“This Industry Is Never Easy:” A TDQ Q&A With Filmmaker Paulina Lagudi

Paulina Lagudi

Paulina Lagudi is a multi faceted filmmaker who, lists, among others, Steve McQueen as a major inspiration. But, before you jump to conclusions think less “The Great Escape” and more “12 Years a Slave.”

This week’s TDQ Q&A is with filmmaker Paulina Lagudi. Paulina spoke to us about her production company, Jax Productions, her latest movie, “Mail Order Monster” and who influenced her as a filmmaker. Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A with Paulina Lagudi: 

The Daily Quarterly: Who was your favorite filmmaker growing up?

PL: It’s hard to say who my favorite filmmaker growing up was. I had favorite actors when I was a kid, but I think the filmmaker that really influenced me when I was in college was Steve McQueen…the director not the actor.

TDQ: What was your favorite movie growing up?

PL: My favorite movie growing up was “Life is Beautiful” (La Vita è Bella) by Roberto Benign. I saw that film at a really young age, and it truly impacted me forever. It was a lesson on storytelling I didn’t quite understand until I got older. The use of comedy was such a brilliant device in those horrific circumstances in order to protect the innocence of a child.

TDQ: What made you decide to become a filmmaker?

PL: Cooper Ulrich, my fiancé, was the one that told me I could and should do this. But I’ve always had a fascination with storytelling and human psychology. I think filmmaking ended up being just a natural outlet for this fascination.

TDQ: Who are your influences?

PL: I have so many influences. My family and the world we live in are my influences for stories, but the storytellers I’m influenced and inspired by are: Steve McQueen, Guillermo Del Toro, Denis Villeneuve, Antonio Campos.

TDQ: What is the best advice you have ever gotten?

PL: Say little. Do much.

TDQ: What is the worst advice you have ever gotten?

PL: Oh geez, this list is too long. Before production of “Mail Order Monster”, a PR guy told me that ‘the female filmmaker thing is dead and I shouldn’t use that as part of advertising my film.’

Paulina Lagudi - Mail Order Monster

In Paulina Lagudi’s film Mail Order Monster a young girl enlists the help of a monster she orders through the mail to help her through some tough times. You can probably find a monster on Amazon if you looked hard enough but you could just buy or rent Mail Order Monster and probably save yourself from some messy high jinks to clean up after.

TDQ: Tell us about your latest movie, “Mail Order Monster”

PL: The log line for the film is “A girl seeks help and guidance from a robot monster to cope with the bullies at school and her father’s new girlfriend.” It’s a family, sci-fi, adventure drama that is loosely based on my own life. My stepmother came into my life when I was about 13 and my siblings and I grew up with a single dad for a long time. It’s a true indie and I really hope audiences enjoy the “indie-ness” of it as well as the messages in the story.

TDQ: What project are you working on next?

PL: I’ve been doing a lot of writing. Currently been hired to write another feature as well as working on some fun projects of my own both in the branded, commercial space and narrative.

TDQ: Has the entertainment industry become more welcoming to female filmmakers since you started your career, or do you think it is it still just as difficult?

PL: A little bit of both. People are way more willing to get a female filmmaker involved in a project or in the room, but this industry is never easy. We cannot rely on our gender to get us a job. Content standards are higher and with the democratization of the content, the competition pool becomes bigger.

TDQ: Where do you see yourself and Jax Productions in five years?

PL: Hopefully still creating, but on a bigger scale.

Learn more about Paulina and Jax Productions at her website, and be sure and follow her on Instagram