Katie Doane Avery
b. 1979 Los Angeles, California
“I just feel like a young filmmaker,” laughs writer and director Katie Doane Avery on the phone from her home in Los Angeles, California. After a number of years working in the non-profit arts sector, Avery made the jump behind the camera during her graduate studies at the California Institute of the Arts and has already worked on an impressive list of Hollywood productions, including Jill Soloway’s Transparent (2014–present).
Her thesis film Polar Sun (2016) is a muted, tonal family drama interwoven with traditional Iñupiaq stories surrounding the northern lights. This blending of genres comes naturally for Avery. “In a lot of my work there is always an aspect of trying to nurture what my cultural representation is through the story,” she explains. Gently, Jennifer (2018), her most recent short, is a humorous 1980s-tinged, coming-of-age tale, where two girls discover a porn magazine in a sibling’s room before the title character is sucked into its pages. Here, she encounters Pucker’s titular figure in the midst of a technicolour fog as the dreamy synth sounds of “Safety Dance” fill the background.
Though work on the film only recently finished, Avery already has her sights on the next project. From scripts in the works for a tale of an underground queer mafia in 1970s New York to a steam punk, alt-historical epic lead by four Indigenous women in the Old West, Avery’s category-defying stories continue to challenge the stereotypical tropes that often pervade narrative filmmaking. “I’m really interested in character-driven stories. We spend so much time drawing lines or separating out people and belief systems, but I’m really interested in opening that up for discussion.” – Evan Pavka
Katie Doane Avery (b. 1979 Los Angeles) — Gently, Jennifer (still) 2018 Video 9 min 30 sec COURTESY THE ARTIST