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Complete interview with Between The Folds director Vanessa Gould
Between The Folds

How did you come to make this picture?

Vanessa Gould: It was an idea out of the blue that I had several years ago. I’d heard about physicists and mathematicians using origami in their research, and thought it was simply incredible! In fact, I’ve always found the mysterious threads between art and science intriguing, particularly in the ways those threads manifest themselves – in art, music, architecture and film. Origami seemed to me a beautiful and visual way to explore those ideas and connections further. And film was the perfect medium: it’s technical, artistic and visual, in and of itself.

What first drew you to origami?

Vanessa Gould: Origami has so many unique qualities... When I rediscovered it as an adult, I was just blown away with all the big ideas it touched upon for me. It’s an art form of many contradictions, and really, of infinite depth. That’s what first drew me in, and what sustained my interest as the project grew and took shape.

Were you familiar with the world of origami long before making this movie, or were you learning as you went, so to speak?

Vanessa Gould: Like most people, I was not familiar at all with origami before making this film. There was much research at the onset, and naturally, that continued as I worked on the project. Frankly, it still continues today.

Through making this film, has your view on the art of paperfolding changed?

Vanessa Gould: My views on origami have developed the same ways they have with other arts — particularly sculpture and painting. You take certain things for granted, and then over time you later see something which changes your perspective and fundamentally rattles the boundaries of your own definitions. Cubism challenged impressionism, pop art challenged abstract expressionism. This is the same kind of thing, where the viewer’s eye and sensibilities mature.

Origami seems to be one of those great, underappreciated art forms, in that it’s relatively inexpensive and can be done by most anyone under most any conditions. Did you find a diverse group of participants from all walks of life who are actively making origami?

Vanessa Gould: It’s interesting. The medium is so accessible and democratic —even sparse, really— in that all it requires is a square piece of paper! Therein, it attracts a broad and diverse group of practitioners. From a different standpoint, in its simplicity, it carries a kind of infinite potential. Every origami sculpture or model starts with the very same thing: a paper square. Because of that unique potential, it also draws a great breadth of minds. So many people do so many different things with just a square!

Was it hard to find financing for such a film?

Vanessa Gould: Finding funding was extremely challenging. I mean, it’s a documentary about folding paper! (laughs) Most people think, “How could you ever fill a whole hour on that topic?” So most of the financing was done through my own blood, sweat and tears, and the support of friends and family. It’s actually quite nice and pure that way. I had complete creative control to present the ideas exactly how I intuitively felt they should be. To have that kind of artistic and creative freedom was thrilling.

How long did it take to make the film?

Vanessa Gould: It took four years to make the film — from the very first glimmer of an idea, to getting the prints made.

What is your intended market? Are you aiming for a theatrical run, DVD release, or an extended life on cable or public TV (or all of the above)?

Vanessa Gould: Well, whether out of hubris, naiveté or maybe some kind of purity, we did not make this film with a specific audience in mind. We thought about it, but no generic categorization ever seemed to emerge or become obvious. The film really crosses so many lines and categories. I think people feel that “lack of niche” as a positive attribute when they see the film.


Official trailer for Between The Folds:


Where and how often has the film been publicly screened so far?

Vanessa Gould: The film is actually just beginning its festival life. Savannah is one of the first few festivals to show the film. Other festivals have included New Hampshire, The Hamptons and Temecula.

How has the film been received so far by audiences?

Vanessa Gould: Well, while it’s been a bit hard to get people interested —again, it’s a film about paperfolding— it’s been incredibly well received. People are pretty blown away by the artwork, and they often say their heads continue spinning afterwards with all the ideas the film presents.

Could you envision this movie sparking a widespread interest in the art of origami?

Vanessa Gould: I don’t really know. I think the film will make people interested in origami from a philosophic standpoint. And I think they’ll appreciate the incredible work of the artists and scientists in the film, in new and different ways. Whether or not there will actually be a new generation of folders, I don’t really know.

Are there any unique promotional campaigns planned for the film’s eventual release (such as bundling the home video release with samples of origami paper or offering an origami tutorial for beginners as a DVD Bonus Feature)?

Vanessa Gould: None yet, though I think there are all kinds of clever ways we could promote the film when the time comes!

Will you be attending the Savannah Film Fest this year with your film? If so, what are you most looking forward to about your trip?

Vanessa Gould: Yes! I can’t wait to meet the other filmmakers, see the incredible list of films on the schedule, and explore Savannah, which I’ve heard is just beautiful. I’m looking forward to it very much.

The 11th Annual Savannah Film Festival: Between The Folds

When/Where: Mon., 11:30 am, Trustees Theater & Wed., Oct. 29, 2:30 pm, Lucas Theatre

Cost: $5 gen. public / $3 SCAD students, seniors & military @ 525-5050 or