Heads or Tails (USA | 2016, 9 min)

Directed by: Eva von Schweinitz

Cast: Nikki Calonge, Lucy Kaminsky

Lilly convinces her best friend René to join her on a nocturnal trespassing adventure.


Interview with Eva Von Schweinitz, conducted by Lucie Guillemot, Super Short Film Curator

Q: Congratulations on being accepted to the NYC Independent Film Festival! Can you tell us about the film and the process of filming it?
Thank you! Heads or Tails is my first narrative short. The film follows two young women who enter a mystical zoo on a nocturnal trespassing adventure that changes their friendship. It was shot in three different parks in New York with and without permits over the course of several short summer nights with a largely female crew, and it was a marvelous adventure of its own. The juiciest stories include interactions with the police who were disturbed by our use of handcuffs, a masturbator in Central Park's cruising zone, shooting in a buzzing mosquito den, and encounters with raccoons, slugs, spiders, and a horde of wild teenagers. We used camping lamps to light our shots, lugged a costume rack over every possible park surface, endured so many bug bites, and nothing would stop us. To this day, I commend my team for their endurance.

Q: Tell us a bit more about your background. What was your film education – where did you study? How is it being a female indie filmmaker?
I got a B.A. in Film from International Film school Cologne. My focus was on screenwriting, but at the time of graduating I couldn’t really master the art of sitting down in the lonely writing chamber. So I leaned more towards creating work in devising settings, largely in a theater context where a big part of the creative process happens through dialogue in the rehearsal room. I love collaboration. I also did documentary work where the material is out in the world and I enjoyed that. All of my directing work has been learning by doing. Heads or Tails is the first script that I have written since I left film school, and the prospect of directing has definitely been an incentive to write more in the future. It’s more fun when I get to be part of the moment when the writing is turning into something real. In regard to being a female filmmaker, well we all know what the statistics look like, but I am hopeful that with the current push for gender equality, we’ll see changes in the industry. They’re already happening.

Q: What inspires you?
Working with talented artist-friends. A cup of coffee in the sun. Biking in the city at night. Art. Epic naps.

Q: How Important are film festivals? Do you think they support filmmakers?
Yes! Festivals are an amazing platform. While I wasn’t able to afford traveling to many of the festivals that my films went to, I have the fondest memories of those that I did attend. I made many wonderful connections with other filmmakers; it truly creates a community when you experience a festival together. And even when my film traveled without me, I was excited to know that people were getting a chance to see it on the big screen!

Q: Do you have any advice on how to succeed?
Keep moving. Relentlessly and against all odds. Don’t forget to have fun.

Q: Why should people see your film? Are you coming to NYC?
Yes, I will be there! At its heart, "Heads or Tails" is a coming-of-age story and my goal was to conjure this specific feeling that sometimes grabs you when you’re young, maybe in love, have a ton of emotions you can’t articulate, and are experiencing something for the first time; which gives you a tug at the heart that is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. To help create the environment in which these feelings can unfold, the short features an idiosyncratic animal kingdom that has been known to delight and surprise.

Heads or Tails is a 2018 Official Selection of the NYC Independent Film Festival.