Chloe Traicos on Filmmaking, Devil's Cove, and Finding Ways To Stick Out In the Industry.
Chloe Traicos is a filmmaker, writer, actress, and all around artist who plays by her own rules. The daughter of national cricketer John Traicos and visual artist Annette Kileff, Chloe grew up in Zimbabwe with her sister. She has taken part in filmmaking (either in front or behind the camera), with many varying credits to her name (ranging from features, shorts, and documentaries). Her powerful 2005 documentary A Stranger In My Homeland shed light on the lives of two Zimbabwean refugees that were tortured for refusing to cooperate with the Robert Mugabe regime; subsequently, this film resonated enough that Traicos garnered awards, but also had to leave Zimbabwe. She would later emigrate to Australia, and furthermore to Los Angeles a few years later; her filmmaking career continued in both locations.
Her latest project, now released on Amazon, is the bold Devil’s Cove: a twisty thriller complete with zingers, wit, and tension. Like Thelma and Louise gone haywire, Devil’s Cove involves a pair of women (played by Christelle Baguidy and Traicos herself) who fall in love while on the run after a murder. Written by Traicos, the film relishes in the moment; causation leading to commotion, and reacting through quick instincts. Having been presented at the New York City International Film Festival`(where Traicos and company were nominated for a handful of awards), and being selected by the Independent Filmmakers Showcase, Devil’s Cove’s tale of female revenge is now accessible for home audiences.
Traicos is a member of the Save Zimbabwe Movement: a collective of organizations and people wishing for pure democracy in the country. She has a few projects in the works (screenplays for Shylock and Introducing Jodea, as well as acting in the latter film). Knowing all of this, it is clear that Traicos is a voice that pushes forward no matter what. She creates her own destiny. Being able to talk to her a little bit about cinema just seemed like the right thing to do.
Films Fatale: What made you first want to get into cinema? Along with your sister's music career, art seemingly runs in the family, perhaps through your mom's artistry. How was that integrated in your life growing up? Was sporting ever an option, considering your father's high profile cricket career?
Chloe Traicos: Yes, art does run in the family. Although I can't draw to save my life so I don't take after my mom in that respect (with me and acting). In all honesty, there has never been anything else. I've always found myself imagining things creating characters and scenarios in my mind so it was something that was within me from the get go.
FF: What are your experiences in working within the indie film community?
CT: The indie film community in the US is very different to Australia. In Australia, because the business is so small there, you will get top actors doing Indie films for next to nothing payment wise, just because they want to work. In the US, it's not like that. It's much tougher. You need a much higher budget for Indie movies than you do in Australia.
FF: Devil's Cove, your latest feature length project, has a highly intriguing, progressive premise. Is breaking ground ever in the forefront of your creative process, or do you just go with whatever spark you have at that moment?
CT: A bit of both to be honest. I like to break new ground but if I have an idea I like it doesn't matter how many times I'm told it's a cliche I'll go with it. Of course I'll always try to find a way to make my idea different somewhat from the mainstream.
FF: What can you tell us about Devil's Cove that you want readers to know?
CT: Don't show your kids this film. Just kidding. Well, no. I'm serious. It's not a kid's movie.
What do I want readers to know? Devil's Cove is very much a female driven project. The old cliche of the male serial killer seducing and killing women is turned on its head. Here, it is the women who seduce the men, steal their money and kill them.
FF: Fourteen years ago, you made the documentary A Stranger In My Homeland. What was it like many years later, when Zimbabwe finally had enough of Robert Mugabe and forced him out of office, especially since you were raising awareness many years prior?
CT: I think like many Zimbabweans I was elated when Mugabe went. Sadly though it looks as if things are not much better. The thing with Zimbabwe and Mugabe is that everyone was aware of his abuse of human rights but nobody did anything. Finally after 37 years he got kicked out ( in what I can only say is the most mild, courteous coup ever!) I was trying to raise awareness about Zimbabwe all over the world and I learned the hard way - that nobody really cares about Africa. People watch tv and close their eyes in horror at what Mugabe does but nobody does anything. It's the sad brutal reality.
FF: Voices are more important than ever now. As a female in the film industry, would you like to shed on your experiences and pass along some advice?
CT: Don't be a victim. If you aren't getting work make it happen. I was in Australia where there are virtually no decent roles for women, which was why I started writing my own stuff. You can either sit there and whine or you can do something about it.
FF: We like to send interviews off with the most basic question, based on why we are all cinephiles. What are your top five films of all time, and why?
1. My Fair Lady
CT: Well first and foremost is my childhood favourite: My Fair Lady. The music is brilliant and the story line is so strong and significant.
2. Zero Dark Thirty
CT: Brilliant film with a strong female lead. That was a movie which I saw fully jet-lagged and planned on sleeping through and it never gave me that opportunity. It was so good it kept me awake all the way through despite me having had 2 hours of sleep. Now that's the sign of a good movie.
3. The Piano
CT: This was another film that I started watching half asleep and ended up staying awake the whole way through. Just a brilliantly done movie.
4. Heavenly Creatures
CT: My mother hates that this is one of my best movies ( if you haven't seen it it's the intense story about a romance between two teenage girls and the climax is they kill the one's mother.....) But it is such an amazing film. Peter Jackson at his best. Even though I've seen it a million times, every time I rewatch the murder scene, I still feel intense as if seeing it for the first time. The art of a brilliant filmmaker.
5. Notting Hill
CT: I'll end off on a nice one. Love this movie. Best romantic comedy I've ever seen. I still cry each time I see it. Just funny, sad in parts with a happy ending. Everything a rom com should be
Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.