Tisch Senior Debuts Film at NYFF



Lewie Kloster, Tisch senior sits down with WSN to discuss his new short film, “Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy” that will be premiering at NYFF.

Ethan Sapienza, Film Editor

Lewie Kloster, a Tisch senior, is already making waves within the film industry. His short film, “Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy,” was selected for showing at this year’s New York Film Festival. Kloster worked alongside his brother Noah, a freshman at Pratt, to put together the idiosyncratic, animated short which chronicles NYU professor Christine Choy’s attempt to get cheap cigarettes and the resulting accidental airport smuggling. Kloster sat down to talk with WSN about the making of the film, debuting at NYFF and plans for the future.

WSN: How do you feel your time at Tisch prepared you to make this movie?

Lewis Kloster: The freshman year course Digital Frame and Sequence was the first formal influence on my work. All films for the course had to be told only through still images, which informed my current style. I would create these hyper films that leapt off the screen, holding my images for split seconds. It’s a form of animation loosely called pixelation that bleed into the pace of “Legal Smuggling.” Janet Grillo’s Storytelling Strategies course taught me to use a three-act structure. And finally, Christine’s course, Sight & Sound Documentary, aligned these concepts in my head to bring my techniques together to create the short film. She has been a great mentor in my life as well.

WSN: Can you tell me about the process in creating the film?

LK: My brother, Noah, and I wrote all the visuals for the film. We took a summer to complete the visual components. Noah drew every drawing that appears on screen. Because Choy is an Asian immigrant, we wanted the film to have an ancient Chinese artwork feel. Also, Choy has an incredibly animated, almost cartoonish personality, yet we depicted her in the film as a stark black and white portrait made of hard pencil. The law-and-order oriented world she lives in was then represented as a colorful, animated and childish reality made of construction paper and crayons. In short, we flipped the roles of the two opposing forces moving the short film forward to highlight their ethical differences.

WSN: What does it mean to be accepted into NYFF?

LK: When Noah and I received the news this summer, we knew it was an invitation into the fast lane, and to display my work at Lincoln Center at such a young age is an honor I will be trying to repay for the rest of my life.

WSN: Do you have celebratory plans for its premiere?

LK: Christine and I have had on and off plans to solicit Benson & Hedges (the cigarette brand in the film) to sponsor an after party for the screening. We never quite pulled the trigger. Besides that, my family is flying out from Minnesota for the screening and we’ll probably just be grabbing a drink with Christine across the street afterwards.

WSN: Do you plan to pursue filmmaking professionally?

LK: The pursuit is already 100 percent on. Noah and I plan on pushing forward with our small production company — Tall Glass with Ice Productions, specializing in animations similar to “Legal Smuggling.” Other than commercial work, we have another short in the pipes and by 2018, we plan to have a feature film completed.

“Legal Smuggling” premiered at Lincoln Center on Oct. 1-2.

Email Ethan Sapienza at [email protected]