Friday, November 20, 2020

A Timely (and Gorgeous) Red Riding Hood PSA


Look at this beautiful and timely PSA created by award-winning filmmaker Lisa Stock! 

Lisa is a long time fairy tale friend, whose work we greatly admire, and we are always blown away by the unique use of fairy tales and myth in her work. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us about this wonderful PSA. 

Read on for a wonderful example of how using fairy tales today can be impactful and empowering, and how an artist who truly understands the bones of a fairy tale can re-envision them effectively to be both timeless and relevant today.

Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for answering our questions today. We were so thrilled to see this gorgeous PSA and can't wait to share it and encourage others to do the same.
Thank you for including my PSA on Once Upon a Blog! As numbers rise and holidays approach I wanted to create something that would inspire - a reminder to take care of ourselves and others - not just Covid, but flu, colds and anything else in the air.

Your PSA is so very timely! What was your inspiration?
This has been such a challenging and exhausting year - finding energy to push through a bit longer can be overwhelming. With holidays (and travels) coming, I wanted to create something imaginative - letting Genre take us outside ourselves to reinforce a much-needed message.  We're getting there!

The figure is clearly a Red Riding Hood character while at the same time very contemporary, but also wonderfully artistic. We know you're a long time fairy tale aficionado and have often referenced various tales in all your mediums. Why did "Red in a pandemic" seem appropriate for this project?
Yes!  I've always associated Red with a journey. We've all been on our own journeys this year into the big, bad wood. At the same time - many are traveling more, either to see family for the holidays or going back into the office for a day or two a week. But mostly, Red's a fighter. She takes on the wood and the wolf by using the wisdom her grandmother taught her to persevere. 

We like how instead of giving the DANGER- WARNING!! signals you could have used with a Red Riding Hood character for a fear-inciting PSA, that instead you show her as assertive and unafraid; much more of a "be smart - take back the narrative" message. There are so many ways Red can represent us and, after a lot of negative and fear-based messages in social media, it was, frankly, a relief to see Red representing a bold positive. Was that something you envisioned straight away, or something that developed as you were working?
You said it - her being assertive and looking the viewer in the eye with her mask on, as if to say "No big deal".  Those three guidelines - wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing are small things to ask to help ward off a debilitating illness and keep everyone healthy.

Your model is the perfect contemporary fairy tale figure. How did you find your Red Riding Hood for your shoot?  
That's the wonderful Kayla Klatzkin!! We first met when she auditioned for a part in TITANIA. Those who follow my work will recognize her from the TITANIA Winter Scene (and she'll be in the larger project too). She can morph into any character I give her - it's nice to have a muse like that. She's also appearing as "Glass" in my upcoming experimental take on Cinderella, and will be seen as Dorothy in an Oz-inspired panorama I'm shooting in Dec. It helps that she lives two blocks from me, and is game for anything - but truly, Kayla gets the fantasy world and how to make it seem very natural, this is why I think she pulls it off so well. 

What precautions did you (have to) take for the various aspects of this project?
Thank you for asking. Production was allowed to return to NYC in late July. My pre-production meetings take place over zoom and so far, I've only done outdoor shoots. I wear gloves, a mask, keep my distance, and have plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer. If Kayla can't fix a hair out of place, I'll approach her and she will wear a mask until it's time for the photo - though for the PSA she could keep it on. Kayla did have an indoor shoot later that week and told me they required her to have two negative Covid tests immediately prior to shoot day (the production company scheduled the tests and paid her for that time).  For upcoming larger or indoor shoots - it's testing + one team at a time on set or with the actor. We're making it work!  It's just so great to be back at it!!

We totally get fashion shoot vibes but love how we just want to look as classic, chic (and a little bit badass, boldly and smartly going places) as she does, rather than (just) want the coat and hat. Was that intentional? If so, how did you find that balance?
Yes. We have so many opportunities in mythic/fairytale photography. I certainly appreciate the beautiful dresses and magical locations I see on Instagram, but I always look for/yearn for the story. Just one small element can make your point and move the image from fashion to foretelling. I'm not changing the message - wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance - I'm wrapping it in a mythic skin and giving it a new perspective - one that I hope will catch everyone's eye anew. 

We're loving the homage to Magritte. How did that come about? What made you connect Magritte with Little Red and/or a pandemic? Can you explain a bit about your inspiration in his work? (Ed. - for those who aren't familiar with his paintings, motifs, and location use - I'll put a little reference set of pics at the bottom for folks, as you did for your announcement)
Thank you! I so love Magritte. Once I had the image of her looking straight at the viewer in mind, Magritte's painting "Son of Man" popped into my head. Instead of an apple, it was a mask. Instead of a black bowler hat, it was red - bold, Fall-like colors, changing seasons, change - so many changes this year. But endurance too. I'm a huge Magritte fan and decided to continue the theme throughout the PSA as his symbols lend themselves beautifully to journey and to fairytale. What really inspires me about his work is two-fold: 1. The clean, direct use of symbols and metaphor, and 2. How he places his subjects into their landscapes/roomscapes - they often become one. Anytime I'm creating (film or photograph) I consider how the surrounding environment is also a character or subtext for the story.  To that end - I'll let you and your readers in on a little secret. I purchased the red bowler hat in these images a few years ago for a Magritte inspired project that will one day still happen - hopefully in the next couple of years.  (wink)

For our fairy tale film fans, do you have any fairy tale projects you're currently working on that you'd like us to keep an eye out for? Has the pandemic caused you to consider your work with fairy tales differently? 
Yes to all. Using genre to heighten reality and let each viewer place themselves in the story has become more profound this year. Currently, I'm working on:

  • ASHENSONG - an experimental short film based on Cinderella. Set in the 1970’s and following a photographer as she explores the themes of Glass, Ashes, and Midnight. Ultimately, they will lead her to confront her own demons and voices from the past - and a doppelganger trapped in the woods. Covid has directly hit this production with one of my models being split between NY and Hong Kong. After our initial production meeting in late February, she returned to Hong Kong and hasn't been able to get back to the U.S. Rather than wait for all travel restrictions to lift, I've found a wonderful photographer in Hong Kong who is going to photograph her images for the project there. But I look forward to having us all under the same roof for the film's premiere in 2021!
  • THE TOWN - this is a series of fantastical moving images, or video portraits that highlight the townspeople (and what lies beneath) where Titania exiles herself to heal. TITANIA will be moving forward in a new way - the narrative and the roll out to audiences will be in groundbreaking fractures of art and narrative. I'm very excited about how this will unfold and we'll launch it at a live TITANIA event in NYC in 2021. Then online @TitaniaFilm 
  • FRIDAY NIGHT THEATER & the AMERICANA MYTHIC SERIES - My wonderful patrons on Patreon see everything first and I have quite a few mythic exclusives lined up for them starting this month! I'll be continuing in the style of the PSA by blending genres, artists, ideas to give a slice of Americana, myth and current situations. For instance - once I hit 50 patrons on Patreon I'll be creating a microfilm that mixes the fable of The Scorpion and the Frog with two iconic mid-20th century figures addressing our willingness to trust someone's true nature  - even if harmful. I've assembled a really amazing group of actors, an historical consultant and costume designer and others to help bring these microfilms to life! Come join us - - subscriptions (in which you see all final projects) start at $1.
The PSA is so very eye-catching; beautiful but also very clear in its message. Where can we expect to see it? 
The PSA was done on my own. I'd be delighted to have people share it - I and the PSA can be found on social media @LisaStockFilm.

Thank you so much for your time today Lisa. We hope many people see your PSA and are encouraged to boldly care for themselves and others this Thanksgiving and holiday season.

You heard her folks: go spread the images!
Use Lisa's PSA to encourage and inspire people to live their best - and healthiest - lives.

Lisa Stock is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. Called “a skillful alchemist at work” by Faerie Magazine, her films have been featured in festivals and screenings around the world including London, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Sydney, aired on PBS, and chosen as a Project of the Day on Kickstarter. Lisa’s work combines the spontaneity of myth & magic with the more somber side of reality to paint vibrant portraits of healing and personal truth. (Bio page:

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