The short film Mountain Lodge played at the Soho Horror Film Festival: Pride Edition this weekend, and we got the chance to quiz filmmaker Jordan Wong about the project.
What can you tell us about the plot of Mountain Lodge?
The plot of Mountain Lodge is rather simple and all happens within the format of a desktop film. It traces the path of a series of reblogs from a Tumblr post that I believe dates back to 2014 or 2016 about a specific candle (Mountain Lodge) from the company Yankee Candle. The prose reflecting on the smell is comedic, homoerotic (at least my reading of it), tender, and super horny. The film is very much a product of growing up with the internet and continuing to exist on that rapidfire plane. The film is meant to, in some ways, reenact the experience of traversing the internet and parachuting into niche subcultures. I imagine the experience of watching the film to be a little bit like the Backlot Tour at Universal Studios (or some other adjacent ride like it) where you’re riding a tram that slowly traverses this unknown path where you are hit with a barrage of stimuli, but the whole time you’re safe inside the tram. The only thing missing is smell-o-vision.
Described as a mystery comedy, how did you blend these tropes together?
I guess the mystery acts more by way of everything that is shown or read aloud in the film is hopefully surprising and unexpected. Not necessarily in a horror or frightening way, but maybe more like entering a mysterious buffet where all the food offerings are covered until you encounter them. The comedy aspect is very much a kind on nonsensical millennial/gen x kind of humor that speaks the language of memes and internet language, while also, oftentimes, making no logical sense but more focused on (for lack of a better word) a “vibe”. The format of windows populating and disappearing is meant to act how computer windows act but with it’s kind of aesthetically pleasing logic. I guess a huge mystery is what the candle smells like, which can be described only so much.
Where did the idea come from and what was the shooting schedule like?
The film came about when I was still in grad school. In my last year, I was taking an “essay film” course and it happened to also overlap with the onset of covid/lockdown. Unsurprisingly and like with the rest of the world, I was hit hard with a deep depression and as I do when I am depressed, I reach into the world of Tumblr. It’s one of the few places that still manages to make me laugh in the most unexpected of ways and I came about this old post from the archives from years ago; it’s quite old but aged like fine wine as I still find it quite hilarious to read and it made me wonder if it would translate well into a moving image piece. I recorded the post with a text to speech app, which laid the groundwork for the film and was effectively my timeline. After that, I just began mining tumblr/youtube/etc for content that felt relevant and funny. The most important aspect of the project was that it was somewhat mindless, but most of all fun, which it was. It was also a very fast turnaround time. All my personal work traditionally takes at least a year or so from start to finish, but this project took about 2 weekends from start to finish.
Was it tricky to film during the pandemic?
Luckily, this style of filmmaking was completely internet based and screenrecording. It was quite easy to shoot and could rerecord myself “performing” mouse actions very easily and quickly.
How pleased are you to be playing at the Soho Horror Film Festival?
I’m incredibly excited! I worry that my film isn’t quite within line with the overall theme but I am honored to be included. It’s such a silly little film that I honestly made with no intention of showing beyond a classroom and to be screening it at real festivals is so wild to me and fills me with great joy.
What is your next directing job?
I’m wrapping up on a more serious short animated film about my family but I will hopefully be starting a new film in the Fall, which will be much less serious and more in line with Mountain Lodge. It will be about Supernatural and a very popular ship in the 15 season series.
Read our review of Mountain Lodge