Lena Grobusch: Consider your commitment to your creative vision

How do we look at women’s bodies and how does the visual objectification of female bodies influence our understanding of what it means to be a woman? Starting from this question, a cinematic experiment is launched that deconstructs the male gaze with the help of a female artist, open body landscapes and the playfulness of a brushstroke. A painter, a naked woman, and a camera. In this triple constellation, “The Naked Truth” explores the power of the gaze and the roles it imposes on us. An artist’s studio turns into the setting for questions about how we look at and perceive women. The naked skin of the model becomes the canvas for an audiovisual exploration of the ways in which different practices of looking influence our perception of others and ourselves. Seeing and being seen anchors us in our body. And this body shapes how we experience the world and our role in it.

What are the most formidable challenges inherent to the profession of filmmaking?

Filmmaking is in itself a negotiation of one’s own boundaries and the boundaries of others. You have to ask yourself how far you want to go for your creative vision and if the outcome justifies the methods. I feel that being a woman filmmaker I am more aware of this fact and what it means.

Could you elaborate on the wellspring of your creative inspiration for this particular short film?

Speaking of boundaries, many filmmakers not only objectify women but push them past their boundaries, rendering filming problematic for them. My film tries to explore this problem in putting the filmmaker herself in that position and experimenting with the gaze of the camera and the female subject.
The Naked Truth | Poster
Lena Grobusch

Could you elucidate on the central thematic underpinning of your film?

In creating a setting of a triangular gaze, like a mexican stand-off, I try to imagine what looking at each other could become in an artistic setting if it is freed from its male connotations of domination and objectification. How do we look at women’s bodies in this setting?

How do you navigate the task of strategizing cost-effective promotional efforts when operating within a constrained budget?

Promotion is always a little difficult, since student projects don’t gain the attention and therefore the funding that they would need to reach a wider audience. Most happens through social media and within the small range of student filmfestivals to establish a basis of international recognition.

In today's dynamic marketplace, how pivotal do you consider the role of film distribution?

Film distribution plays a major role in reaching your audience but also in establishing yourself as director in the film industry – which in Germany is hard enough to start with.

For individuals contemplating the path of self-distribution, what counsel or insights can you offer?

Self-distributing your films is time consuming and often frustrating. As a novel filmmaker you receive a lot of negative answers while the positive ones remain scarce. You have to be resilient and patient and keep believing in your ideas even if others might not do so.

In your estimation, what level of significance do short films hold for aspiring filmmakers seeking to embark on a career in directing?

A short film is a first experimentation of what kind of films you want to make. If you manage to express your ideas loud enough in a short time and find people who listen and see the potential, a shot film can function as entry card into the film industry and into making long feature movies.

Reflecting on your professional journey thus far, could you share an instance of the most formidable challenge you encountered and how you surmounted it?

One week before the making of this short film, my female artist had a family issue and informed me that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the film. So not only did I have to find a new artist really fast. I also had to rewrite the whole script to match it to a new artist and a new story.

What, in your view, are the critical factors that contribute to the creation of a cinematic masterpiece?

Improvisation and Intuition. A lot of images just feel or taste right (quite literally). Planning and preparation is also key, but a lot happens instantaniously and if you happen to catch it on camera it creates delicious moments.

If you could revisit the inception of your career, are there any aspects or decisions you would choose to alter in hindsight?

I would start making films earlier. There are so many film festivals for youngsters where you are invited to experiment and explore the audiovisual medium in a non-academic setting. In Germany, most festivals do offer these programs until the age of 27. I’m too old to benefit from that now…
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