Presenting Fusion Doc Challenge finalist Filmmaker Jesse Kerman and his film “Don’t Call Me Cute”

December 19, 2015

What’s your Fusion Doc Challenge film about?

Our film Don’t Call Me Cute follows pioneering 60s rock musician June Millington from the early stages of her career and struggles with being a female musician in a male-dominated industry, through to the founding of her all-girl rock camp that teaches girls and young women to stand up for themselves, which is exemplified by the story of a band that formed there called Kaliope Jones which made waves on the internet in 2015 when they called out sexist judging commentary at a battle of the bands they participated in.

"Don't Call Me Cute"

How did you choose your subject?

Scott and I knew June Millington from earlier projects, so we were familiar with her camp, The Institute for Musical Arts, and the excellent work they do. When the local news sites started picking up on the Kaliope Jones story in September, we saw the connection to IMA and June, and our interest was piqued. Everything came together once we got our theme and genre because Kaliope Jones’ story fit so well into the overall arc of June’s career and life’s work, which in turn fit so well into the Moving Forward theme this year.

What was the hardest thing about the challenge?

There were many technical challenges we faced due to our decision to shoot in 4k with 3 cameras, and some unexpected issues with translating our edits between our 3 editing programs. Ultimately we managed to resolve all of this in the 11th hour, just in time to upload our movie with only 9 minutes to spare.

What was the best thing about the challenge?

Speaking personally, this is my 3rd time out of 4 Doc Challenges, where my team placed in the top 12, and whether or not I make it to the top 12, I always love the challenge of it, and how it pushes me into new creative territory, while at the same time is self-contained enough that I can fit it into my busy life easier than if I were making a movie outside of the competition with no hard deadlines. The restrictions of genre, theme and time-limit encourage creativity and completion.

What’s your biggest take away from the challenge?

This year I learned that I need to spend just as much time pre-producing the post-production as on the production itself.

"Don't Call Me Cute"

 What is on the docket now for your film career/What are you working on?

My main work is as a self-employed motion graphics artist, which keeps my quite busy most of the time, but I’m also currently working on the post-production for a feature film written and directed by the author Stephen Elliott, while I also continue to develop various documentary projects.

Anything else you want your audience to know?

My work, including three past Doc Challenge entries (two also teamed up with Scott Hancock), can be found at My feature documentary that grew out of a Doc Challenge finalist entry from 2009 (Lorelei Lee), which is called Public Sex, Private Lives, was released on iTunes earlier this year.

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