Nadia Litz is an award-winning actress turned writer/director. Her short film, How To Rid Your Lover of a Negative Emotion Caused By You!, played at over a dozen film festivals and was featured on Dave Eggar's curated short film quarterly, Wholphin. Her feature film, The People Garden, won the audience award at the TIFF/Blacklist Screenwriting Lab in 2014, and went on to play in competition at BAFICI, Marfa, and Rhode Island, where it won for best cinematography. It will be available for screening on Hulu in 2017. Litz is currently developinga TV series about a fatal police shooting of a teenager that occurred down the street from her Toronto home.
On what makes Canadian cinema unique:
Maybe that we always feel like outsiders—which is a great place to create art from.
On how she developed the idea for The People Garden:
I find it hard to articulate the germination of ideas sometimes. It's always a few things that I'm not sure make sense to anyone but me! But, I remember thinking, you know in Lost In Translation when Charlotte’s womanizing photographer boyfriend goes to shoot a video in the outskirts of Tokyo? Leaving Charlotte alone in a state of ennui…. I thought, what if she followed her boyfriend to his video shoot? What would she see? What kind of learning would that type of young women get if she left the comforts of that expensive hotel and confronted some things? So it was a combination of that thought process and being in university and watching art films. In school, I really loved films that were a little romantic and a little twisted and had a lot of atmosphere—films by Wim Wenders, David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, and Wong Kar-wai. I was also taking a lot of Japanese cinema classes. I was watching and reading so much about Japan at the time, I was dreaming about it at night! I wanted to make my own version of the films I was watching in school—but I wanted to make it for young women. It all kind cemented into The People Garden.
On how The People Garden engages with technology:
I am very interested in our engagement with technology and how we use it as a barrier. I’m very interested in persona vs. the truth of who we are. Sweetpea (played by Dree Hemingway) is a woman of our times! I think she would rather Instagram something and manifest it into her own version of it, rather than see it for what it really is. I don't really judge that. I think that's why women engage with Instagram—it's a place where you have autonomy over who you are in a world that traditionally rejects our autonomy. I think Sweetpea knows what she’s doing. I think she actually knows more about what is going on then she lets on. But, whether she can emotionally confront that is another thing….
On how to experience Japan in 24 hours:
Ok, the first thing I would do is call up Jai West from my film. He's going to get you a good time! You will need reinforcements, so I would start early with the traditional Japanese breakfast from Girandole. I would then wander to the Toga store to browse because Yasuko Furuta is a genius. I'd pick up some stock from X-Girl, or visit my brilliant pal Momo and see what she was working on and get some goodies from Undercover. I would then head over to Shibuya for some vintage shopping at Toro or Boy. Eating fresh soba at Dosanjin would be a must. I would plan the afternoon around Kyoto. I like this temple called Kiyomizu-dera. I would be there to see the sunset. Back in Tokyo, I would go out with Jai and his artist friends to Narukiyo Izakaya. While they danced the night away after dinner, I'd probably find a late night onzen and chill. Then if I was with a loved one, I'd probably order sake up to room service and get really cozy in our tiny hotel room and talk the night away, before grabbing a cold Pocari Sweat and hot coffee from a vending machine and taking the “Romance Car” pass the base of Mount Fuji to watch the sunrise. I would not sleep for 24 hours! ★