Patricia Gloum Is A Badass Director and Filmmaker

We got down to the nitty gritty about non-linear forms of storytelling, messing with traditional female stereotypes and unreleased projects.

Patricia Gloum! Patricia Gloum is far from conventional. Her chic, surreal taste for topsy turvy storylines, enchanting aesthetics and savvy scriptwriting reveals a wonderfully weird world that is all her own. Based in New York City, born in Boston, raised in Paris with Greek and Spanish roots, Gloum’s work feels like a lovely mishmash of many different ethereal urban influences. Her early-on passion and vision with film gradually manifested into her award-winning accomplishments in film.

How did you first get into film?
F​ilm​ has always been a passion. I would always film myself and my best friend doing funny jokes around the cities. Then we started applying to online commercial competitions where you get to do a Campbell Soup commercial for example, and you could win $10,000 and go to Kathmandu Film Festival! That made us dream big. We started doing that while I was finishing my studies, around 22. In the process, I learned all about the process of making a video: from writing/drawing a storyboard (I wish I could find our first storyboard!), to a shot list, to making props for the film, filming the scenes then learning on the go how to edit them with Final Cut Pro (now I only use Premiere Pro). My brother is a musician and would be the one doing the sounds. We were a perfect team!

Can you name some of your creative influences past and present?
Back in the day, I really loved the work of Nabil Elderkin and Youri Ancarani. I discovered Alma Harel and Nadia Lee Cohen’s work and fell in love with their creative minds. BRTHR is also a duo that impresses me, because they love VFX and non-linear editing as much as I do, but they are on another level than me!

I also find creative influences in general artists. Anish Kapoor, to name a modern one, loves playing with perspective and making you see/feel the world in a different than usual. Simon Hantai for his color palettes as well as Rothko and Chagall.

The choices in your films feel very artistic and deliberate. From the barrage of colors and patterns to the words and music, everything fits perfectly. What is most important to your point of view?
It pleases me so much that you say that! I pay extreme attention to the feeling of music, to the beats, to the melody stops and color palettes. I don’t know if this is something I focus on or aim for (since it’s also important with the storytelling, even in the abstract forms) but rhythm of music paired with editing is something I feel very very close to.

You did this awesome 3D music video visual for a band that never came to exist. What was that like? Is it ever frustrating when things don’t pan out?
It could be frustrating, and it normally should be. But I have been disappointed so many times with expectations for projects that never came to be due to fake promises, so basically I became immune to it in a way haha.

But in this case, I am happy that I finished a piece where I am quite pleased with the outcome. It’s actually pretty rare that I very much like the end product. I also feel happy about that project because I did it in collaboration with an awesome girl from Japan named Manami; we met through Instagram because she Vjays full time and I do that as a passion as well. And that lead to this beautiful collaboration. So I’m grateful for that.

How hands-on are you with the process from start to finish?
I am very hands on with it. At first, I used to film everything with my Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7s II camera. I usually edit all my stuff. When I get budgets, I love collaborating with DP’s and editors. And yes, I do write all my stuff. I would say I write more conceptually and when it’s a story I like to co-write with real writers so I get the English right and the opportunity to collaborate.

I believe in sharing passion, and making projects with many different collaborators. That fulfills me the most. I hated my completely solo projects when I arrived in NYC four years ago. It was tough because I had to do everything myself! but now I have more people that want to collaborate with me – it’s a great feeling!

This is a semi-premiere: can you explain the idea behind the Pluto Housewife idea? It’s awesome!

Thanks! It’s basically a satire about the ideal woman being portrayed in today’s ‘reality TV’. The popularity of reality TV has probably unintentionally influenced people’s expectations of women. The protagonist in the film is this seemingly beautiful woman with a perfect physique. You would assume and categorize her as a ‘perfect 10’ without knowing the fact that she is indeed an alien from a completely different world, Pluto. Through the film, she is being taught to behave appropriately in order to fit into today’s expectation. The intention is to leave audiences wondering if their goal is to become a perfect 10 or if they just want to learn the expectations and the rules in order to be free to be yourself and feel completely comfortable and confident.

You feature a lot of women and femininity in many different iterations in your films. Is this a conscious choice?
It is not on purpose at all! I go with the flow in terms of projects. But I would say it’s a way of showing, in a comical way, how I feel the pressure on us. I feel we follow an unconscious protocol to be more this or more that – that makes me unhappy. But it takes time to change mentalities in how women are perceived and how we should act.

You favor non-linear forms of storytelling. What does this mean?
It means I don’t like to follow the rules of cinema in order for my films to be understood by others. I appeal to the audience’s senses, both visual and auditory. I like to use effects to push for the meaning beyond a simple medium shot; well orchestrated, with good action, good set design. I like to challenge the human eye to see different things in one shot. And I always pass messages, even when the viewer thinks it’s an abstract piece.

What about the ‘Goddess of Spring’ video? Super impactful.

Spring is the season of new beginnings. The extended daylight, rising temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna. The earth seems to come to life again. Meanwhile, it is a season where hope, love, youth, and growth are frequently referred to as seasonal symbolism; celebrating the spring awakening through a portrait of the feminine woman figure. Her movement, her touches, her intention and her nonverbal communication.

The truth is, we believe everyone could use some hope and emotional booster after a long and brutal winter. A reminder that Spring is right around the corner and is eager to embrace everyone with newness and hope. ‘Goddess of Spring’ is a sensorial experience. My dream with that piece is to screen it in a white room with the four walls being projected with the film and a big sound system that will make the music travel from corner to corner.

How do you choose your projects? What draws you to a concept or an idea?
Every scenario is so different. I wanted to get closer to fashion, which is why I have been doing fashion films lately. I actually like commercials because they have budgets and you can properly do your job as a director and that’s nice. I love art, I use the rest of my videos to turn it into Vjay moving art pieces. Music videos are nice too because you can get very creative in it. I love documentaries as well and I have a big personal project for that, but I am not ready for it yet. It will take years haha.

What generally draws me to a concept or idea is my surroundings, the culture I am currently involved with… I can only imagine if I go live on a remote island with enough electricity to charge my camera batteries and computer, I am sure I would be making totally different films!

What’s the most important thing for a director to keep in mind when on a set or in a creative meeting?
To keep a very calm mind, organize your thoughts when so much is going on and your attention is needed for ten different matters on set. And in a creative meeting, I would say listen carefully to what the client wants and try to find a balance with that and your own taste.

What was the journey like, getting to this point? Was there ever a time when you doubted your vision?
Yes, for sure. Not at the beginning though, because it was for fun and I was doing it with my friends. As I started liking it more and more, I realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life.

The challenge came because I ended up changing careers when I was already 26-27, alone in America, juggling between freelance projects, building myself a completely new life. But I promised to myself I would make 7 videos that year (in 2016). At the end of that year, while making my first reel I realized I made 11 videos, exceeding what I had said a year ago! I was very proud. I got contacted by some brands to make commercials and music videos and now I am still growing in my career.

I’m not gonna lie, I still have those doubts from time to time when I receive budgets for video work that are ridiculously low for a huge amount of work. But I’m starting to work with production companies and I am building a company to back up creative freelancers and work on creative projects by collaboration process.

Any advice for girls or women who want to get into the film industry?
It may sound cheesy, but if you truly feel a passion for moving images, just do it, do it, do it until people start respecting your craft. Don’t be scared of bad projects, be proud when you finish them (it’s so easy to start a project and leave it in the middle), and if you are starting don’t be scared of being the writer, DP, editor, sound engineer and PR. 10 jobs in 1 is how you start. Or, I would suggest starting as a production assistant on sets and try to get knowledge from the bigs sets out there. Then you bring that home and you do it by yourself or with the contacts you managed to get!

Thanks so much, Patricia!