by Rebeccah Pope
July 19th, 2012

Rooftop had the opportunity to ask some questions about the truly personal documentary Her Master’s Voice by Nina Conti. Her Master’s Voice will be screening Wednesday July 25th at Socrates Sculpture Park. Live Music at 7:00PM, film begins at 8:30PM.

Rooftop Films: What was the initial intention in making Her Master’s Voice?
Nina Conti: I was keen to show people ventriloquism in a light they had never seen before, and to explore the boundaries in the art of talking to myself. I had very personal reasons for making the film too, I needed to make good on a ‘thank you’ I never gave in Ken’s lifetime.

RF:In what ways did the outcome of the film compare to your initial expectation of the film?
NC: I was overwhelmed at the response to the film, getting standing ovations from theatre audiences and winning a sxsw audience award are more than I ever dreamt of.  During the making of the film I wondered if I was just making it for me personally!

RF:Many ventriloquists interviewed in the film described themselves as shy. Would you consider yourself shy as well?
NC: Not with close friends but generally in public I think I am quite shy,  but I don’t think that is a pre-requisite for being a ventriloquist.  However it enables you to cultivate an inner voice of things you deem too shocking to say out loud, and when those are finally given a voice it can become a split personality revelation.

RF: Her Master’s Voice is a very personal film. What was it like to be exposed in this medium?
NC: That is difficult to answer.  I can’t be sure.  I tried to be objective about my role in it, and make editing decisions for the sake of the film rather than myself.  So far the response has been positive so I haven’t thus far felt the exposure to have been detrimental.

RF: Had you always known that ventriloquism was the proper outlet for you?
NC: I would never in a million years have thought of it if Ken hadn’t encouraged me to try it. Never.

RF: he issue of ventriloquism being a dying art form seems to be a prevalent thread throughout the film. Where do you see ventriloquism fitting in the art/comedy world in 10 years?
NC: I hope to witness the generation of new academy award section “arthouse ventriloquist documentary of the year”, and to win it every year for the rest of my days.


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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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