Q&A with Jenny Gage, Director of All This Panic
Q: How did the film come about?
[My husband and I] have always been in narrative film, at a time when narrative was implied when paired with still photography. We knew we didn’t want to plan the film. Ginger and Dusty were so full of chatter, we would see them walking to school and their world seemed so interesting. We knew their parents and asked them if they would mind if we filmed them for a documentary and they said yes. We became like their weird aunt and uncle.
Q: Did social media play any role in the documentary?
The girls had social media separate from what we were doing. We weren’t another form of social media, and they understood that.
Q: How did your personal experiences influence the way you wanted this film to go?
I grew up in Malibu, California, I had a different upbringing than these girls in the city. I grew up in the suburbs so I had to ask for rides everywhere, I was much less independent. But I did pretty much the same things as they do now. They till sit, talk, fight and think about what they want to be when they grow up
Q: The fights between the parents and the daughters, how did those come about? Would they be fighting and you would come over, or would you bring up sensitive topics?
We would send over a list of questions that we wanted to film the girls answering. From there conversations would spring up and we would just start rolling. It’s almost like because [me and the camera] were sitting in the room, the parents would first start. The fight with Ginger and her parents went on for hours. [It was often] really uncomfortable.
Q: Was it difficult to watch the girls go through some of the hardships they faced?
We were very attached to all our subjects. Lena was the most vulnerable and open with us. Her [situation] was complicated. But the thesis was be sympathetic and see [their world] without judgment. There were several times when we would stop filming and just make sure that the girls were okay.
Q: You did a beautiful job of not buying into the typical teenage lifestyle how did you accomplish avoiding that path?
We didn’t want it to be “look at these kids, they’re so crazy, look what they’re doing.”
Q: Did you think about putting men into the film?
It was important it be all women. The girls would always be like “they’re not gonna be in our film right?” Whenever boyfriends and friends were nearby. It was always better to film without men around.
Q: How were the reactions to the film?
The film premiered in Tribeca where most parents saw it for the first time. [The girls] wanted to talk about what they were thinking. They’ve all seen [the film] they all really love it. Beyond the cringe worthiness of their parents seeing it. They were all afraid people might judge them but there was a really positive feedback.
Q: How were the parents responses to the film?
The parents liked it. Ginger’s dad was really into it. Olivia’s dad never liked us when we were filming but when he saw the film he understood what we were doing.
Q: The lens itself seemed to have such a feminine quality to it.
Yes. We really wanted it to be a pro-women film. We wanted a soft beauty and a gently observation.
© Lindsy M. Bissonnette FF2 Media (3/30/17)
Top Picture: Lena receives a phone call.
Middle Photo: Sage in her room.
Bottom Picture: Ginger walking through the city with a cigarette.
Photo Credits: Factory 25