AFROPUNK Cinema Noir: Kiera Please’s “Pretty Bizarre Productions Debuts with the Unsettling Adaptation of Snotgirl
August 9, 2023
In the ever evolving world of arts, there are those geniuses who with who seek to defy and redefine industries with their bold strokes of innovation. It may start small, but those who witness their work will sit up and pay attention. One such individual is our very own favourite, Kiera Please, the multifaceted talent that transcends the limits of any single genre, and has remained a true visionary in the world of creativity through fashion, music, hair & makeup and now in film as the founder of the new production company Pretty Bizarre Productions. Flexing their muscle, Pretty Bizarre Productions’ first short film is the adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung’s comic book, Snotgirl. The film stars Snitchery as the main character Lottie Person, a seemingly flawless; yet severely insecure socialite, who finds herself questioning the intentions of a mysterious new friend. A voice over of her inner monologue accompanied by scattered fragments of elsewhere conversations, put the audience in the physical and mental state of an individual suffering from an allergy-fueled psychosis.
We had a quick sit down with Kiera to talk about her new venture as head of Pretty Bizarre Productions.
AFROPUNK: Congratulations on starting your own film production company! What motivated you to take this step and venture into the world of filmmaking?
Kiera Please: I’ve always loved movies, cartoons, anime, and media entertainment in general. Growing up I used to even make it a mission to watch at least one random movie a night. I was even in a speciality program in school called “TV production.” So the passion was always there, it just took me some time to develop my own identity and take the step to make something for myself to put into the world.
AP: As a successful cosplayer, and content creator, you’ve built a strong career on social media. How does starting a film production company align with your previous work, and what new opportunities does it present for you?
KP: I think social media has led me to a point where I feel comfortable sharing my various creative endeavors and has given me a place where I can showcase those projects to an interactive and caring community, while receiving feedback. At the moment I’m not sure what opportunities it will present for me. I think I’ll find out through this journey, but I’m open and excited for the ride.
AP: Can you tell us more about your first film production, “Snotgirl”? What inspired you to choose this particular project, and what was your experience like as a producer?
KP: Snotgirl is based on the comic of the same name by Bryan Lee O’malley and Leslie Hung. The entire comic is about social media influencers and their triumphs and struggles. I’ve always loved the comic and I thought its storytelling and artwork was beautifully chaotic. It always left me wanting more. Additionally, being that I’m in the internet space, I felt I could translate the story in an authentic way, while keeping it accurate to the source material. I’ve always wanted to see a live adaptation of this work so I thought instead of waiting for someone else to do it, I’m going to create it. The experience was great, tiresome, exhausting, exciting, euphoric, and all the emotions you can think of. I am so grateful to Snitchery and Lea Martinez who were gracious enough to star in it and people like Collin, Elias Ginsberg, Abel Ryan, Vivan Grey, Stella Chu and just everyone who took part. I learned so much from directing and producing this project about what it takes to create a film with a team. From ideation to making that thought real; it truly is like performing magic.
AP: Making the leap from being a cosplayer to a film producer is undoubtedly a significant transition. What challenges did you face during this process, and how did you overcome them?
KP: I think this is just the biggest step and deciding to do it. I’ve procrastinated for years going back and forth when to start, how to start, the best time to start etc. Until one day, I just decided to start and figure it out from there; but the part of convincing myself was probably the hardest because you’re traveling into unknown territories.
AP: How do you envision integrating your new film projects with your existing online presence?
KP: I don’t really think about that. I’m going to create projects that feel intentional, innovative, and weird and put them out. However the internet reacts to them is welcomed. I’m here to highlight interesting stories and hopefully entertain and teach lessons along the way.
AP: As a woman breaking into the film industry, how do you see yourself contributing to the representation and visibility of women in this field?
KP: I think just me being a woman striving in the industry is enough. Having more women paving out groundwork for other women I believe will allow others to see their own passions and potential and hopefully inspire them to take that leap. So thank you Issa Rae and Quinta Brunson for doing that for me.
AP: Building a film production company requires a strong vision and mission. What do you hope to achieve with your company, and what kind of stories do you want to bring to the screen?
KP: Pretty Bizarre Productions was created to showcase the twisted reality of life from a surreal point of view. I want to share offbeat, obscure, but relatable stories that make you question your own reality and stance in the world.
AP: Snotgirl is a very unique film and is bound to garner some attention and interest. Can you share some behind-the-scenes moments or experiences from the production that left a lasting impact on you?
KP: Making a set for the first time was a pretty wild experience. It was really fun coming up with the mood boards, picking our props and furniture, and really just developing and studying the comic books to figure out how to create the perfect room for the main character from scratch. I felt like a kid in arts and crafts class trying to make something from absolutely nothing.
AP: With your diverse background in cosplaying, how do you think your unique perspective and creativity will shape the storytelling and visual aspects of your film projects?
KP: To be honest, I have no idea. I trust the people I put in place to help me develop ideas and their artistic taste. Greatness is made through collaboration. I believe I have a good eye for talent and building all star teams to help build ideas bigger than the individual. As of now, I’m going to trust that intuition and pray it translates to future projects!
AP: How do you balance your time between managing your film production company and staying engaged with your audience on social media platforms?
KP: I think I’ll learn soon enough. Right now I’m just winging it and learning what works and what doesn’t as a go along. I currently just make rough roll out plans, but also follow my gut on what feels right. A mixture of calendar planning and spontaneity!
With Kiera at the helm, “Pretty Bizarre Productions” is set to become a beacon of inspiration for emerging artists and seasoned creators alike. As she embarks on this journey to reshape the artistic landscape, Kiera invites us all to step into a world where the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary, and where the boundaries of creativity are meant to be shattered.
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