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Told against the backdrop of the Live Music Capital itself, Simon Rumley’s newest feature film, Fashionista, highlights addictive personalities using an unlikely medium.

I sat down with Simon and the cast (Amanda Fuller, Ethan Embry, Alex Essoe, and Devin Bonnee) for an interview during Fantastic Fest- here are some of the highlights from discussing the treacherously seductive film:


Quiet Earth: All of the characters seem to have different addictions- what made you want to create such a film?

Simon Rumley: I ultimately wanted to make an addiction movie not about drugs. Because I think addiction gives a lot of ability to explore the canvas and use the tools of a filmmaker. I feel that with films like Christiane F. and Requiem for a Dream, films I both love, this has been explored in cinema and I don’t know if I have anything to add to that that hasn’t already been said. And I also wanted to do a film about consumerism and the culture of today that is buying and buying. Everyone in this constant rat world of ‘gotta get more!’

QE: The medium was the only thing that was different with your film

Ethan Embry:
The crazy thing is that what you saw was what was on the page, too. All of that jumping around and basically, [Simon] would say around 90 [percent], I would say the only thing he changed was a few pieces of conversations. But the order of it was on the page like that. So he had this film in his head.

QE: So nothing’s on the cutting room floor?

EE: He may have trimmed some stuff, but he didn’t rearrange anything, that’s the way it was.

Amanda Fuller: Is that true? Did you not rearrange anything?

SR: In the end we dropped maybe six scenes or something.

EE: Out of 390?

SR: Out of about 360, yes, something like that.

QE: Amanda, where did you go for this role- are you like this [mentally unstable] person, do you know people like this?

AF: I think we’re all a part of this. We all suffer from our own mental demons and mental illnesses, and addictions and voids and unhealthy ways to fill them. Of course there’s different levels of that.

What Simon does is he always pushes the envelope about how deep that goes and how we explore it- that’s what I love about his writing and storytelling… I happen to have all those parts in myself. I mean, I have incredible body dysmorphia as an actor myself, and, crazily insecure, always trying to fight against that. Just be true to who I am and figure out who the fuck that is- and that’s part of all of our journey. And I’ve been cheated on quite a bit in my life and can connect to that very easily!

QE: It was in the nuances with the touching of clothing and obsession with smells- super creepy!

EE: Yeah, [Amanda] pulled it off so well!

AF: I have Simon to thank for that, and his writing.

EE: He may have thought of the mannerisms, but you fucking sold it so well!

AF: Thanks! It’s one of those technical things that you don’t know if whether or not you’re pulling off- but he already knew exactly what he wanted it to look like, down to the pacing of it sometimes. Eventually it felt like it came from myself, but that was one of the more challenging things for me.

SR: And it’s also one of those things where she touches the fabric if she’s nervous and she’ll calm down. Another time where she sniffs it because she loves the smell and there’s a bit of music. And bit by bit that all adds up to the overall feeling of “okay, here’s a woman who has a special relationship with clothes.”

AF: And she gets really high from it. There’s a scene in bed with all these clothes, there’s something about that, that even looking at myself doing it- I feel it’s the sweet part of the relationship, the playful part of that addiction before it turns bad.

Thanks, gang!


I don’t want to say a whole lot more about the movie other than SEE IT.

Focusing on interpersonal issues between sets of unfaithful lovers and set in the ever-growing, desperately-trying-to-stay-weird Austin, Texas; this movie hits hard.

Plenty of people can walk out of a drug-based addiction movie and not take a good, long look at themselves in the mirror afterwards because they’ve never tried heroin. Fashionista doesn’t let you off the hook that easily. Playing into your own insecurities and personal shortcomings, the jabs start early and pummel you into a corner of self-doubt and anxiety.

Ferociously seductive and unexpectedly sinister, become a witness and unwilling participant to the marvelous madness of this film. Not just one of my top picks for Fantastic Fest, but a harrowing achievement for exploring all-too-prevalent neuroses in us all.

Check back in with Quiet Earth after the festival for the complete interview!

Recommended Release: Red White and Blue

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