It’s been a couple weeks since I first watched Poser, the acclaimed new psychodrama that has been making local music lovers nerd out for most of the recent past in Columbus. I’ve had a decent amount of time to think on the film and subsequent interview with a couple of the guys behind it.
After listening back to the interview, I can say I feel a bit of kinship with these guys. They mentioned being a part of the music scene in spite of not being in a band, and that’s a feeling I’ve chased and felt too. And something I’m thinking about more deeply after watching Poser.
It was striking to me how humble Noah Dixon and Ori Segev of Loose Films were. In a Tuesday evening Zoom interview, Ori was beaming as he relayed his excitement over the film, and even a year after the screening of Poser at Tribeca Film Festival, both guys seemed kind of incredulous to be in the position they now find themselves in – on the cusp of what appears to be a slow burn momentum of a grass roots love letter to the Columbus scene, wrapped up in an aura of eerie familiarity and unsettlement. Early on in the interview, I mentioned how from the outside looking in I had this awareness of Loose Films being a local shop for high quality music videos, and then some time passes and all the sudden Poser is everywhere. This made Ori crack up. I asked them if they wanted to add any commentary about that interim period.
Noah approached Ori early on with a loose concept of making a movie about the local scene in these locations that were familiar to them, along with just the thought of the word “Poser.” “I was 100% in when I saw that” Ori recalled.
Both filmmakers shared with me their surprise with where they are, and that they didn’t know what to expect. I can honestly relate to that as a someone trying to carve my own path in the entertainment world. “I wanted to prove to ourselves that we could make a movie. That was really our goal, you know? Not much more than that.” Ori mused. They also expressed their surprise at all the different, unexpected elements that come with with being a part of a film festival event like Tribeca. Stuff like getting reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (this was something I learned too!). “The weirdest part of all the reviews was just reading people write about you,” Ori added.
Watching the film, it seems self-evident why Damn the Witch Siren serves as the centerpiece to both the soundtrack and the plot. Noah noted that Bobbi Kitten’s charisma is something Loose Films significantly noted during filming of another music video; she had an acting role in a music video for Cincinnati’s PUBLIC (known for their song “Make You Mine”). Loose Films had already noticed Bobbi’s charisma by that point, but that project sealed the deal as far as their chemistry working together.
The mysterious vibe of the duo made them a natural choice to build a psychodrama around. Without giving away too much of the plot, I’ll say that what some might interpret as a slower start is tied together wonderfully in the final act of the movie. It made me want to go back and re-watch; early on, the novelty of seeing Columbus on the screen hadn’t worn off yet and taking off that lens would help me pick up on Easter eggs that hint at the climax.
While many note Bobbi’s charisma (and rightfully so!), I found her counterpart Z Wolf’s silent onscreen presence to be compelling as well. In a poignant line, Sylvie’s character asks why Z wears a mask all the time, and Bobbi replies “Everyone wears a mask. Maybe Z’s just more honest about it.” I want to see Z’s persona get developed more. And by developed I mean I want the world to wonder what this guy is all about.
Perhaps this is why Poser resonates with me. On some level, we’re all Sylvie Mix’s character Lennon Gates – a misfit trying to find our place in the underground of whatever scene we find ourselves in. We are all capable of surprising ourselves with creativity or the depths to which we’ll stoop to fit in. Lennon’s unassuming, reserved nature is one that is easy to identify with, and also open to interpretation. She might be misunderstood – or is she?
I think its fair to say that Loose Films plans to surprise themselves with creativity as much as they possibly can. When asked if there were any more plans to pay homage to the Columbus scene, they expressed a strong desire to continue doing that! Noah also expressed a fervent desire to continue “working with the people we know we can be successful with,” referring to the robust team of local talent cultivated during the making of Poser. They are committed to Columbus for the long haul, and if it ain’t broke why fix it? “There’s such a special kind of music and art that comes from a city like Columbus,” noted Noah.
As long as I’ve been doing Tuned Up, a traditional interview question of mine has been asking if the interviewee has a mission statement. In response to this question, Ori mentioned “honestly, we’ve tried to come up with one but that’s just not really our vibe to put it in a nice little bow – we just let it be what it is.” This is something I would ask viewers of Poser to do when they watch it. Let it be what it is. And you will get the most out of it. See it in a theater if you can.