Fox Maxy attends the 2023 Sundance Film Festival “Gush” Premiere at Redstone Cinemas on January 20, 2023 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
By Stephanie Ornelas
If there’s one thing Fox Maxy’s Gush teaches audiences, it’s this: There’s an artist in all of us.
“Just go out and make [a film]. Because look at what’s happening around us,” Maxy says during her film’s post-premiere Q&A at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
Looking back, she revisits a time when she decided to make the experimental film right in the middle of the pandemic.
Making her feature film debut in this year’s New Frontier category, Maxy uses a decade’s worth of personal archives, home movies, animation, and found footage that take viewers on a journey inside her mind. Through music and constant vibrant visuals that never stop throughout the film, it’s a self-reflection of personal experiences — both good and bad — and a celebration of healing. Maxy tackles tough subjects in an artful and poetic way.
“I’m pretty intentional when I film something. It’s all love,” she says. “If I love this person or this memory so much, I just want to revisit it.”
And that’s what Maxy does, using footage of people who have brought her inspiration over the years, including interviews with famed figures and conversations with friends.
“Film is so fucking fun. It doesn’t have to be so serious all the time,” she says.
One audience member was wowed by the editing and asked Maxy to explain the thought process behind it.
“I hate sitting and looking at a screen.I would rather be walking around,” she says. “So when I’m editing, I’m thinking, ‘How can I make this enjoyable?’ And I think the layers come as part of that.”
Gush has its own unique cinematic language, and while Maxy acknowledges that it may not translate exactly the same to every viewer, sometimes that’s what personal filmmaking is all about.
“[The film] is emotional,” she says “To me, it’s very clear what the story is, but I don’t have expectations of how people will translate it. It’s funny because I showed it once at a bar a year and a half ago and again in October at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). And both of those times, people kept saying, ‘Wow, we want more. It wasn’t long enough.’ Then when it played here [at Sundance], a lot of people walked out halfway through. I thought maybe it should have been shorter. So I can’t really expect anything. I really do make it for me, and if I feel good about it, that’s really all I can do.”
“I’m grateful that people can relate to it, because that’s my brain and I really don’t find it that easy to relate.” Maxy says