Bianca Poletti directs ‘Radical Honesty’.
At the tail end of a great date, Jack and Rachel bond over a shared interest in deconstructing traditional relationship structures. When Jack reveals the reality of his “radical” open relationship, things take a turn for the absurd in this short film about the co-option of the language of liberation as means of manipulation and control.
Words from Bianca below.
‘Radical Honesty’ premiered at SXSW 22, what was that experience like?
BP: Oof… Honestly, it was so incredible. This was my first year having a film at SXSW, it’s really such a special film festival, and felt like the perfect place/audience for ‘Radical Honesty’.
They seem to support all types of genres and are open to more experimental and modern themes than maybe some other festivals, which I’ve always really appreciated and loved about them from an audience standpoint. They also hosted a ton of filmmaker mixers, luncheons, parties, and gatherings. All of these events felt very welcoming, inclusive and casual in the best sense of the word. We had two screenings scheduled, both sold out.
Although we’re living in a time where streaming is god (and I definitely love streaming shows and films, don’t get me wrong), there’s no feeling greater than being able to watch your film in a packed theater and hear the audience react to it live.
Side note, I was able to get into the premiere of A24’s new comedy/horror ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ highly recommend it!
How would you describe your approach to working with actors, radical?
BP: I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s radical, but I do believe in approaching working with actors however is most appropriate to the project at hand. In the case of ‘Radical Honesty,’ we had a simple script and I had already worked with John and Allison previously. After a couple of zoom rehearsals, I felt it was important to keep it loose enough to be able to improv and add things on the day.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s radical, but I do believe in approaching working with actors however is most appropriate to the project at hand.
I like keeping it natural and leaving room for things to come up and surprise us in the moment, rather than beating any spontaneity out of it through over-rehearsing. For example, the moment where John puts on chapstick before setting down the rules of how things were going to go. We were setting up a different shot, and I remember just seeing John on the monitor slowly putting on chapstick, and just thought that would be a great way to show how almost transactional this exchange is for him. I also decided on the day to keep their conversation while he’s on the phone in the booth—it was originally written that he would get up and leave the frame when talking to his girlfriend—and it added so much great cringe to the moment.
All this to say, the actors are incredibly talented and were very trusting throughout the whole process, which made this one wonderfully seamless.
What are you reading at the moment?
BP: Such a random mix of genres really ha. I’m currently reading ‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney, I loved the show and wanted to see how different the book was from the show.
Also currently reading ‘Nightmare Alley’ by William Lindsay Grisham, it’s the story that the new Guillermo Del Torro Film was based on. I’ve always been fascinated by the circus, magicians, and magic, so I’m really loving it so far.
Aside from that, just… lots of scripts.
- Mindy Goldberg, Jackie Calleiro
- Executive Producer
- Shayna Gianelli
- Director of Photography
- Christina Flannery
- Peter Trepke
- Abbey Hendrix
- Music Supervisor
- Epoch Films, Disco Pants Inc.
- Production Company