Lesbian movie lovers everywhere rejoice! Lost in Time, a new film from Katherine Brooks is on the cinematic horizon.
Katherine "Kat" Brooks is the award-winning filmmaker who created the romantic lesbian favorite Loving Annabelle, the psychological drama Waking Madison and the moving documentary Face 2 Face. As an openly gay director, writer, actor and producer, Katherine develops movies that feature strong lesbian and bisexual characters. And while her characters often face immense challenges and make life-changing decisions, their struggles are never about their sexual orientation. Her films address universally relevant topics like love, trauma and human connection. At the same time, her work is often deeply personal drawing heavily from her own life experience.
Lost in Time is no exception. Inspired by Katherine's own experiences in Thailand during the 2004 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, the film tells the story of Evan White (Kate Gray) who survived the devastating disaster. Traumatized by the tragic event Evan believes that she has died. She seeks help from a talented therapist Dr. Katherine James (Jill Hennessy). Together as they explore what happened to Evan in Thailand, both of their lives are transformed.
I had the opportunity to ask Katherine a few questions about her new movie and her career. She shared her insights on the film, coping with trauma, healing and love without boundaries. The interview follows beneath the trailer.
Want to support Lost in Time? Donate to the production fund.
Delina:So, you have written and directed a new film titled Lost in Time. Can you describe the plot for us?
Katherine:It’s about a woman who experiences a traumatic event and finds help from a psychiatrist for her extreme PTSD. And what happens when she falls in love with her doctor.
Delina:It is common after a disaster for individuals to have survivor’s guilt or PTSD. But it seems that Evan is suffering from a rare illness often called Cotard’s Syndrome, in which the afflicted actually believe that they have died. Can you talk a little bit more about Evan’s character – what was she like before the tsunami and how has the disaster affected her?
Katherine:I think most everyone experiences an event in their life which causes them to “die” or feel as though time has stopped. Before the tsunami, Evan was “alive” and celebrated her life through artistic expression and her connection with other people. When the event happened, everything stopped and she shut down. Her heart was still beating and the seconds of time were still going, but she was just there, not feeling anything, or maybe just feeling betrayed by life. And I think when these things happen to us, it takes us meeting someone that makes us feel alive again. Because love is, in my opinion, what keeps the heart seeking more from life. When we love someone, no matter who they are or what their title is, it brings us back to life, which Evan finds with her shrink.
Delina:Now, this film is inspired by your own experiences. You were actually in Thailand in 2004 when the Tsunami hit. Can you share what happened to you in Thailand?
Katherine:What happened to me, I could never explain with words and even if I could, I honestly feel that no one would believe me. And nothing feels more isolating and scary than to have experienced something in which you feel NO ONE will ever understand you. Because ultimately we need others to believe us. To understand us. So, I felt my only choice in dealing with what happened to me, was to make a film about it. People will believe a movie, if it’s told with truth and sincerity.
Delina:How closely did your experience mirror Evan’s? Did you actually believe that you had died? Or is Evan’s illness in the film more symbolic?
Katherine:Everything Evan experienced, I did as well.
Delina:You filmed some of the scenes in Thailand. Was it hard for you to go back to Thailand after everything that happened there?
Katherine:Someone once told me that the reason your heart breaks is to let more light inside. That’s how it felt being back on that island, heartbreakingly beautiful.
Katherine:She is a fascinating character, my favorite thus far. She has everything she ever wanted and everything she worked so hard for her entire life: a career, a marriage, a child, money. And so she has all the things she always wanted, the things a lot of us want … and yet, something is still missing. But, she doesn’t know what Evan knows. And pretty much tells her. Causing a tsunami for the doctor, played so beautifully by Jill Hennessy.
Delina: We’ve discussed how your life influenced the character, Evan. But I am wondering if there is any significance in the fact that you named the psychiatrist Katherine? Do you see some of yourself in her as well?
Katherine:Um, not really. She is based on a real person. But, then again, everything I write has a little bit of me.
Delina:I may be reading too much into the trailer and clips, but it seems that Lost in Time might deal with a potential romantic relationship between Evan and Katherine. Clearly there are serious professional and legal consequences for therapists who sleep with their patients. An affair with Evan could end Katherine’s career. So is there an attraction between the two characters that complicates their relationship?
Katherine:Oh, you will for sure have to wait and see that in the film. But, I can quote something Evan says in the movie, "LOVE HAS NO BOUNDARIES!"
Delina:This isn’t your first film that explores romantic relationships that push boundaries. In Finding Kate two cousins became romantically involved; Loving Annabelle dealt with a relationship between a teacher and a student. In all of these scenarios, if the characters act on their feelings they take a huge risk. What draws you to these kinds of love stories where there is so much at stake?
Examples in my films: Finding Kate, yes it is two cousins, but they were not blood-related and they had NEVER met before. Loving Annabelle – what if I told you, the reason Annabelle was sent to St. Theresa’s was because she was held back twice and was 18? Would it then be okay?
I believe there are ALWAYS exceptions to these BLACK and WHITE rules we place on everything in life. And I hope my films will challenge people to not be so judgmental and try to sit more in the gray area.
Delina:Mental illness is also a reoccurring theme in your films. It is not a subject most filmmakers are willing to tackle once, much less multiple times. Why is this topic important to you as a filmmaker?
Katherine:schizophrenia or bipolar is treated. It’s awful. Like they have a CHOICE in the matter.Judgment once again. I am so sick of the stigma attached to mental illness. It infuriates me. If you have cancer, people will march in parades all over the world for you, wear ribbons for you, which is GREAT – don’t get me wrong, I’m just using this as an example to contrast how someone with
I was misdiagnosed (which is another BIG problem in the mental health world) and I can’t tell you the JUDGMENT and prejudice I went through for those two years. It was awful. And I will spend my life helping and fighting for people with mental illness. I want to break down the stereotypes associated with mental illness and I hope to do so with my art.
Delina:One thing I have always loved about your films is the music. The right music in a film elevates it to a higher emotional level. And you seem to have a knack for finding the perfect music. What can we expect musically from Lost in Time?
Delina:You financed this movie predominately through crowdfunding and your own personal savings. Why did you want this film to be a totally independent production?
Katherine:I learned the hard way that a lot of “investors” will want to “control” your art and I just can’t do that anymore. I refuse to compromise my art anymore … for anyone. I LOVE crowdfunding because it’s created by my fans FOR my fans.
Delina:Lost in Time is scheduled to hit the film festival circuit starting in late summer. After that, when do you anticipate it will be made available to the public?
Katherine:It will be available around the world in the fall of 2016.
Delina:You have been a filmmaker for over 15 years. How do you feel you have changed as an artist and a director during the course of your career?
Katherine:I use to be very scared of what people thought of my films. I mean it’s my heart and soul – and people can be really mean about your work. Think about it – you share your inner most secretive moment through a character and a story only to have someone say – well that was “boring” or that was “shit” it fucking hurts. And any artist who tells you they don’t care what people say about their work is not working from their soul. We all want to fit in and be liked. It’s part of our DNA. So, I guess now, I’m not as sensitive about it because I realized everyone has different tastes and opinions and it’s not really about me. I make my films now for the people that will understand and really get what I’m trying to say. And that makes me feel so much closer to fans of my work. It makes us family.
Katherine:Don’t think too much of yourself as a woman. You are a director. DIRECT.
Delina:The cinematography in your films is always gorgeous. A lot of filmmakers seem to have strong opinions about whether it is better to shoot on film or digitally. I recall reading that you shot Loving Annabelle on film. Is Lost in Time shot on film as well or did you shoot it digitally? And what made you decide to use one format instead of the other?
Katherine:I shot Loving Annabelle and Waking Madison both on film. I prefer film, always will! But, with only 9 days to shoot an entire feature under $500,000, I just couldn't afford to. So, I made sure that we captured the organic visuals I needed to tell the story.
Delina:I noticed in the trailer there is a stark contrast between the scenes from Thailand, which are intensely colorful and vibrant and the scenes in Dr. James' office which are darker and subdued. Is this a visual representation of the contrast in Evan's mental state from before the disaster and after?
Katherine:Absolutely, it's also a major time difference (for those that believe time exists). I made sure they had a drastically different look. The New Orleans portion was shot by the brilliant cinematographer, Dan Kneece, with a full crew. Thailand was shot by me with one camera, documentary style so you really feel as though you are experiencing Evan's world.
Delina:What’s next for you after you complete Lost in Time? Do you have another project in the works?
Katherine:I’m going to be in front of the camera for a series that will premier in the Fall about building a self-sustainable farm (which is my real life being captured) and after that I will be making a movie about what happened in my town of New Orleans called 1140 Royal Street. But, my main focus will be traveling and meeting people at screenings of Lost In Time!
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