Director's Cut

There are all kinds of "makers," and those that create things with different mediums, including yarn, have always entranced us. That's why when the distributors of the film "Yarn" contacted us, we were thrilled to give them some information that would help them promote the film currently playing at the IFC (Independent Film Center) here in NYC. We were interested in finding out more about the directors behind the film so we asked for an interview and received the following thoughtful responses to a series of questions. We thought you might be interested in knowing what motivated the creation of this specialized film, so here goes...

Still from the film trailer, which can be found here: vimeo.com/157187105

Still from the film trailer, which can be found here: vimeo.com/157187105

Initially we asked about what prompted a film project concentrating on yarn activities...

The inception of YARN began in the Fall 2012 when the producers and the writer/EP began discussing how traditional ‘home’ activities were becoming trendy, and how knitting seemed to be growing in popularity. Further exploration revealed that both knitting and crochet had become hugely popular activities and included the creation of contemporary art. Upon discovering the artists Tinna, Toshiko, and Olek (all who feature in the film) they realized that these passionate creators had a message to convey.

Our question then turned to the all important question of funding: 

The Icelandic Film Centre supports the development and production of creative documentary films, and the project received both development and production funding. Although hugely helpful, it’s not possible to produce a film alone on the support from national funders, especially on such a global film that travels across 11 different countries and was developed and produced over a 3-4 year period.  Furthering the support from the national funder, they also had the support of the Creative Europe MEDIA Development and Television funds, the Ministry of Industries & Innovation in Iceland (the film tax incentive in Iceland), a Polish co-producer 2M Film Studio, as well as broadcast pre-sales to Iceland (RUV), Sweden (SVT), Slovenia (RTV), Ireland (TG4), Poland (TVP). Without the combined support of all of thefunders, YARN would have been very difficult to produce given that all of the characters are traveling regularly from country to country to spread their messages through yarn.

On the choice of the specific artists that were profiled...

The idea was to include a few people from very different sections of the yarn world and let them and their artwork give the film its voice rather than the filmmakers controlling the overall message in the film. However, with a vast subject like this it was important to have some sort of a "thread" and the film gives more weight to the handmade aspect of yarn, and the feel of it. It is an overview that takes the audience from giant architectural sculptures to wool socks. The used textured animations and writer Barbara Kingsolver´s poem and original music to take the audience on a journey while they traveled the world, following the artists. The work was chosen, and gender was not the issue , thought they feel the film does have a strong feminist voice.

Are any of your creative team actively involved in fiber art, knitting and/or crochet...

The Director grew up surrounded by sheep and wool since she is Icelandic and respects the industry which is such a part of her country. In general, her respect for textiles is deeply embedded since she was "practically raised" in a Textile arts department. Her mother was the head of the Textile department in Iceland for 25 years, She cites memories of walking through the department, smelling the wet wool and the blotting paint and giant gorgeous weaving looms. Therefore, she is in-directly involved although not actively "making" today. They felt that it was important to cover the subject as people from outside the knit and crochet world so as to be able to look inside and explore what is happening in the community.

How did Barbara Kingsolver become involved in the writing and narration?

Barbara is a knitter and also a farmer. In fact, one of the reasons that she was contacted is that she came to Iceland on a literary retreat and the Writer/EP Krishan Arora began to research her further. She soon found out that not only was Barbara connected to knitting and Iceland, but she was also farming Icelandic sheep in the US.  Since very different characters were "introduced" in YARN, Barbara's narration was important to help the overall tone, and gave it the warm and poetic feel that was important.

Any anecdotal information regarding the making or distribution of this film...

At the SXSW Premiere in Austin earlier this year, a group of local yarn enthusiasts came together to yarn bomb the area outside the cinema. It was a fun combination of crochet, knitted letters and some pompoms. Just before the premiere, the city police stopped by and asked for it to be taken down since someone in the neighborhood didn’t like the soft and woolly nature of the guerrilla yarn bomb. Undefeated, the knitted/crocheted goods were transported to a cinema where the film screened on the second night, and was still there by the end of the festival.

The Film "Yarn" will be playing at the IFC through Thursday, June 30.  Screening are held at 2:50PM, 6:30PM and 8:20PM.  For more information, contact the theatre at (212) 924-7771 or go here:  http://www.ifccenter.com/