Project Spotlight: 'Supernova', A Poem in Motion
Topaz Winters is a queer artist from Singapore. At 17 years old, she is a writer, actress, and editor in chief of literary journal half mystic journal. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Jane Goodall Institute, among others. With her passions including queerness in media, artists and women of color, and honest storytelling, we’re excited to share her latest work as our first TLL spotlight. Topaz is the writer and actress of a new short film called “Supernova”. The poetry read in the short is so incredibly hollowing and made us feel like were experiencing a universal feeling we couldn’t quite name. We hope you love it as much as we do! Below is the film and a quick Q&A!
How did the idea for this video come to light?
My director, Ishan Modi, & I knew that we wanted to create a more experimental film, one exploring the innermost thoughts of someone whose soul we perhaps might not see much of in their daily interactions. Lately I have been deeply fascinated with the idea of contradictions in my work, & the ways we resolve them in our thoughts & words & hearts – so it felt only natural to combine these themes into a story of loneliness, humanity, & the ways in which we navigate around & between the two.
What were the greatest ups/downs with this project?
We definitely had some speed bumps on the path to creating this film! Since there were only two of us as the main team & we had no budget, there was quite a bit of running around to catch the right light & rerecording sound clips that we’d lost & waiting in vain for streets to become more crowded so we could film the people. The script, as well, evolved quite a bit from the beginning to the end of it – & that evolution came with some fighting & some compromise &, as with all beautiful things, some soul-searching. I am extraordinarily proud of the way it turned out in the end, though. I do not think it could possibly have been as lovely had there been no conflict whatsoever along the way.
How was the dynamic of transforming your words to a visual medium?
It was certainly a very interesting experience, & not one I’ve been through before. I have always been a tad bit protective of my words, & this project required an element of trust in my director, who has much more experience in cinematography & in turning words into film than I do. I had to let go of the script – a creation that, as with all of my words, was enormously close to my heart – & have the faith that it was in hands that would do it justice.
Why do you enjoy writing?
It gives me wings, lets me in, lifts me up, forces me to believe, dreams me into being. It instills within me a wonder that few other things possibly could.
What do you think of the term “filmmaker”? Does it fit you?
I have been trying, in recent months, to move away from terms like “filmmaker” or “writer” or “actress”. While I am sure they hold value for others, they’ve done nothing for me but box me in & make me question what I create. I prefer the term “artist”, or “creator”, instead. It gives voice to the idea that our art need not be limited to one medium in order to still be valid & real. I adore the idea. I try to live it.
Would you do other shorts in the future?
Absolutely. This experience was a truly gorgeous one, & given the opportunity, it would be a great joy to repeat it in the future.
What other avenues do you have for creation?
I write first & foremost, but I also enjoy dabbling in other forms of art. I play the piano & guitar & am learning ukulele; I sing; I paint on occasion (though admittedly rather horribly); I read tarot; I take photographs; I look & listen & search for the light hidden in crannies of the universe.
What do you like about film?
I am in love with the way it combines so many art forms into one. Cinematography & scriptwriting & music & acting & so many more – I sit down to watch one film & come away feeling as if I’ve been transported into another world, another dimension, another time. It’s an experience, true & bright & terrifying & beautiful.