Micro Interview: Doree Simon
In In Her Shoes: India, the 17-year-old daughter of a sex worker attempts to transcend her circumstances and help her community along the way.
Film Pittsburgh speaks with director Doree Simon about filmmaking, creating something unique, and Pittsburgh as a perfectly-sized city.
Film Pittsburgh: If “In Her Shoes: India” were the offspring of two other films, who are its parents?
Doree Simon: I would say Born into Brothels and an episode of VICE. The subjects were quite literally ‘born into brothels’ and just like in that film, In Her Shoes focuses on the relatable and endearing qualities of the girls (of which there are many) while bridging the gap between our subjects and our viewers through the host.
FP: What do you find unique about working in short film?
DS: Shorts are simply more digestible than features in today’s media climate. As a filmmaker, you have to learn how to tell a story concisely, without rushing, and still find moments for your audience to sink into. It can be a challenge but knowing that you will likely reach more viewers because of the short length is motivation.
FP: Any wisdom for aspiring filmmakers?
DS: Piggybacking on question #2, I would like to encourage up-and-coming filmmakers to do their best to make films without worrying about whether people will stick around for more than three seconds. I’m personally tired of seeing videos with banger shots in the first few seconds followed by absolutely no story. You’re competing for viewers’ attention, yes, and perhaps your film won’t perform well on certain platforms. That’s wonderful! You’re creating something unique — run with it. Tell the stories you care about — that passion will come across in your work and lead to a home for your project.
FP: What upcoming projects are you working on?
DS: I am working on a film about addiction. I lost my brother to an overdose in January of 2016 and am creating a story that pieces together real media of him, as well as stories about him, to tell his story and combat the stigma that people with substance use disorders face. I also intend on creating a scripted feature of his story after this short.
FP: What is your favorite thing about Pittsburgh?
DS: Aside from the fact that my family lives here, I believe that Pittsburgh is the perfect size. I’ve traveled a lot and lived in many places, and I really think it’s a wonderful size for a home base. It’s small enough to grow in and large enough to have things to grow into (if that’s what you’re looking for).