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‘For Your Consideration’ director Poppy Gordon on how to make a candy sandwich with bitter medicine inside

On the way to Sundance.

Poppy Gordon’s brave short For Your Consideration is one of the riskiest short films to be found. There have been plenty of films that have made fun of changes in culture, and lampooning Hollywood is as old as film itself. Few things cut as close to the bone as Gordon’s scathing comedy. AIPT spoke with Gordon about angering the wrong people, the role of the comedy, and what her future holds.

AIPT: What was the inspiration behind For Your Consideration?

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Poppy Gordon: I guess just paying attention to the culture that I was surrounded by at the time, and still am, actually. And just cultural observations around me in various sectors. So, from the film festival circuit, to just what I was seeing in Hollywood, to what was happening in advertising, in the art world, across the board, just cultural movements and the various industries’ reactions to our ongoings. So, it just was all immersive, all around me. Inspiration was hitting me from all sides.

AIPT: Was there ever a fear while you were making For Your Consideration?

Poppy: Oh yes, a lot of fear. And I think that was part of the reason why I wanted to make it. Because I knew if I have so much fear about making it that it was my calling to do it. It was very scary for me. I mean, I’ve never made a film and entered it into the festival circuit.

...you shouldn't talk about religion, politics, or hot button issues.

And so, it was really personal, and it was really of me and from me. And I’m putting myself all out there on the line with my thoughts and observations, as well as Aldo and the rest of the team that helped me. But in the end, it’s definitely my name going on it, and I’ve never done anything before. So, it’s my first introduction to this world that ultimately I would like to be a part of. I would like to be embraced by the same world that I’m also poking at, if that makes sense, which isn’t an ideal entry strategy.

Everybody always says that if you want to be a good conversationalist in public, you shouldn’t talk about politics, religion, hot button issues that are very polarizing. And I did feel like this film talked about everything and anything that was a hot button issue.

So, there was definitely a lot of room to piss off wrong person, to not even get into any festivals, not get shown, to get even remembered, not to show me in the future, and just to also piss off audience members or critics. Yeah, to have negative rhetoric get directed at myself in the end as well as my team members.

AIPT: You mentioned that you touched on every hot button issue. Why did you decide to go the comedic route instead of being serious?

'For Your Consideration' director Poppy Gordon on how to make a candy sandwich with bitter medicine inside

Poppy: For various reasons. I was thinking of it a bit of a Trojan horse. I felt like if I come at it in any other way as an total outsider, I’m definitely not going to be let in and heard. It’s like a candy sandwich with a bunch of bitter medicine inside.

And I feel like ultimately people want to be amused and entertained and won over, and I don’t have the credibility as a long-time artist and filmmaker. So, I felt like it was kind of a tongue and cheek way to have the dialogue.

I feel like the role of comedy, the role of the comedian, has been put into question in our society and culture at large. What is okay and what’s not okay? And ultimately, it was a piece that, to me, I was also wanting to preserve what I felt was essential to the genre of comedy and create a piece in defense of comedy.

There was a certain amount of awkwardness that I think every level of woke, every human is going through and experiencing, some folks probably prior to these recent cultural shifts, and other people are possibly new to this kind of let’s call it general awkwardness in regards to these kinds of issues. And I was trying to create, I guess, a bit of a safe space for it to be okay for just that general awkwardness to be acknowledged and for it to have room to breathe.

AIPT: What do you want audiences to take away from the film?

Poppy: There’s no specific takeaway. I feel like if I had a very specific message that was a lesson, I wouldn’t have made a film, necessarily. Because I’m not really into film as this kind of moralizing medium in that sense. I like to just present the facts as I see them from various angles and allow people to create their own takeaway from what I’m laying out there and presenting.

Classism is something that is alive and well.

And I think that’s what this film was about as well for me. It’s just like, f--k, what are you going to do about it at this point? And that’s where I think humor can be a way to call things out, but not necessarily in such a way that needs to involve punitive action and culture or whatnot, but it can perhaps help elevate a certain level of awareness that I do think can’t hurt.

I think one thing that’s not often very talked about is classism. You can talk about gender, you can talk about nationality, sexual orientation, skin color, all of these things. But in the end, sadly, classism is something that is very alive and well. And in the end, I feel like that has something to do also with who gets seen and heard, and who has a seat at the table, and who can even help shape our culture and bring about change. And you can have all these good intentions, but if there is no diversity also in class, there is a bit of a roadblock, I would say, in being able to ever attain true change.

So, if the privileged are always so heard, is there also a bit of a sensitivity chip missing. We saw that a bit with the Oscars and stuff like that. And yeah, it’s a challenge. What I was calling out or talking about a lot was this kind of performative tokenism. And this kind of performative tokenism in these different spaces that largely are connected to higher classes and spheres of privilege.

AIPT: And my final question is you talked about how you want to enter into the film world. What does the future hold for you? More comedies, more commentaries on society, or just something entirely different?

Poppy: I  would say doing something that has some aspect of it that remains within a larger cultural commentary sphere is definitely something I think that is likely because it’s something that seems to come quite naturally to how I function and like to express myself. And I also think that the genre of comedy is something that I really enjoy doing just because life is oftentimes so serious. And so, it is nicer if you’re making something that’s artistic to also do something that has an element of lightheartedness about it.

Watch For Your Consideration here!

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