Double Feature: Filmmaker and Musician Zoë Hoetzel

Zoë Hoetzel

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Zoë Hoetzel is a Sophomore at NYU Tisch, majoring in Film and TV. Zolita is her badass 90s femme alter-music-ego. After releasing her first music video for her single, “Teen Dream,” we sat down with Zoë to find out how she combines film and music to make magic happen.

Interview conducted by Hanna Armour.

Let’s begin with your background in music. Is it an area that you’ve worked in before?

Music has always been a huge part of my life – I used to play bluegrass guitar in competitions (I think there’s still a video of my small child self on youtube that has like 400K views [laughs]). And then I started writing songs in elementary school. I remember the first song I wrote was about how hard life was because my mom was making me eat broccoli! I was 10 I think. It’s when I started working with my producer Ken Stacey in 10th grade I became extremely infatuated with music. But because I was super into my photography and film music was always like a side thing.

Does your film work influence your music, or the other way around?

They’re interchangeable. Sometimes I’ll think of the visual first and then write music I know will accompany that visual I had, but then sometimes I’ll write a song first and then think of the visuals. That usually takes me longer because I’m the worst at making decisions and when I’m listening to a song a lot of different visuals pop into my head that won’t necessarily fit together!

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For the Teen Dream music video, what was the production process like? How did you make your casting, location, outfit choices?

For Teen Dream I really liked the idea of a feminine teenage girl surrounded by pink, singing about another girl (in a very 90’s “I have a crush, so I’m gonna stare into the distance & write in my diary” sort of way). But it’s obviously supposed to be ironic. I mean, there’s barbies hanging from the ceiling! I’m dressed as a hyper feminine preteen but I’m singing about lusting over another girl! For casting, I knew I only wanted to be the narrator and not the protagonist in the party story. Susannah Liguori who plays the main girl has such an awesome look so she was an easy cast. And for the “bitch in black” I knew I wanted a sultry Angelina Jolie type, and Chelcea fits that so perfectly. Location was my room and backyard! It was just heavily arted. For wardrobe I knew I wanted mine to be pink and cutesy but kinda sexy and then for the party goers I just wanted everyones outfits to have a cool 90’s influence.

In comparison to your films for school projects, where does this video fall in a spectrum of the kind of work you want to produce in the future?

Most of the films I do for school projects and whatnot are pretty fast paced and experimental. This video was a lot slower and had more of a narrative structure. It’s hard to say about the future because I’m interested in so many film types! I always tell people narrative isn’t really my thing but I have a short film coming out within a month so I guess there is something about it that interests me. But music videos are my favorite thing in the world so I think I’ll be doing a lot more of that this year, whether they’re my own or another artists!

Tell us more about this short film.

I shot my short film GIRL//FRIEND over the summer and it was funded through Kickstarter. It’s about three notorious best friends and what happens when one of them suspects the other two are having an affair. It’s kind of the threes a crowd idea, psychological but with a mean girls feel. It’s in it’s final stages of post-production! I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

Check out the “Teen Dream” music video below!

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