News__ Q + A: Director Thalia Mavros

September 09, 2011 | By

Director Thalia Mavros loves documentaries and just got back from Japan. So we asked her some questions. Photo by: D. Scales.

Thalia Mavros has been directing for a little over two years after producing for a few more before that. Some of her accolades include VBS.tv (now Vice.com), working with the brooklyn duo CREEP and recently producing documentaries for Palladium. "Directing was a childhood dream of mine--that and becoming an astrophysicist," Thalia says. "So I feel like all my experiences have led me to this line of work--astrophysics not so much."

Documentaries especially excite her, as she can cull stories from a world of raw materials. "I’ve never been a true fan of fiction--reality is much more intense and meaningful." Thalia loves that documentaries allow her to meet and interview people extracting their stories. "I am drawn to the darkness in our lives, but also to the beauty of humans, the beauty of struggle and the purity of the experience."

Thalia's most recent gig involved traveling to Japan with Pharrell Williams to document Japanese subcultures and hidden treasures for Palladium's new film Tokyo Rising. Doesn't sound too bad to us. So we caught up with the young director to chat. From where she's most happiest, what surprised her the most about working with Pharrell and how long she's had those killer bangs, read our interview with Director Thalia Mavros below.

Why film?

Film is the ultimate form of expression. It brings together all my favorite creative endeavors—storytelling, visuals, music, writing, and requires complete focus, strong collaborations and unwavering commitment to bringing a vision into the world and hoping people feel as passionate about them as I do.

Where are you most happiest?

In total engagement, in obsessive creativity, in collaboration, in love. All at once.

What should people know about Japanese culture?

Japanese culture is magical. Beyond what came across in the film regarding the resilience and strength of the Japanese, I was also enamored by the commitment to quality and desire for perfection.

And a softness and grace of spirit and a deep-seated respect for others and one's self that is beautiful and almost surreal. And of course the dark undercurrent that we've come to know and love through Japanese film and literature.

What was the most difficult part for you personally about being in Japan after the earthquake?

The knowledge that there is no easy solution to the problems Japan faces. While in Tokyo, I was forwarded an anonymous email from a gaijin (foreigner) living up North who described just how dire the situation really is and how children can only play baseball in short time increments until a buzzer goes off when they've reached their radiation limit. The scale of the disaster is very hard to take in and makes everyone feel helpless. Yes, feeling helpless is what was definitely the most difficult part.

What are some interesting parts that didn't make the film you had to leave on the editing floor?

I was very intrigued by hardcore otaku subculture and how it's mixed with edgy fashion, art, music and popular culture. Akihabara is a place in Tokyo known as the Electric City and is the breeding ground for originality and darker underground subcultures in Tokyo. But that's another story to tell.

How was working with Pharrell?

Pharrell was great to work with. Filming a documentary like this was a new experience for him and he was able to jump right in and lead the exploration which is not an easy task.

What surprised you the most about him?

I was surprised by his youthful spirit, by his sense of adventure and how much he was willing to let me take him out of his comfort zone. He truly loves Tokyo and its people and was a great fit for the project.

What fashion trends that stood out to you in Japan?

The amount of color everywhere never ceases to amaze me, especially in hair color and nail design.

Specific trends that I gravitated towards were cyberpunk body-armor look (sculpted with lots of leather, studs, metallic accessories) but with an injection of intense colors.

I was personally inspired by Yoon of Ambush Design, the Kita-Kore crew and Balmung.

How long have you had bangs for?

In different variations for 6-7 years.

What's next for you?

I'm researching a new Palladium piece, writing treatments for music videos that are long overdue and just started on a script for a short.

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