01 Nov Interview with actress, comedian, and filmmaker Anna Fishbeyn
Anna Fishbeyn is an actress, comedian, writer, and film director.
Anna is known for creating the comedic web series ‘Happy Hour Feminism’ for which she won an Award of Recognition for Leading Actress for her work as Anna, the hostess, and best director and best drama for her short film, ‘Invisible Alice’. Her revolutionary new feature film ‘Galaxy 360: A Woman’s Playground’ is going to be premiering at AFM. The pre-release version of the film screened to packed houses at the Cannes Film Festival and The Big Apple Film Festival. She is the founder of XOFeminist Productions and Anteriya Films.
Can you tell me about your beginnings in the film industry?
I created ‘Happy Hour Feminism,’ a comedic web series set in a world where women sit on top of a bar, and men come in with problems such as aging, gaining too much weight, or suffering from their Wolf Periods. ‘Happy Hour Feminism’ was a comedy with a message, and to my great surprise it had a great response from the film festival community – we got selected at over 17 festivals, and won lots of awards.
How do you feel combining performing and directing?
I love the process of directing and performing in a project. I had been developing a female character before we started pre-production on the feature film, ‘Galaxy 360’ – a giant media personality named Illumina, who loves to be on camera and revels in fame and says whatever she pleases without filters, and is openly wildly sexual. This character could only live in a distant future because women in our world today continue to be censored and judged and forced to do everything they can to please the public and be liked. But Illumina had none of these barriers. It was great fun to be her, to live in her skin, and to understand this character as part of a larger story that I was telling. As a director and actor, I was able to be in the trenches with the actors, and face the same challenges. There was a synergy and camaraderie among the actors, and the energy we created in our many rehearsals translated into our performances on film. As a result, directing, and starring in the film was one of the most significant, challenging, and fulfilling experiences of my life.
What kind of message do you want to put out there with your film work?
‘Galaxy 360: A Woman’s Playground’ is a sci-fi comedic film that takes place in 2195. Women rule the world, men dream of getting married, and you’re invited to the most popular reality event of the future – Victor’s Angel’s Mr. World Beauty Pageant.
The film is a satire, a gender-reversed world played out with humor and good fun but with a poignant message. I created this film in order to bring empathy and awareness to the continuing omnipresent objectification of women in our society and the abuse and pain that comes with it.
In contemporary beauty pageants, female contestants never have names, they are reduced to “STATES” or “COUNTRIES,” their bodies and faces ranked and rated in evening gowns and bathing suits, their value determined almost entirely by their looks.
In the future world of ‘Galaxy 360: A Woman’s Playground,’ women have all the wealth and unlimited power and they are obsessed with personal pleasure. Men are playthings, referred to only by the ‘Districts’ they are from, just nameless bodies to parade around in their underwear. In a society that only cares about the rich and powerful, there are no consequences for bad behavior.