Friday, May 16, 2014

Kaitlin Puccio (LS/CAS '10) Brings Philosophy to Filmmaking

Kaitlin at the screening of “Circles” at
AMC Theatre, WorldFest-Houston
Kaitlin Puccio (LS/CAS ’10) caught the entertainment bug early in her life, but she never limited her pursuits to just one. Since she wrapped her debut short film, Circles, last October, she has been receiving awards and praise for her quadruple role as writer, director, lead actress, and producer. The film, which follows a young woman through the disorienting aftermath of a tragic loss, won awards at Golden Egg Film Festival L.A. and WorldFest-Houston, was named an Official Selection of Hoboken International Film Festival, and has been accepted to Cannes Court Métrage. Puccio took a break from the film festival circuit to explain how her Liberal Studies education, Philosophy degree, and French/Creative Writing double minor led her to the red carpet she walks today.

How did your liberal arts education prepare you for work in film? 

I graduated high school a year early and started commuting a few days a week to New York City to study acting. After a year of training in New York, I enrolled in NYU’s Liberal Studies, where I was exposed to coursework in philosophy that really resonated with me. Ultimately I majored in Philosophy. But I would leave class with so many questions that lacked clear answers. The script for Circles was borne from this; writing it allowed me to explore deep questions about despair from a distance: through the character’s story. Though I didn’t study filmmaking in a formal context, I thought a background in philosophy would allow me to approach filmmaking from a new perspective.

How did you balance the roles of writer, producer, director, and actor in this film? 

I knew it would be a challenge. The hardest part was compartmentalizing each role; I would have to restrain myself from carrying my role as director into a scene that I was filming as actress. But I also knew that being involved in all aspects of the film would allow them to improve on each other.

What has been the most gratifying about completing your first film? 

I am a huge fan of learning, and this has been such a learning experience—between reading stacks of filmmaking books and watching my team work. Even the process of just attending film festivals has taught me a lot. But the small things have been gratifying, too. One evening, during pre-production, I ate a great dinner at La Sirène in SoHo. I sought out the owner to compliment him, spoke with him in French, and ended up getting his permission to film at his restaurant. Because my film was self-funded, this, along with all the filming locations that I secured for no charge, was a huge victory.

What keeps you busy when you’re not promoting Circles

In 2013, I formed Bent Frame, LLC, a production and publishing company, to house all of my creative pursuits and—in the future—other people’s work. But I’ve always been, first and foremost, a writer. Right now, I am writing a feature-length script as well as researching and writing for a financial journalist. I also write gluten-free lifestyle content under a pseudonym, Celia Kaye, and I am currently filming a video series based on my short, philosophical fiction featured on Philosopagus.com, a website that I created.

Do you have a favorite movie? 

Right now I am a big fan of The Broken Circle Breakdown, an Oscar-nominated Belgian film that I saw at The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.

Describe yourself in three words. 

Writer. Director. Producer.


Learn more about Circles:
View the press kit
• Watch the trailer:

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