Today we’d like to introduce you to Caroline Iaffaldano.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Caroline. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My life feels like it has been a collection of serendipitous moments that have led me down the creative path to eventually find my calling in film direction. I grew up constantly painting and designing and so when I went to college it was actually for art and fashion. Quickly after getting to college in New York I found my interest for fashion dwindling and my interest in human rights growing. I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort but couldn’t really place how I could honor my soul desires and my desire to be involved in social change. And then, I luckily was placed in a class called Human Rights and Film- and the rest was history.
But really, after that course, I knew that I could feed my creativity while supporting a social cause, whatever that might be, through film. So, I moved back to my home of Los Angeles and started pursuing film.
After really diving deep into myself and exploring who I am as a person I was able to find a voice I resonate with and think embodies my essence. However, it took me a while to find this voice and I really think it is because so many films I watched as a viewer were created through a male lens. While I loved the movies I was watching, it largely felt like I couldn’t relate to them or I couldn’t see myself making similar work. For a long period of time I had to actually take a step back from watching movies so I could understand what I liked as a person and not just as a director. And through this period of self-reflection and self-exploration I found myself going back to my original love for style and design.
So as a female film director I really like to combine absurdity and extravagance in style with authentic experiences and grounded performances. As a woman, it is important that I make films that insert a female point of view and tell stories that unravel certain societal standards applied to women.
Camp is a genre that is of high interest to me due to its political and gendered nature, so I like to combine the extravagant nature of camp with real moments and real stories of women. Everything in the frame should be purposeful and visually stimulating. The contrast of high style with authentic performances in my films make for a truly unique, fun and poignant film that is always driven by a strong female point of view.
Has it been a smooth road?
There are struggles in every journey we choose to take and nothing ever seems to be a smooth road, but I think the creative path is one that involves a lot of self-doubt and that can be incredibly taxing. When you spend so many months and so many resources on a project that involves other people you really want the project to succeed and convey your message. It can be very difficult to be easy on yourself when you are creating something vulnerable that embodies who you are and it can be very difficult to not hold onto perfectionism when creating. But when I have been able to truly let go of these fears and doubts, I have learned the most important lessons of my life.
A personal challenge I have gone through is the constant doubt and worry that this may not work out or that maybe I have chosen the wrong path and I should have done something safer, but nothing compares to the feeling of looking at a project that you worked on with so many people you now have some sort of deep soul tie to and thinking, “Wow I am proud of this.”
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Hopefully a lot will change. We have seen so many problems and issues with the power structures that exist in film, and I think the world is craving change on and off screen. We no longer want to see movies about the same characters or same storylines anymore and people want to see authenticity. I hope this translates through representation, not only with actors in front of camera, but also with opportunities for directors. Allowing space and room for more voices to be heard will elevate the films we are watching and hopefully allow the viewers to feel more deeply seen. That is what film is all about really: to feel seen, understood, and heard. So with that in mind we need to stop making films specifically for one audience by one type of director and listen to other voices.