Award-winning TV writer, Karen Moore, premiered her first short film, Volcano, at Toronto International Film Festival this year. Karen has had an extensive career in television, writing and producing for shows like Mary Kills People (Hulu) and Workin’ Moms (Netflix/CBC). Find out more about her journey to directing in our interview below!
Hello Karen, congratulations on your short film, Volcano! Can you tell us what your movie is about? What inspired the story?
Thank you! Volcano is about two old friends– Jess and Hannah– who meet up for drinks at a tiki bar and are struggling to connect on this particular night. The film is a funny tug-of-war conversation between the two of them that goes off the rails, revealing a darker underbelly. The story is inspired by my experiences with female friends and one particular romantic relationship.
What was it like working with Hannah Cheesman and Jess Salguerio? How did you know they would be the perfect duo in expressing the human relationships you wanted for Volacano?
Hannah and Jess are both amazing collaborators and deeply feeling humans. I had such an easy time working with them – we all knew one another beforehand and wanted to work together, so that definitely helped. I knew their work from other projects and could hear their voices in my head as I wrote the script. They got the tone exactly, which is a tricky balance between funny and dark.
How do you hope or imagine the audience will react to this film?
I imagine there will be different reactions to the big reveal in the film, depending on your own life experience. I hope audiences see themselves in one, if not both, characters.
Volcano is your directorial debut, but you have been working as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry for a few years now. What was your motivation to wanting to get behind the camera? What did you learn from the experience?
I’ve been working as a TV writer for a number of years, alongside writing/producing short films. This felt like the right time to write AND direct something after so much collaboration on other projects. I wanted to make something that was just mine, creatively speaking. I learned that my anxiety about doing something can be greater than the challenge of actually doing it.
Was it important to you to produce a project that was surrounded by a female crew and cast? How do you feel about the growing movement for representation in the industry?
I wanted to tell this story from the perspective of two women, as opposed to a couple, for a few reasons. One of them being that I wanted to work with a female cast and explore issues surrounding adult friendship as well as romantic relationships. I think the movement towards hiring women as directors in Canada is an important one and I’m very inspired by my peers and mentors.
Do you have plans to write and direct more in the future? What’s next for you?
Yes, directing this film was such a positive experience, I’d love to do it again as soon as I can. I’m currently writing a feature film that’s similar in tone to Volcano and that I hope to direct.
For our final question– if you could have one super power, which would it be and why?
Is being able to talk to animals a super power? If so, that one. So I can tell my dog when I leave that I’m always coming back. Sounds super sweet but also to alleviate my own guilt lol.