By Crystal Harrell

Lola Blanc is a tour de force of the mystically musical and cinematically curious—donning many hats as a filmmaker, actor, musician and co-host of the Trust Me podcast. Blanc is premiering her film, Pruning, at the 2023 Palm Springs ShortFest. Pruning is a psychological horror film about a right-wing commentator whose rhetoric inspires a violent event, starring Emmy-nominated Madeline Brewer (Handmaid’s Tale, Cam) and is produced and presented by Rustic Films.

Blanc’s film directorial work has been spotlighted by Pitchfork, Fangoria, and prestigious short film channel Omeleto, and has been selected by film festivals including Fantastic Fest, Hollyshorts, Brooklyn Horror, Newport Beach Film Festival, and Nantucket Film Festival.

Coachella Valley Weekly’s Crystal Harrell sat down with Lola Blanc to talk about the world premiere of her film and the creative process that went into crafting a horror short.


Crystal: Thank you so much for talking with us, Lola.

Lola: Thank you for having me.

Crystal: So tell us a little bit about the plot of Pruning.

Lola: Pruning is about a far-right political commentator whose rhetoric inspires a mass shooting and then she has to contend with her conscience in a sort of extreme way. It’s a horror.

Crystal: I’ve seen it and there’s definitely some horrific elements to it. What inspired the concept of the story?

Lola: I’m fascinated by some of these figures that we see on television or on YouTube who are spouting really extreme rhetoric or really hateful rhetoric. Because as I watch them, it tends to strike me that they can’t believe everything that they’re saying. So I started to wonder what would it be like if you were saying these things on television, but part of you knew that it was wrong and what would happen if the worst case scenario happened. How would you deal with that, how would you respond to that? It was just a very interesting character study question for me.

Crystal: And not only are you a director; you have so many other creative outlets. Millions of streams on Spotify, podcasting… What got you into the idea of creating a film, first of all?

Lola: Oh, great question. I come from music originally. I’ve been doing music my whole life, but I loved making music videos so much and I started to notice that I would watch directors directing my videos or directing me as an actor and I’m like, ‘I can do this’. And I also have really specific, clear ideas of what I want to see that other people can’t necessarily translate the same way that I can. And I just really, really grew to love filmmaking, and to be honest, right now, directing is my first love. Well, it’s not my first love, but it’s my most love.

Crystal: And with the creative process, is it different every time depending on what medium you’re working with?

Lola: Yeah, it really just depends. So much of my work will start with just like an idea about the world that I want to convey, but then sometimes it’s just like, ‘oh, that would be a cool visual’ or ‘that would be a cool sound’. It totally depends.

Crystal: And going back to your film, Pruning, what was your favorite memory from working on the project?

Lola: Working with Madeline Brewer was just an incredible learning experience, to be honest, because she’s just so talented. She’s such a force, and I had never worked with actors who brought such a strong point of view to a character, which she did, and that was surprising and challenging in a really good way. Just in general, shoots are stressful. We had to add another day last minute. It was really difficult, but overcoming that with my team was a really amazing experience.

Crystal: What are you looking forward to the most introducing your film to the festival?

Lola: I’m just excited for people to see it. I’m hoping a lot of people turn up. I’m excited to see what they think and hopefully they like it.

Crystal: Do you have any film influences or favorite directors that kind of guided you in the process of making the film?

Lola: There were specific films that we were referencing, like Black Swan was sort of a similar character study that I was looking at for this, as well as We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lynne Ramsay. I also just love Michael Haneke. I don’t know how much he directly inspired this film, but just in general, I would say those sensibilities are super inspiring to me. I just really love art house, dark directors.

Crystal: And going forward with future plans, do you have any other projects in the works that you’re looking forward to?

Lola: I have a new song coming out that also has a short film music video accompanying it, so it’s got dialogue and everything. It’s a full-on film. And then after that, the hope is that I’ll be able to make a film from my future script.

Crystal: That’s excellent. I know you have a very dark aesthetic. Is that something that you want to stay constant in your art, or are you looking to new ideas or styles?

Lola: Yeah, my heart is in the dark. I definitely don’t want to stay in horror forever, but I will say that my sensibilities are definitely on the darker side. My heart is dark. My next script I’m working on is called “Everyone You Love Will Die”, so I’m staying in the dark territory for sure.

Crystal: To finish off my interview, do you have a favorite horror film?

Lola: You know, it’s not even really horror, but I always come back to Funny Games by Michael Haneke. It’s really disturbing, and not many movies can disturb me that much, and that’s why I love it.

Follow Lola Blanc online for the latest updates on future projects:

Official Website:



Trust Me Podcast: