Nina Menkes on Making 'Dissolution' and Bringing Her Films to a Wider Audience

recommended image width: 1088px

A still from Nina Menkes's 2007 film 'Phantom Love.'

I'm not sure, but I think I’m one of very few women on this planet who writes, directs, shoots, and edits her own films. They’re very personal, eccentric, dark, and beautiful features, and all on 35mm (though Dissolution was in fact shot on HD). I was also among the first women to present a feature in the dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival with my 1990 film Queen of Diamonds. Since then, I’ve gone on to make six features, one featurette, and a short.

The films all work together in a stream, as one piece, creating the saga of a voyage into the deepest darkness imaginable (The Bloody Child) and back out (Phantom Love), with a stop in between for an experimental documentary shot in Beirut, Lebanon, about the Sabra and Shatilla massacre (Massaker). And then there is my latest feature, Dissolution, a Hebrew-language drama created in Israel and based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment but set in contemporary Tel Aviv.

Although my films have shown widely in major film fests on a regular basis (including four times at Sundance), most people have not actually seen my work! They may have heard of it, or viewed stills, but the actual viewing experience on the big screen is hard to come by.

Many years ago—in 1998, I believe—I got a phone call from a guy in Arizona who had seen some of my films, thought they were deeply worthwhile, and wanted to interview me. “You’ve hardly been interviewed—people don’t know your work!” He was starting his own magazine, Cinemad, with the aim to bring strange but amazing and largely underground filmmakers into the public eye. I agreed, at once, and a still of my sister/actress Tinka Menkes was on the cover of the first edition of Cinemad.

That interview began a long friendship between myself and Mike Plante—who has meanwhile become a well-known personality in the independent film world, including doing programming for Sundance and many other fests around the world. He most recently expanded his activities to include the distribution arm, Cinemad Presents.

So when Mike called and suggested we work together to get all my films out into the world via his distribution plan, I naturally said yes. We’re hoping that some of you out there will be willing to help us with costs of posters, ads, and all that good stuff we need and can’t afford, because after 25+ years of filmmaking, I’m still in the starving-artist category, more or less.

We have lots of fun “rewards” to share in exchange for supporting this effort, so check us out, and know that your participation will be felt in the heart and soul on many levels. Please visit our Kickstarter page to learn more about our efforts to release Dissolution and my other films in theatres and how to donate.

Meanwhile, wishing all of us continued courage and creativity.


Lead photo:

A still from Nina Menkes's 2007 film 'Phantom Love.'