by Genevieve DeLaurier
May 5th, 2010

On May 14th, Rooftop Films will kick off our 2010 summer series with the short film program “This is What We Mean by Short Films.” As a part of this program, we will screen Star Wars: Retold, directed by Joseph Nicolosi. In the film, Joe animates a retelling of Star Wars by someone who has not actually seen it and must therefore piece together the plot from pop-culture references. The result is hilarious reimagining of a cinematic classic.

Rooftop Films spoke with Joe about his film.

Rooftop Films: Give a brief description of your film for those who haven’t seen it

Joe Nicolosi: Star Wars: Retold is an animated film about a girl who hasn’t seen Star Wars, and her endearing attempt at piecing it together from random pop-culture references and Family Guy jokes.

RF: Are you a big Star Wars fan?

JN: I am a huge geek. Growing up I would spend every weeks’ allowance on Star Wars paperback novels and Lego sets. Something happened right around exactly the weekend The Phantom Menace came out and I shifted my geek-focus from Star Wars to newer stuff like Farscape, Battlestar Galatica and the Joss Whedon universe. So I’m not as much a Star Wars guy as I used to be, but I still try to Force levitate my cell phone at least once a day.

RF: Where in this day and age did you find someone who hasn’t seen Star Wars?

JN: They’re out there…  It almost seems like a point of pride with some people, which seems silly to me. In the case of the girl in my short, once I sat her down to watch A New Hope she was instantly hooked and insisted on watching the entire original trilogy back-to-back.

RF: A lot of the comedy in the film comes from seeing the Star Wars characters in unexpected locales. How did you decide on the images you were going to use?

JN: I chose whatever image cracked me up at the time. I kept thinking “This is hilarious… but probably just to me.” and then I kept thinking, ‘Who cares?’

RF: Are you a full-time filmmaker? If not, what else are you up to?

JN: I’ve been a freelance editor/motion graphics artist since I graduated college. I have ambitions this summer to start a production company here in Austin with the goal of eventually becoming a full-time filmmaker but that is probably a few years off. In the meantime, I keep busy working on shorts and scripts between gigs.

RF: Describe your next project.

JN: I have a few! I have a documentary about how the survivors of a zombie apocalypse used Twitter during the outbreak. I have a follow up to Star Wars: Retold about a different girl who’s never seen the Exorcist. And I’m also starting to develop an iPhone/iPad horror choose-your-own-adventure film.

RF: Star Wars: Retold will be the first film shown at Rooftop this year, as it perfectly simultaneously subverts and celebrates cinematic culture. How do you feel about that?

JN: Fantastic, and honored. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have my film play with such an amazing set of short films.


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One Response to “Filmmaker Interview: “Star Wars: Retold””

  1. I would love to get in touch with the filmmaker to see if he would like to show his film at our upcoming event, May the Fourth Be With You Star Wars Celebration on May 4 in West Sacramento. Could you pass along my contact info please?
    Stephanie Rector

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.


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