IO Artist Interviews: Tamar Glezerman

Tamar Glezerman is a filmmaker from Tel-Aviv living and working in Brooklyn. She creates dark comedy as well as music videos and socially conscious media campaigns shown on platforms like The New-York Times, NPR, MSNBC, NBC, Nowness, COOL HUNTING, Refinery29, LOGO and many more. As an editor and consultant, Tamar has worked on Sundance and Berlinale feature films and produced work for clients such as the Disney Channel and Bob Dylan. As a Writer-Director, Tamar is repped by Writ-Large and is currently in casting and/or pre-production on two feature films.

IO: What initially sparked your interest in art and what got you started? 

TG: My mom is a huge art fan so I grew up going to a lot of museums and someties multiple film screenings a day. When I was 14 I randomly watched Altman’s SHORTCUTS on TV and decided film/TV was my medium, but prose and music are still my passions.

IO: Could you describe your artistic practice and the techniques/materials you use most often?

TG: I’m a screenwriter and a director so final draft and a camera?

IO: What are some major sources of inspiration? How do they manifest in your work?

TG: Music, music videos and pop song lyrics (along with some poetry) usually make a big emotional impression on me and find their way into my work, as does pop culture at large and news stories (if they’re really messed up). My biggest influences (obsessions) are Bowie, The Velvet Underground, New Wave, pretty much all sub genres of Pop, Buffy the Vampire slayer, Pop Divas (I think about Lady Gaga every day), The Simpsons, 30 Rock, Bojack Horseman, Edward Hopper, Francis Bacon, The X files and it goes on and on. I’m genre agnostic. I have watched Zoolander 9 times.

IO: How has your work evolved over time, and what role does identity play in your practice?

TG: I don’t know that my work evolved over time at all other than, hopefully, gaining some sharper skills and experience, but I feel like I’m still interested in the same themes and still making the same dumb jokes and personal observations. Everybody’s identity plays a huge role in whatever it is they do, art or otherwise, but it’s only recently that for me, as a member of some minority groups, that that identity hasn’t been just detrimental, opportunity wise. 

IO: Are there any specific themes or messages that you strive to convey through your artwork?

TG: I think it all boils down to the need for connection, in whatever form that takes. I did notice recently that two of my more popular shorts end with the heroine either vomiting or stepping in shit and both of my current feature projects end with the heroine playing music. I hope music, dark humor and a tiny bit of hope can be found in everything I do.

IO: Now getting into the specifics of your Infinite Objects piece - we absolutely love it because it's unlike anything else on our site. We'd love to know a bit more about how you approach the topic of representation of identity/sexuality in your work. Would love it if you're open to dropping any specific examples or projects we'd be able to highlight outside of IO too.

TG: I usually tell stories with queer characters because why wouldn’t I? I’m a queer woman. There are enough hetero-led stories out there without my contribution. I’m pretty sure the straights are doing OK without me. And despite more and more queer characters popping up in film and TV lately, there is still so much desire for people to see themselves on screen. Take Netflix’s Ultimatum Queer Love - a reality dating show with all the fun and superficial trappings of the genre - and every single one of my queer woman and non-binary friends is emotionally invested in earnest and very seriously discussing the romantic dynamics in the show, and that includes the most high-brow, reality TV patronizing, academics. Seeing something that actually includes you, as opposed to projecting your identity on something that doesn’t is not only refreshing, it's a human need. This Ultimatum thing reminded me we are nowhere close to decent representation - which is having way more queer people just be queer and exist and deal with pretty much every other facet of their life. Just like we actually do, because, you know, we are… people? There is still the perception that a character needs to have a good reason to be queer or that being queer is a theme or a statement. But if queer is a genre then so should be straight. This hegemonic perception sounds stupid but it’s also very fucking dangerous - that’s the logic behind Republicans banning books where there’s a family with two moms - to them, us simply existing is a political statement, while straight stories are simply reality. That’s another reason I will probably keep creating queer characters, cause fuck the bigots.

I’m currently in casting and development of two feature film projects - both of which have very exciting cast attached that I am not at liberty to share right now. But expect inter-generational angst! Fraught family dynamics! The fall of the American Dream! Losing your mind in the public eye! A lot of music! And some queers too!