VIP - VideoChannel Interview Project

Yeomans, Erika

Erika Yeomans
US film maker




Interview:10 questions

1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background 

I live in New York City, but was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida. I graduated from New York University where I studied at the Experimental Theater Wing. I was the co-founder and artistic director of the performance art collective DOORIKA (1989-1999) where I collaborated with different performers and visual artists in Chicago and New York.

2. When, how and why started you filming?

The work with DOORIKA was very visual. Eventually, I started to introduce video into the shows. In 1995, I started making experimental videos on my own. One of my first conceptual narratives, In Search of Bas Jan’s Miraculous, was a mixed media video based on the art/life of Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader.

3. What kind of subjects have your films? 

I am interested in all subjects.

4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
For the past few years, I have focused on making experimental narratives inspired by different cinematic genres: horror, musical, western, noir. The one principle my videos share is that I try to create work that plays off of opposing qualities in order to create a narrative tension – at times both stupid/funny and dark/tragic. Currently, I am working on a new project that is a return to my earlier work when I was directing theater – less narrative and more associative.

5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
It depends on who is collaborating with me. I have shot on my Nikon Super 8, Sony DVCAM, Super 16, and Beta Camcorder (old school!). I’ve edited on both Final Cut and Avid. For Boo!, we shot on HVX200 – HD and edited it in Final Cut.

6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general 
and you personally?
There is an incredible amount of new media being made and so many avenues to view it that at times it can be exhausting to follow it all. But the plus side is that there are more platforms for artists to get their work seen outside film festivals and galleries.

7. How do you finance your films? 

Not easily. Usually I pay out of pocket. I apply for some grants, but in the US there really is not a lot of money for the arts. For Boo!, I raised money by having a fiscal sponsor where friends could donate to the project and get a tax benefit through the agency.

8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team? 
if you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer? 

I have worked by myself and with a full production crew. It depends on the project and money.

9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
To name a few: Douglas Sirk, Chantal Ackerman, Ulrike Ottinger, Kathryn Bigelow, Lewis Klahr, Leslie Thornton, Nicolas Roeg, Michael Snow, Hitchcock, Gerhard Richter, Mark Tansey, Walton Ford

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?

My dream is that there will be more grants made available to US artists and my plan is to have more exhibitions in the US and Europe.

Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel?

My website:

Bunny Boy

Chubby Buddy

Death Comes for Britney Spears the Musical!

Grand Gorge