Andrea Ngeleka And Tiffany Patterson Talk On Their Film "Sigourney Weaver"
“Sigourney Weaver” is a dark comedy written and directed by Andrea Ngeleka and produced by Tiffany Patterson. The nine-minute short film, starring Makha Mthembu, Victoria Ortiz, and Jessica Goldson, follows the story of one young woman who decides to drug and kidnaps her girlfriend in an attempt to save their relationship.
“I just wanted to create a world where queer black characters main issue or problems isn’t that they are queer or black.”
“I wrote the script when I was in one of my film classes, and I had that story and that idea for about a year,” said the film’s writer and director, Andrea Ngeleka. “I didn’t know how people were going to feel about the script, but it was actually really well-received.”
Ngeleka came up with the plot and titled the short after the concept of the two women in the story bonding over Sigourney Weaver.
“I just wanted to create a world where queer black characters main issue or problems isn’t that they are queer or black,” said Ngeleka. “There are silly things that they go through that’s dramatic and a little funny, and there’s some truth to it, but essentially it’s normalizing the fact that their issues don’t derive from the fact that they are queer and black.”
The dark comedy has moments when you believe you are watching a thriller. There are no dull moments, and the story is full of entertaining content. The main focus of the film isn’t the fact that they happen to be queer minorities, but other issues that tell an amazing story. However, the filming and production of the short film were possible because of the program, Outset.
"The Outset team then chose which project they wanted to work on and spent time working on impressive pieces of work."
“I chose Andy’s script because I liked the genre and that it was an all-female cast and I liked the story,” said the film’s producer, Tiffany Patterson. The Temple University graduate initially came to Los Angeles through one of the University’s study away program entering the industry as an intern. Patterson ended up moving to LA after graduation and got involved with Outfest Los Angeles’s Outset program after seeing a social media post advertising the program.
“I follow Outfest, the film festival on Facebook and one day I was on the site, and I saw a post about applying to Outset,” said Patterson. “I saw that I made the age range cutoff and that it was the last year that I could possibly do it. I decided to apply for it, and luckily, I got in. I didn’t know about it beforehand.”
Outfest is a non-profit organization that aims to build community and connects diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBTQ lives. Outset is the Young Filmmakers Project from the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest that aims to provide LGBTQ youth ages 16 to 24 to share their stories. The program selects 15 fellows to participate over the course of six months (January-July) in a storytelling and filmmaking lab.
Members of the Outset program are asked to write a script after they are accepted into the program. Out of the fifteen who wrote scripts for the 2017/2018 Outset program, only five were chosen. The Outset team then chose which project they wanted to work on and spent time working on impressive pieces of work.
“You have to put yourself out there and make anything really."
“Apply to Outset. I credit it for getting me a bunch of new connects and recharging my creative energy,” Patterson said about the program. “It’s also cool, especially if you are a queer artist. I didn’t learn much about queer history in school, or even in film school. In Outset, I learned a lot more.
The two filmmakers also credit Outset for making the idea of breaking into and building a career in the filming industry as an artist more attainable.
“You meet so many people,” said Ngeleka. “We met so many people that it’s insane. Just the people that are interested in very specific different things just made the world seem a little bit more accessible.”
The USC student, who is hoping to start working on a web series fairly soon also spoke about what she has learned during her journey with Outset and her experience working in the industry.
“You have to put yourself out there and make anything really,” Ngeleka continued. “One of the things that I hold myself back on are things like I have to have the best camera. Sometimes you just have to show that you can make something, and it’ll help you figure what you want to do and how you want to do it.”
"Find a group of people who are down to make things all of the time."
Patterson also had a word of advice to those who are interested in breaking into the filmmaking. “If you ever get an opportunity to try everything definitely don’t put yourself in a box and say I just want to write,” Patterson explained. “Even if you do just want to write, learning how to direct can help your writing, or producing can help your writing a lot. At least try everything and don’t be closedminded to just one aspect of something. Also, surround yourself with other people who want to create things as well. Find a group of people who are down to make things all of the time.”
The short film, “Sigourney Weaver,” was released on July 22, 2018, during the Outfest film festival in Los Angeles as part of their Outset program. Applications for the 2018/2019 class just closed on November 16, 2018, but those interested are encouraged to apply for next year’s class. You can follow Andrea Ngeleka on Twitter at @mama_afriqua and on Instagram at @mama.afriqua. You can also follow Tiffany Patterson on Instagram at @theincredible_no1.