Interview: Nitehawk Shorts Festival Winner Saj Pothiawala


The top prize for the 2016 Nitehawk Shorts Festival went to the very short that opened the festival: the odd, wistful and funny VEGAS directed by New York filmmaker Saj Pothiawala. We caught up with Saj, still caught in the glow of his win, at the Shorts Fest after party and talked the late night inspiration for the short, modern dating, loneliness and his plans for his prize post-production package from Heard City and Nice Shoes

Nitehawk: Tell us about your short.
Saj Pothiawala: It’s called Vegas and it’s about a man who gets stood up on an online date, and on his way home he encounters an eccentric prostitute at a bus stop, and he makes the decision to solicit her.

NH: I mean she’s more than eccentric, she’s a cosplay prostitute.
SP: Yeah, she’s a cosplay prostitute.

NH: What made you want to make her a cosplay prostitute? Was it like a commentary on nerd culture or was it based on something that actually happened?
SP: I think any time you pick a unique theme or take on something, because everyone has seen a movie about a prostitute before, if you pick something that’s a little bit more unique, then you by necessity have to figure out what those implications are.

Q&A: THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION w/ director Penelope Spheeris

On Thursday, November 3, our music-in-film series, Music Driven, invited the great filmmaker Penelope Spheeris to the theater to talk her breakthrough documentary: The Decline of Western Civilization. Chatting it up with Nitehawk programmer John Woods, Spheeris discusses her troubled childhood, the punk-ness of safe-spaces and her pioneering work as a woman grinding in the film industry.


On Monday, October 3, 2016, Nitehawk hosted the three stars of one of 2016’s most bizarre, and definitely greasiest, films: THE GREASY STRANGLER: Sky Elobar, Elizabeth De Razzo & Michael St. Michaels where they talk about the film’s music, greasing up, prosthetics and bikini waxes.

Q&A: AMERICAN HONEY w/ producers Julia Oh and Lars Knudson

On Thursday, September 29 2016, Nitehawk hosted a special advanced screening of AMERICAN HONEY with the film’s producers Julia Oh and Lars Knudson in house to talk with our Senior Film Programmer, Caryn Coleman. Together, they discuss casting the film, defying audience expectations, and soundtrack as character. 

Q&A: DESERT CATHEDRAL w/ writer/director Travis Gutierrez Senger & actor Lee Tergesen

On Wednesday, September 21 2016, writer/director Travis Gutierrez Sengar came in for a special Local Color screening of his new found-footage film DESERT CATHEDRAL. Along with the film’s lead, Lee Tergesen, and moderated by film programmer Tilson Allen-Merry, the three discuss the real life basis of the story.

Lo-Res: What’s Playing, Week of September 23, 2016

Daytime Schedule

hqdefault-3Vertigo (1958) – Maybe you’ve heard of it.

hqdefault-2Ramones Shock Treatment – Gimme-gimme shock treatment Gimme-gimme shock treatment Gimme-gimme shock treatment I wanna-wanna shock treatment

1239269576_2Max Fleischer’s Superman (1941) – Well animated Golden-era Superman cartoon that’s kind of racist sometimes. Grandparents, right?

ohgod12-jpegOh God You Devil (1984) – George Burns is God. George Burns is Satan.

Q&A: Director Elizabeth Wood and the Cast of WHITE GIRL

On Friday, September 3, director Elizabeth Wood joined us for the opening night of her debut film WHITE GIRL. Moderated by Filmwax Radio host Adam Schartoff, Wood brought along the film’s principal cast.

Q&A: Director Bruce Weber & Cinematographer Jeff Preiss on Their Chet Baker Documentary LET’S GET LOST

On Thursday, July 30 Nitehawk’s Music Driven series and Mass Appeal hosted legendary photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber and cinematographer Jeff Preiss for a special 35mm screening of their Chet Baker documentary LET’S GET LOST. Led by Mass Appeal’s Bucky Turco the two talk about their connection with Chet’s music and working with a subject who is, well, kind of scary.