to tell this story from the perspective of somebody who grew up in the late 90s/early 2000s. It absolutely affected my relationships, romantic or otherwise, being surrounded by technology of some kind. I was broken up with over AOL Instant Messenger and definitely have sent the “u up?” text via flip phone. As the series continues beyond Episode 4, we’ll see online dating and even flirting via Instagram DMs. Also, it wasn’t very hard to find flip phones! My crew and I are all around the same “millennial” age and our flip phones and gameboys and old macbooks still exist at our parents’ houses, so we were able to get some things shipped to us.

Why did you decide to show love in different forms?

OA: The show is about Lydia growing up and changing and how she responds to relationships as she learns from her experiences. In some cases she doesn’t change very much, and in others she comes a long way. The show is “loosely” inspired by some of my own experiences, and they’re all very different! Sometimes they liked me back, sometimes they didn’t notice me at all, sometimes they cheated on me, sometimes I broke their heart, sometimes they broke mine. I think it’s a story that becomes about more than just love if you see this character’s experiences from all different sides of the “relationship” dynamic.

Can you tell us about some/all of the other amazing women who worked on this film?

OA: YES! I’m so lucky to be working side by side with these amazing ladies. My producer, Andrea Massaro, works at Warner Brothers and just last summer co-produced Mississippi Requiem starring James Franco. My other producer, Kristen Politis, spent the summer before in Baltimore with filmmaker Matt Porterfield on his latest feature, Sollers Point, starring Zazie Beetz.

The super talented Maddie Rien plays “Young Lydia,” and she can been seen on Nickelodeon’s Bella & The Bulldog’s and TBS’ Angie Tribeca. Natalie Fält is my amazing production designer, who somehow recreated my high school boyfriend’s bedroom as if she had been there before. Our hair and make-up artist is Omayma Ramzy, who’s also blowing up right now, with work being featured in Vogue and Nylon! And last but not least, Gabrielle Levion, our costume designer who nailed dressing in that early 2000s-chic.

A Behind the Scenes Shot from One True Loves

When we asked you last time to tell us about why you are a feminist and why it’s important to your filmmaking you said:

Then I grew up to be a regular sized adult woman, and learned that a lot of people use being an adult sized woman as also a reason to put you down, or make you feel lesser or expect less of you. Especially in film. I just want to work really hard to be one of many ladies in the film industry that prove we’re okay too.”

Could you reflect on this? A lot has changed since then, particularly with the rise of the #MeToo movement.

OA: A lot has changed since then, and I still stand by what I said. I just hate the idea of anyone having a reason to look at me or my work as “less” because I’m a woman. I’m very stubborn, and any time someone has looked at something I’ve made, or asked me about my work, and sort of scoffed or ignored me or made a remark like, “wow I didn’t know a woman could...” — it makes me stronger. There’s this little angry filing cabinet deep inside of me that keeps track of all these dumb things people say, and these things people say are the fuel to the fire of Reasons To Be Really Good At Stuff.

I think this speaks for the #MeToo movement as well. I’ve had my fair share of “Me Too” moments — on set, in the workplace, in life, during internships, doing wedding videography, even?! Again, those moments are just filed away into this angry little place that’s fuelling the energy in me to Do Well and Make Good Stuff, not even to prove a point or anything, but more for like Past Me and the not great things I’ve been through.

Who are your favourite women working in the film industry?

OA: I remember saying Lynne Ramsay the last time I answered this question, and that’s still true. Also, Miranda July. Those are two (very different) ladies who are super huge inspirations. I will add Issa Rae to the mix, creator of the web series “Awkward Black Girl” turned “Insecure” on HBO. I love Insecure so much, and I loved watching Awkward Black Girl and seeing her career evolve like that. It’s super inspiring. Her work feels very honest and raw and smart, and whenever I see her Instagramming from the Emmys or something I feel so proud and happy for her.

Last time we asked you about the best advice you ever received. Now it’s time to give your own advice. Go!

OA: Hmm…stand by your work, but be open to feedback and criticism. Do your best not to take it personally, because these people care enough about you and your work to give you feedback, to make it better. It means something that they say anything at all! (I can get very emotional workshopping/writing & rewriting stuff, I think this is also advice to myself).

What are you working on now/next?

OA: I’m working on finishing this series! I’m very proud to have 4 of these episodes out in the world, but I have 4 more written and want to finish this story about Lydia. I think the “bigger” narrative arc will make this series feel complete, and just better as a whole. The first four are about tween/teen Lydia and the latter four are about 20-something Lydia. We’re just trying to figure out funding. :-)

A Still from One True Loves

If you were reincarnated as an ice cream flavour, what would it be?

OA: I think pistachio. Not for any cool meaningful reason, but because I love pistachios and I love the color green, and pistachio ice cream is both pistachios and the color green.

What are your three favourite smells?

OA: Lavender is an ideal nighttime smell, tea tree oil is a nice shower smell, and hm, garlic sizzlin’ on the frying pan smell is also a good one.

Finally, recommend one #MUFFApproved film for our blog readers!

OA: I *just* saw Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle for the first time recently and highly recommend if you want a good cry. (It’s not a sad movie, but I cried because I was so touched/happy for the characters).

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