Ingrid Jungermann is one of the most talented storytellers I have met. She’s a writer, director and an actress, “all-in-one”. And she’s a very honest, intelligent and inspiring person as well. Her wonderful film WOMEN WHO KILL, premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2016, in New York City. The film is an evolved-adaptation of her WGA-nominated web-series ‘F to 7th’. It’s definitely a must watch film for all film lovers. I had an opportunity to talk to her, and it was just a great conversation. Read below, and you'll agree for yourself.
Art Shrian – Congratulations on your wonderful film, and it’s world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. You’re a brilliant writer, director, actor, “all-in-one”. So, what inspires you to be a storyteller?
Ingrid Jungermann – I think it really started as a kid, me being the youngest of 3 siblings, with single mom. As the youngest of 3, you are lucky enough to just be an observer, and you’re kind of the one without the voice. While you may get more attention and people think what you say is cute, people do not take you that seriously. And coming from that, and being innately drawn to any kind of arts, I started writing at a very young age. I started to realize that, through writing I could have a voice. I could process things that were happening in my life. So I learned it as a coping mechanism, and a way to be heard.
A.S – What’s your message to other people who want to be storytellers?
I.J – For me specially, female filmmakers, people of color, socio economic challenges are all important subjects. Sometimes in this diversity conversation, poor people are not talked about. Making a film is not a poor person’s art form, unfortunately. That perspective is really lacking. I would say to people, who feel like there’s no opportunity, everyone is telling them to not do the thing they want to do, there’s no other point. I don’t see another reason to live a life, without doing the thing that you love. That makes no sense to me. It sucks some time, a lot of times. But I do not see any reason, why you would ever take the tiny amount of time we have, and do something you don’t love.
A.S – Wow, that’s very inspiring and moving. Thanks… So, how has been your journey? From working in Taco Bell, to Blockbuster, to selling Swarovski crystals, to being a filmmaker in New York; it’s quite a journey. How do you feel?
I.J – I don’t know if I’m a person who’s able to live in the moment, unfortunately. I struggle with that for my whole life. I feel like, I have some blinders on. I might keep those on, just because I want to do the work. And I think you constantly have to be able to tap into who you are, and be honest with yourself. Of course I appreciate it all, I feel amazing. But I also feel that this is what I wanted. I took the steps to get here. I kind of weirdly, expect it. But also realize, that it could be fleeing. And it’s going to take 10 harder steps to get to next place. I’m not sure I’m answering your question. I probably can answer that in 3 months from now (laughs).
A.S – I think I understand. You set new goals, and you’re always focused and working hard to just keep moving towards that.
The subject of the film is quite interesting. The general Hollywood perception or perspective about woman filmmakers could be quite narrow. But you make an amazing comedy/drama/thriller. What inspired you?
I.J – I think the perspective in Hollywood has mostly been masculine, by males. Like every other industry, men run entertainment too. Things are slowly changing, which is really exciting. But I have always been, sort of drawn to both sides of myself, masculine & feminine. If we are talking about a masculine film, not gender wise, since both male & female can be masculine, is like horror or even comedy. But there’s this exciting thing happening, where this great group of talented women filmmakers, are making horror or comedy or all kind of genre. They were finally given the opportunity, to embrace our masculine perspective, along with the feminine. And if people started to think more on the lines of perspective, in terms of masculine and feminine, rather than male and female, then that will open up the world little bit more. This applies across the board, even in life, if we didn’t separate it so much into male & female.
But that said, I’m very excited for what’s happening right now, because if it hadn’t been for all the female filmmakers before us, making those films they were “supposed to be making”, we wouldn’t have had opportunity to change things a little bit, and leave our stamp on films, that otherwise are not supposed to be “female films”. I’m thankful to all those women before me!
A.S – Very true. And it’s changing a lot with wonderful shows like Jessica Jones or others, where women TV/filmmakers are making these wonderful shows.
What was the most challenging and most fun part of being a writer, director and an actor for the film?
I.J – The most challenging is not being able to be at 2 places at once. So you have to give up some control of your vision. And it’s really challenging, since you start to feel, am I failing as a director if I’m not in control every moment. In the same way, that’s very freeing, because you have to trust your team - my first AD Eric LaFranchi, my DP Rob Leitzell, my PD Olga Miasnikova, my producer Alex Scharfman, my entire team and there artists. So, where it made me uncomfortable to have to let go, luckily I was lifted by the people who knew my vision, and they wanted to communicate it. So communicating your vision early on is very important, when you are in your own movie. Prep is very important, being very clear as to what you want, what you’re trying to get constantly is very important.
A.S – So where do you see yourself heading? Woody Allen of women?
I.J – My initial response is, no. I really want to sink my teeth into writing-directing, and see how far and deep I can go with that. There are many-many things that I haven’t even tapped into. And many things I want to learn. And acting, while it’s incredible, it’s keeping me from exploring other things I want to explore. I would love to be in other people’s films, but I don’t think I’ll be a lead in my own. I could be supporting character. But if I want to grow as a filmmaker, I think I need to focus.
A.S – Your next project is a Sci-Fi? How did that come up?
I.J – I started the story with Stewart Thorndike. She’s a huge inspiration to me, and she’s of that up & coming crop I was talking about. We were very collaborative for little while. She inspired me and we talked about and developed the story together for this film. I said, I want to do a female fight club movie; she suggested that we should set this in Barnard College. So this is like a privileged female fight club thing. When I was in comedy, I was always drawn to dark comedy. She comes from horror sci-fi world. So together we came up with this idea. I wrote the script, and she has been a major inspiration in creating that world for that film. It’s in development stage. And right now I’m focusing on a TV project, adapting my web-series ‘F to 7th’ into a TV show.
A.S – Last question, how do you feel about being a filmmaker in and from New York?
I.J – Is there any other city to be a filmmaker? (laughs). I want to be here. People that we are surrounded by, inspire me. I have been to LA a few times, and I’m not drawn in. I think it’s beautiful; there are very talented people there. There’s a cool indie filmmaker thing happening. But New York is my home, and the people here are the smartest, coolest and most neurotic bunch, that I’m drawn to. I feel right here!
WOMEN WHO KILL – Synopsis