Caitlin Pashalek is a small town girl with big ideas – big creative ideas. She is the award winning director of a music video “Waiting for Godot” - a collaboration with musician and “True Blood” actress Janina Gavankar.
The official music video of Gavankar’s single, “Waiting for Godot,” based on the controversial play by written by Samuel Beckett, received awards for the “Best Music Video” and “Best Editing” categories at yesterday’s Los Angeles Cinema Film Festival (LACFF) in Sherman Oaks, California.
Pashalek told me in an interview on Saturday that she “grew up in a Buffalo, Wyoming, which is a 5,000 person town, with no MTV, listening to my sister’s tapes and my parents’ record collection.”
She continued, “I grew up in a constant state of exploration and experimentation but was also culturally isolated being in such a small town. These days I am constantly inventing, concocting, experimenting and coming up with schemes. I suffer from idea overload a lot of the time - both good and bad. I guess I got used to creating my own culture and now I can't stop.”
Pashalek cited photographer Cindy Sherman as a major influence in her work as well as Sandy Skoglund and Andy Warhol and said she is interested in “art created for non-artistic reasons.”
Actually she used the word “obsessed” instead of interested and gave an example - ”like the drawing of a farm I saw as part of an eye test inside a machine at the optometrist.”
She also has a keen interest in vintage advertising. “I have a huge collection old magazines and packaging, and I love to go to antique and junk shops in really small towns looking for oddities. I love classic things, especially things that look like the icon you'd use to represent that thing. I tried to explore that in the ‘Waiting for Godot’ video - putting Janina into looks that served as icons for personality types.”
The talented artist and director lives in Oregon where she works in an animation studio “where everyone is basically a crazy genius and aggressively creative.” She works on stop motion feature films – which has been a “passion” of hers since crossing the work of Brothers Quay and Aardman.
“I find collaboration to be incredibly exciting. That is why I love art, film and animation; there is the capacity to work in isolation, but the possibilities and things that can be accomplished by assembling a group of talented people really scales up the level of what can be achieved.”
I asked Pashalek to share her thoughts with me regarding a film titled “Waiting for Godot” in which there is 72 minutes of blank green screen - some may consider that art while others feel it represents nothing.
She said, “Even though the idea of 72 minutes of green makes me want to stab myself in the face, and you couldn't get me to go see it I think it is conceptually interesting -- but also masterbatory. So even though there may not be a lot of craft there, the intent is there, and that's something.”
That made perfect sense, but it is far from the artistic expression that this small town girl wants to share with the world. "Waiting for Godot" is the perfect example.
Pashalek said, “Janina (her longtime friend) sent me ‘Waiting for Godot.’ I loved it and we started brainstorming concepts.”
The pair assembled a crew which included one of Pashalek’s film school colleagues, Logan Schnieder as Director of Photography, and Pashalek’s husband as editor.
Pashalek said that they then “got the band back together, bought a bunch of flour, rented some studio space and a big mat and found some stunt people.”
From that point on Pashalek’s artistic brilliance was employed to complete the beautiful, award winning audio and visual masterpiece “Waiting for Godot.”
Pashalek, who bubbles over with enthusiasm, said, “I'd love to work on more music videos, I really enjoy the collaboration.”
“I’m always making art and Janina and I are always plotting. Hopefully she (Janina) will find time in her schedule to keep making music so we can keep making videos for it,” she said.
We hope so too!
You can find more of Pashalek's work at pashalek.com.