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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Portrait of an Artist

    Ari Lerner/Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Ari Lerner/Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Who: Lisanne Skyler

    What: Critically acclaimed director and assistant media arts professor

    Bio: Skyler’s 1999 debut feature film “”Getting to Know You”” was praised by the likes of the New York Times and Roger Ebert and has been played on the Sundance Channel.

    Her other films include the documentaries “”Oldtimers,”” “”No Loans Today”” and “”Dreamland.””

    Wildcat: What inspires you?

    Skyler: People, really. My son and my husband. My friends and colleagues, the people I collaborate with. My students.

    W: What art inspires you?

    S: I do a lot of adaptations, so I’m definitely inspired by literature. I love mid-to-late 20th-century art. I love Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollock. A movie I found very inspiring was “”Ratcatcher.””

    I show that to my students a lot. In terms of movies, considering the vast amounts of media we’re inundated with, anything that does something different in terms of form, that makes me feel something about a character I’ve never felt before ð- that inspires me.

    W: What artistic mediums do you work in?

    S: Film, ideally 35mm.

    W: What makes you a unique artist/gives you a unique voice?

    S: I think my voice is unusual because it’s nonjudgmental. I’m interested in characters that are flawed. I try to get beneath the surface of my characters.

    W: What is your most recent work?

    S: Right now I’m working on two projects, both adaptations. One is called “”Capture the Flag.”” It’s set in New York in the 1970s. The other is based on a Joyce Carol Oates thriller. It’s kind of a film noir turned on its head, basically.

    W: When did you start making art?

    L: As long as I can remember. I guess I started making films when I was about 21. But I’ve always been interested in film.

    W: What piece that you’ve done are you most proud of?

    L: I’m proud of all of them. My feature is obviously the best known. But there’s something about your first film (“”Oldtimers””) that’s kind of special.

    W: Do you collaborate with other artists?

    L: Well, film is all about collaboration. All of my directing work, I’ve almost always co-written the script. As a director you collaborate with everyone from writers to actors. The great directors are the ones who know how to collaborate.

    W: What do you think of Tucson?

    L: It’s hot! Tucson’s a lot of fun. I just moved here from L.A. last July. It’s amazing driving around Tucson at twilight. The sky here is just amazing, it’s like Africa.

    W: What’s next for you?

    L: Another feature, I hope. Right now it looks like I’ll be directing “”Capture the Flag”” next. It’s a little hard to predict.

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