Sophia Peer is a writer, director and artist currently working on a scripted series based on and starring an actor she met through a craigslist casting call. Sophia was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, where she began her filmmaking career by directing her parents, who still frequently make appearances in her work. She has directed music videos for artists such as Paramore, The National, Interpol and Julien Baker. Often focusing on characters, both real and fictional, who struggle to fit in, her work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of Art, Anthology Film Archives, Contemporary Arts Center, The Queens Museum and MoMa. Sophia received her B.A. from SUNY Purchase and her M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.
What do I do best?
Parallel park and convince people to let me film on their property.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Tenacity and accepting myself, even when I feel like I’ve made a mistake, and acting fearlessly when I’m actually really scared of a lot of things.
What are my aspirations?
My current focus is to create a series that only I could make. I hope to continue to spotlight fresh characters who wouldn’t typically be considered camera-ready and present them as the heroes they are.
My Biggest Success?
I’ve found a few different ways to support my ideas and myself. Writing and shooting my first pilot, felt the best.
My Most Challenging Moment?
I don’t know that there’s been one giant moment that get’s the award for Most Challenging. There have been struggles, but all of them led to new experiences for better or worse. Like every good super-hero story, I’m surprised at how much smarter and stronger I get every time something shitty happens and I have to prevail. Shout out to all the traumatic incidents!
After watching Point Break in 1991, it was- “Fear causes hesitation and hesitation will make your worst fears comes true”. Bodhi said that right before jumping out of a plane or robbing a bank and I remember writing it on the inside of my closet door in pink sharpie. Right now it’s- “The only things you regret are the things you don't do”. I feel comfortable taking risks and while that’s led me into hard times, it’s also made me better at life.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I’ll phrase this like I’m rambling after accepting an award:
I’d like to thank my friend Christine Connor for liking my photos in college, professors Sam Binkley, Ed Bowes, Mary Patierno, Shelly Silver and Grahame Weinbren for making me feel like I could really be a filmmaker, the bands Air Waves and Ponytail for commissioning me to direct my first music videos, The Queens Museum, Contemporary Arts Center and all the galleries that have shown my work and supported me, the talented friends who’ve given up their spare time to help me make videos for free- especially Chris Keyes who has sound-tracked some of my greatest works, producers Heather Brown, Michelle Cameron, Jess Cohen and Rachael Morrison who have taken risks with me when the creative went above and beyond the budget and timeline, artists Karen Azoulay, Erica Magrey, Will Rahilly, Lauryn Siegel, Jennifer Sullivan, and Brina Thurston, directors Allen Cordell and Ryan Dickie, cinematographers Pierce Jackson, Daniele Sarti, Pat Scola, Adam Uhl and Zoe White, editor Matt Posey, and writer Annie Sicherman, who have all inspired me and helped me make meaningful work. I’d also like to thank some celebrities- Maria Bamford and Amy Sedaris for doing all the many different things they love all at once, everyone involved with the shows Jackass and Wonder Showzen, and director Harmony Korine for validating a lot of my impulses at a time when I really needed that, Ingmar Bergman for making Scenes from a Marriage-the most terrifying movie I’ve ever seen, and Sophie Calle, Patty Chang and Maggie Lee for the work they’ve done with and/or about their mothers. The most gratitude goes to my parents for being my first subjects and always agreeing to be in my videos.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Deserts, casinos, old school Italian restaurants, beaches, the roof of my building and my parents’ basement.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I framed a post-it note on which writer and close friend, Annie Sicherman, drew the first frame of the first scene we wrote together. It hangs above my bedside table. As for products, according to my Amazon purchase history, I buy a lot of hard drives.
"Turn Out the Lights" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdBu21i9aEE