We Are The Art Life: Interview with Megan McGrorty

Welcome back to our column showcasing the art and artists inspired by Twin Peaks, and in some cases other Lynch works. This week I talk to the brilliant filmmaker, Megan McGrorty, about her upcoming Twin Peaks inspired short films, ‘Twin pArts’ her inspiration for the film and working with some of the original Twin Peaks cast!

MH: Hi Megan, thank you for taking the time to speak with me about your upcoming films, shall we start by you telling the readers all about your project?

MG: I’m so honoured that you’ve asked to interview me about our fan film, Twin pArts, which will be released in two parts. Part One will be about 5 minutes in length and is entitled It’s Andy, and Part Two is called The Picnic Portal to the Lodge and will be just under 30 minutes in length. While I wrote the screenplay, also directing and producing it, I call it “our” film because it’s truly a collaborative labour of love with contributions from many diverse artists across several states as well as Italy and Canada, and could not have been possible without the support of some fellow David Lynch devotees along the way.

MH: There are so many Lynch devotees out there, it is great how supportive we are of each other.

MG: Absolutely, the Twin Peaks artistic community is such a wonderful place to exist. I began talking with the women of Candy Bank Films, whose short was featured at last years festival, to get advice on the project and now they are on my all-female production crew for the documentary and I will be meeting up with them  for a week of filming in the Midwest this month.

“Lodge Dweller and Bookhouse Babes” Christian Calloway, Paige Henderson and Marjorie LeWit

MH: You mention working on a documentary too, is that a separate project to the TP film?

MG: Yes it’s a separate idea being produced by McGrorty Art Films called Why She Runs. The project features women running for local, state and federal office and the amazing women who are the key to their success. We will be sharing the stories of what inspired them to run, obstacles they face and answer questions like “Since women candidates win at a slightly higher rate than men, why don’t more women run and what can we do to someday achieve equal representation?” A trailer will be available August 14th, we have an all-female production crew, the Hollywood premier is planned for next Spring as well as screenings being hosted for us in most of the geographical locations we’ve visited.

MH: Wow, that’s very inspiring. How did you find the time for Twin pArts on top of that?

MG: I started making both projects around the same time. Once we had completed the shooting of Twin pArts in May, I then had to focus all of my time on the documentary and shooting that as it’s about the November elections so I need to take advantage of every opportunity that came my way. I originally thought that post production for Twin pArts would be well on its way by now, but it will still be a few months before the first part is ready for an audience.

MH: Anyone who follows you on social media will certainly see how busy you are.  When did you get the idea for making the Twin Peaks tribute?

MG: In the late Fall of 2017 I was cast in A Completely Unauthorised David Lynch Christmas Carol at Defiance Theatre Company in North Hollywood where I am now a member of the company. While I originally was just planning to act, I ended up becoming heavily involved in a number of aspects of the production including costume design and I started to incorporate some live action work by our actors at rehearsals along with the themes in my art videos as promotion for the show. I ended up putting together a 10-minute installation that was shown at the intermission, this is what planted the seed for making a more serious tribute film.

“Lodge Dwellers” Robert Broski, Christian Calloway and Jacques Freydont

MH: Oh I love that, inspired to create one David Lynch tribute whilst working on another. What happened next?

MG: Well, it was around this time I came across the video work of Canadian artist and musician Peter M. Mahahead and we started discussing collaborating on some kind of video project that would explore themes from Twin Peaks. He developed a collaborative concept that we hope other fans will replicate. It will be two companion pieces of about the same length, one being created by him and is already complete which he will post when my part is complete.

MH: I see where the name “Twin pArts” comes from now. Tell us about your first part.

MG: This will be a short film, about 5 minutes in length, called It’s Andy, and it focuses on themes presented in Twin Peaks. Specifically those explored in Season 2, Episode 2. Peter has composed original music as well as a piece of prose that will be part of my video as well. It deals with duality, dreams and doppelgängers. It is meant to be part of the collaborative project with Peter as well as serving as a teaser for the longer, second film to be released which is called Picnic Portal to the Lodge.

“Bookhouse Babe and Lodge Spirit” Tammie Baird and Andrew Bonds

MH: It sounds so fascinating, will it tie into the Twin Peaks story we already know or be more of a side line to that?

MG: Well, the films seek to explore some of the possible happenings in the world of Twin Peaks that have not been revealed to us but live in the imaginations of countless fans and Lynch disciples. It takes a look at some moments in the lives of Laura and her friends leading up to her murder with possible alternative storylines and universes. My hope is that it will allow fans to indulge in their Twin Peaks obsession and take a look at some of the other happenings in town that help explain the mysteries of Twin Peaks and it’s many realms of existence. It also seeks to answer some of the most important questions that fans discuss to no end, but from my personal perspective of course, and shows what I think are possible answers to questions like “Who is Judy? Where does my doppelgänger live? What Power does the Owl Cave ring possess? Where is the Black Lodge? Is there a White Lodge? Can you maintain your true spirt once captured in the Lodge or are you forever changed and trapped?”

MH: I like the idea of you exploring themes that are presented to us within the show, has this always been something important to you with this project?

MG: Yes, I actually wanted to address some concerns I have about Twin Peaks as a feminist. What causes a Lynch character to become a “woman in trouble”? If Lynch’s female characters possessed more agency, how would they behave differently? Would these actions save them? Do women doom themselves? How can female characters save themselves? How can female characters work together to support and “save” one another? How would outcomes for female characters be different if they trusted other women in their lives and followed their advice?

MH: They are such important questions, I look forward to seeing how you address them with this. Will we be seeing original characters or something new?

MG: We introduce some new characters and while some of our characters are tributes to characters in the original series, none are exactly the same and the project is not meant to be a replication or copy of any of the work of David Lynch. We do actually have some of the actors from the series appearing in it, but they aren’t reprising their roles. Audiences will find that Tammie Baird, who played Lorraine in The Return, plays a very different role and it was so much fun getting to see this talented actress in a completely different light as she plays one of our “Bookhouse Babes”.

MH: Wow, that is impressive. Who else can we expect to see on screen?

MG: We have four actors from The Return appearing in the project. The first being Walter Olkewicz, it was a special treat to have him as he was in all three seasons as well as Fire Walk With Me. My dad has passed away now, but we really enjoyed watching Twin Peaks together and Jacques Renault was always his favourite character. My dad appreciated characters who were their own bosses (I guess Ben Horne’s business wasn’t dirty enough to be his fave). I already mentioned Tammie and then we also have Christian Calloway and Robert Broski appearing too. The rest of the cast is made is made up of actors I worked with on “A Completely Unauthorised David Lynch Christmas Carol” or who I met after posting about the film in various Twin Peaks and David Lynch fan forums. Most of the crew is from the SoCal Twin Peaks fan group on Facebook. I also met our two other musical contributors, Lula Wayne and Evangeline through social media and LA Lynch events. I know you have also interviewed Lula who is extremely talented and is working on composing a theme song and has contributed visual art components. There’s also Joe Trupiano, who not only plays a Bookhouse Boy, but is our Director of Photography. All of the people involved, cast and crew, generously volunteered their time for the entire thing as the project is completely self-funded.

“Judy the Lodge Caretaker and Man of the Lodge” Kama Fletcher and Walter Olkewicz

MH: It sounds like you have a huge wealth of talent on this project, when can we expect to see it?

MG: I was planning to submit it to next years TP festival but I think it’s going to be longer than what is allowed. A dear friend of mine, Erin Skipper, who plays “Young Lady of the Log” is going to plan a killer screening party in Los Angeles. I may also play it before screenings for the documentary and plan to try and submit it to a number of festivals in California, New York, Texas, Washington and Oregon. I’ll likely make it available to the public after the festival season and I’m hoping it will help boost funding efforts for my feature development ID which has much of the same cast as Twin pArts. I do have some teasers available on YouTube to tide people over till the release.

MH:  Thank you Megan, it has been wonderful to speak to you and absolutely fascinating to learn more about your intriguing film. I think I can speak for the community when I say we can’t wait to see your film. Good luck with it!

Follow more of Megan’s work at the Megan McGrorty Art website and on Twitter.

For more in this series, please check out: 

We Are The Art Life: Noor Daumier

We Are The Art Life: Gisela Fleischer

We Are The Art Life: Josh Howard Interview

Written by Martin Hearn

Martin Hearn is a Social Media Manager for 25YL who also writes, has a penchant for interviews, watches too much TV, and plays too many video games. He joined the site through his love of Twin Peaks and also has a passion for shows such as The OA, The Crown, American Horror Story, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. His hobbies include insomnia, dancing in secret, and buying too much Twin Peaks merchandise from eBay. Martin lives in Middlesbrough, UK, which is the birthplace of the Parmo (you may want to google that amazingly beautiful delicacy that definitely won't cause a heart attack). He loves spending long weekends binge-watching TV shows with his partner Anthony.

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