Hollywood on the Hudson with Film Director, Starla Bolle
Sixteen-year-old Starla Bolle is an actress and director, who, though still enrolled in high school, has credits including And I Quote, Mean With Envy, and TK630 – A Star Wars Fan Film. A multi-year alumna of the Woodstock Film Festival’s Summer Youth Film Lab, her latest project, Quarantine Superhero, will have its New York Premiere at the 2021 Festival as part of a series of Teen Short Films.
To wrap up our Hollywood on the Hudson series, we sat down with Woodstock’s own Starla Bolle and Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Meira Blaustein, to discuss her film-based plans for a college application essay, being inspired by emerging female filmmakers, and how growing up and attending school in the Hudson Valley has influenced her love of film.
Read the Full Interview Below
HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON
With Starla Bolle, Film Director
Hosted by Meira Blaustein, Co-Founder, Executive & Artistic Director Woodstock Film Festival
Meira Blaustein: So, you’re a young filmmaker. Can you tell me at what age did you discover that you wanted to make films? And was there an event or person or place that inspired you to get into filmmaking?
Starla Bolle: Well, I mean, it’s funny, from a very young age, I was into musical theater for a long time, I was doing acting camps and stuff like that. And I just really enjoyed being on stage and performing. But I was never very good at dancing or, singing or anything. And then, a couple of summers ago, my parents approached me and they were like, hey, the Woodstock Film Festival is doing a Youth Film Lab. It’s free. Why not sign up, and I looked into it. And I was like, Wow, this looks really, really cool. And so I ended up doing it. And it taught me so much stuff, I didn’t know the first thing about filmmaking before I got there. And then after that, I was just I was so inspired I was like, wow, this is so cool. And after that, I was talking to my guidance counselor, and she said that we had a filmmaking program at our school. And so I started doing that. And it just really fostered my love of the whole process. And I just really got into it. And I haven’t really stopped since.
Meira Blaustein: And now you have a new film that you made during the pandemic that is going to show at the Woodstock Film Festival. Can you tell us a little bit about the film?
Starla Bolle: Yeah, okay. So it’s called Quarantine Superhero. And the basic premise is that there’s a superhero and supervillain and they meet up and they realize that they can’t fight each other because of social distancing. The whole thing is that they stay six feet apart, and they end up having to actually talk to each other instead of fighting. And that leads to a lot of character development, but also just them having to kind of realize, oh, we’re not just two-dimensional characters, that’s weird. And so yeah, it was really cool. I made it originally for school. But now I’m just, you know, I’m very excited that’s gonna be in the Woodstock Film Festival.
Meira Blaustein: So are we in the age of TikTok, and Instagram, and all those digital promotional entities and promotional content, and with you being as young as you are – how do you plan to promote your film, and is anybody else in your community promoting it?
Starla Bolle: It’s funny, I’m one of the only friends in my friend group that’s not super active on social media. I mean, I am because I’m a teenager, and we’re all addicted to it. But I pretty much have already started to promote the film on my Instagram, which is basically my main social media outlet. My friends are also really awesome – we come together and have watch parties every time I make a new film, and they’re all really supportive. As is my boyfriend who was my co-star – he also promoted his Instagram. My friends like to do shout-outs and stuff like that. But I think the main really promotional people are my parents. They have the biggest social media and they have the biggest reach. They’ve been really supportive and just constantly posting about me and my films and stuff.
Meira Blaustein: It’s so wonderful. I know that you are both behind the camera and in front of the camera: you’re a writer, director, producer, actor. Can you talk a little bit about what you feel is the field that resonates the most?
Starla Bolle: I originally thought that I wanted to be an actor as I was really passionate about acting, and I still am, I really enjoy it. But working behind the scenes and really discovering all the different parts of filmmaking after making my own movies, where I’m the one that’s doing everything, I’ve discovered that I really, really enjoyed directing and screenwriting: those are the two things that just I find so much joy in. For directing, I don’t know why I just come to life. It’s really great to just see all of my ideas just come to fruition right in front of my eyes. And for screenwriting, that’s where I get to put those ideas on paper. And for some reason, it’s pretty great for me – I’ll have an idea and write down exactly what I want. And then as a director, I bring it to life. And it’s something I’m very, very really passionate about.
Meira Blaustein: Which filmmakers do you look up to, specifically ones that are both behind and in front of the camera?
Starla Bolle: I’m really inspired by the amount of female filmmakers that have started to emerge. In the past, there’s been so much stuff that’s just fully male-driven. And, you know, that’s fine. That’s great. I love Quentin Tarantino and Charlie Kauffman and all that – I love male filmmakers. But it’s just so inspiring to see this new wave of female filmmakers that are just really making such a dent in the industry. And I’d really like to follow in their footsteps.
Meira Blaustein: Do you have a favorite genre of films? And if so, what kind of film would you like to make?
Starla Bolle: It’s funny, the thing that I get inspired most by are films that make fun of other genres. For some reason, just the thought of taking all the classic things and ripping them apart or from creating new ones, that’s kind of the basis of most films – everything’s been done before, you have to put your new twist on it. And for that reason, comedy really inspires me because comedy is the loosest genre that has the most included in it, at least for me. So I tend to incorporate at least a little bit of comedy into most of my films. But recently, I’ve been getting a lot more into drama and horror type of stuff, which is pretty interesting. I used to be terrified of horror movies, and I would stay as far away as possible. But now I’m getting drawn to the genre. So who knows what my next film might be.
Meira Blaustein: So, you are 16 years old…you’re beginning to think about college, I suppose?
Starla Bolle: Yeah, I’m actually going to graduate a year early. So next year was supposed to be my junior year, but it’s actually going to be my senior year, which is really exciting, but also really scary. I haven’t been to school in a year because of quarantine, I had to stay home, which was one of the reasons that I ended up making the film that I did because I had a lot more time at home and a lot more time to think about my film. Because I’m going to be a senior next year, I’ve been looking into colleges more than I thought I would be – I wasn’t even thinking about college last year. The thing that I want to make next, I want it to be the thing that I can show to really represent me. And so I was thinking about making a five-minute short for college applications. I still might. Or I may wait for some super inspiration during the school year, maybe I can take my senior year and form it into something in a film that really emanates, you know. And so I’m really looking for something to inspire me I want to make a film that really represents me as a filmmaker for when I go to college.
Meira Blaustein: Living and growing up in the Hudson Valley means you must have community of friends. Do you take any inspiration from them?
Starla Bolle: Oh absolutely! The film that I made before this one, the one that I made in my second year of the Woodstock Film Festival Youth Film Lab – I ended up drafting a lot of my friends and I filmed right out there in the preserve, and it was incredible. It was an amazing location to shoot, and it was a beautiful film. It was hot, so hot, and everyone was kind of miserable while we were shooting it, but the final result was so amazing and it was really worth it. And yeah, just being out here in nature and with all of my friends, it’s just so inspiring, especially because we have such a strong film program at my school, which is really incredible. There are so many people that are really into film because a lot of people start taking it as like an “Easy A” type of class and then realize, oh my god, this is like really cool. And so it’s really inspiring to be around all these people that care about film as much as I do.
Meira Blaustein: Sounds perfect to me. Good luck.
Starla Bolle: Thank you.
The 22nd Annual Woodstock Film Festival starts tomorrow September 29 and runs through October 3, 2021.
Enjoy in-person screenings, panels, and other special events! Tickets are still available!