Virgins Wanted

Filmmaker Interview Justin Sisely

by Amy Gillman


What inspired you to tell Alex and Catarina’s story?

Casting Virgins Wanted in 2008 was an extremely difficult process. The major hurdle was finding applicants who were prepared to auction their virginity. My story telling motivation was to tell a story that created change in the participants involved in the documentary. The casting process was secondary to the premise of the documentary. In the casting process it was key to identify and cast virgins who I thought had the potential to change and develop in a positive way throughout the film making process. Alex and Catarina were cast to participate because they wanted to auction their virginity and they both had interesting motivations for participating in the documentary. 

What are some challenged and benefits of being a documentary filmmaker as compared to filming fictionalized narratives?
The most difficult element in Virgins Wanted was managing the cast’s expectations on the film making process. Scheduling and productivity were always difficult. We quickly developed a run and gun style of shooting. Dealing with real people in real life situations is far more delicate than having actors play a role. 

Virgins Wanted lets audiences into a world of unorthodox but real life controversy. As a filmmaker, why do you feel it is your responsibility to find, develop and educate your audience?
My aim when making a documentary is to create and show transformation and to identify and document ‘once-in-a-life time’ subject matter. How audiences respond to the film depends on their interpretation of the subject matter.
As a documentary filmmaker, what makes a fruitful collaboration and what do you do to enhance the collaborative process?
To enhance the collaborative process it is important to understand the needs of others involved in the film making process. In order to extract a performance or a raw emotion, in my view, a film director or documentarian must be able to manipulate their talent.

Working with Alex Catarina, did you find that the language barrier helped the creative process, hindered it, or both?
The language barrier forced a variety of different elements into the creative process. The cultural difference between Alex and Catarina was quite significant therefore their attitude and adolescent behaviour was considerably different. This created different back-stories and journeys throughout the documentary.  

Was your film shaped by a limited budget? Do you create with budget limitations in mind?
I think a film is always shaped by the budget. The creative process becomes a situation where you have to make the best of what is available to you at the time. 

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August 14th at 6pm (TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE)

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