Writer and director Pippa Bianco premiered her first feature-length film, Share, at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival after adapting it from her popular 2015 short by the same name. Bianco fearlessly tells stories she believes “have real moral concern,” stories full of questions she admits she doesn’t always have the answer to. On top of the success of Share, she’s also directed a documentary short on conceptual artist Barbara Kruger and debuted a film portrait of Kruger at LACMA in collaboration with Nicolas Jaar.
Among other prizes, your short film Share (2015) won Cinéfondation’s First Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. What were the biggest challenges in adapting it into a feature-length film for its Sundance Film Festival premiere?
Honestly fatigue. For me, filmmaking requires a certain level of monogamy (I envy artists who don’t work that way) and falling in love with one idea, and staying in love with it as you both evolve over time takes work and reinvention and devotion. But to me, that’s the only way I can to get to the meat or the heart of what’s really good about an idea. It’s easy for me to fall in love with a new idea—every new idea feels perfect—it’s when you dig in that you find the flaws and hardships and challenges, and that’s the moment that it’s very tempting for me to want to give up or bail to another new seemingly easier thing, but it’s actually those flaws that are the best part, if you sit with it.
Video leaks, cloud hacks, and revenge porn constantly circulate on the internet—anyone, like Mandy in Share, can have the most intimate aspects of their lives (consensual or not) broadcast to millions in an instant. How do you think this kind of vulnerability shapes our culture?
You know, maybe I’m naive, but I’m not in a panic about privacy loss on a person-to-person level, because I don’t think it’s that new in certain ways. I think we need to legislate the parts that are new as fast as we can... but I think even those crimes are not that new and should have been given a better legal framework a long time ago. Basil Dearden’s Victim from 1961 is a beautiful exploration of how those kinds of crimes affected the queer community more than half a century ago.
What is it about Barbara Kruger that made her a particularly resonant subject for your documentary about her work, Picturing Barbara Kruger?
To me so much of Barbara Kruger’s work is about looking, about being seen, about media-making and reference, and power structures and structures of meaning and reinvention—and to me it all feels in service of deconstructing the way we receive ideas so we can better observe ourselves and the way we behave (and then maybe do something about it). I think these are themes that I think about a lot, and I am deeply inspired by the ethics and humanism I find in her work.
Photographer: Carlos Serrao at Beauty and Photo.
Hair: Sheridan Ward using Orbie at Cloutier Remix.
Makeup: Kristin Hilton using Hourglass Cosmetics at The Wall Group.
Manicurist: Merrick Fisher using Chanel Le Vernis at Opus Beauty.
Photographed at Hubble Studio
Producer: Amy Ground.
Production Coordinator: Thalita Mangin.
Lighting Director: Ron Loepp.
Digital Tech: Damon Loble.
Cinematographer: Monica May.
Sound Design: Mey Chen.
Illustrator/ Collage Artist: Alice Isaac.
Assistant: Jacob Khan.
Grips: John Brunhold And Brian Beverly.
Electricians: Garrett Lara And Ernie Rosas.
Prop Designer: James Lear.
Prop Assistant: Wyndam Garnett.
Location: Hubble Studio, Los Angeles.
Post Production Stills: Rare Digital.