Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image
Slider Image
10th April 2024
Comedic beats
Title of film: Ultra Low
Director: Bianca Poletti
Production Company: Mirmade Productions + Disco Pants Inc.
Bianca Poletti nails the unpredictable, messy moments of friendship in her latest film Ultra Low. She talks to Niccolò Montanari about humour, chemistry and why she’ll probably steer away from making another film that’s 99% car shots on an indie budget.

Kate Hollowell and Allison Goldfarb inBianca Poletti’s Ultra Low

If we take into consideration previous productions such as Radical Honesty and I Am Whole, there seems to be a thematic thread connecting them to your latest short film, Ultra Low. What would you say these themes are? And why do you feel the desire to explore them through your work?

I’m really drawn to imperfect characters. People who are figuring it all out and stumbling along the way. Coming-of-age stories are my absolute favorite, and I think the darkest moments in our life and messy moments is where comedy soars. 

We’re all just figuring out how to survive, how to create, how to be alone, how to be in relationships, how to succeed in whatever way success makes sense to you, and those kinds of stories are the ones I feel passionate about and want to create. 

With ‘Radical Honesty’ and ‘Ultra Low’ they’re very much in the same world. Charmingly messy characters with one person who’s a bit unhinged and confidently themselves and their opposite reflected in the other character, fighting against herself as she stumbles into becoming her true self. 

‘I am whole’ had similar themes of self-discovery but in a more whimsical way. I also really love playing with dream worlds and magical realism. That’s something I’d love to explore more with comedies as well. 


Humour and chemistry between the actors are key elements to your work. What is your approach as a director in selecting the cast, building the chemistry and creating a neat, relatable and objectively funny dialogue?

Casting is one of my favorite parts of directing. A couple of things I’m always searching for are interesting faces, and actors who feel like they might share the essence of the character they’re playing in their actual lives. If not fully, then some little part of them, I can feel that the character they are playing connects with some part of their present or past life. As for chemistry, for Ultra Low specifically, Kate + Allison (who had never met before the film but run in the same circles) look to me like they’d be best friends, they have a similar style, a similar way of speaking and being, but they also feel like completely different versions of the same type of person. So I felt strongly that they’d feel like close friends and visually look like it as well. 



The majority of Ultra Low unfolds within the confines of a car. How did you approach the visual storytelling to keep the audience engaged in such a limited space? Any other challenges you came across during the production?

OOF so many ha. Note to self do not ever do a short again that’s 99 percent car shots… with an indie budget… IN Los Angeles. Kidding, sort of. The script was originally 24 pages and most of it took place in the car, I originally played with a variety of different shots to portray certain anxieties and emotions during their conversations, but the closer I got to the actual shoot, the more I really wanted it to feel like a true buddy cop movie. Staying in the uncomfortable CU’s and WIDES, letting silence exist between them, letting the chaos grow without cutting away from it too much. 

Challenge-wise, we came across quite a lot. We had originally booked a back lot to do all of the driving scenes on day 1, but we also had four different set ups to do that day, and all of the moments had a lot of dialogue and comedic beats we wanted to hit. SO in the end, on day one, we rushed to wrap up each set up, only allowing 1-2 takes per moment (luckily, all of the actors are brilliant + really nailed it all so quickly) barely made the last sunset at the park scene that’s the ending of the film, and we weren’t able to shoot any of the driving scenes fully. Day 2 we had two locations and a lot to cover, so we added on a 3rd day just for driving shots, where we rented a little photo studio in the Valley as our base camp , drove around random neighborhoods and stole all of the driving scene shots before neighbors  took too much notice of us. We were chased down a couple of times by angry neighbors, but overall we were able to get everything. 



Several lines in the film cracked us up. From the making sure that the actors receive IMDB credits to to the free lunch for the troupe. How do you keep track of these little gems – do you tend to write everything down for the right opportunity to use them? Or is it more of a spontaneous approach depending on the project?

Love reading this! I love a lot of the lines in the film as well! It’s a blend of things, Allison is a brilliant comedy writer, and the line about the IMDB credit was something that was always in the original script that we both could relate to and loved. A lot of the other comedic moments and beats are things that we improvised on the day between the actors and myself. I love prepping A LOT before a shoot, but then once the day starts I like to throw it all away a bit and find comedic moments organically on the day. 

For example close to the end of the film, when Kate dumps a water bottle on Allison’s character’s head and then there’s this sort of deadpan WIDE shot of the two of them driving in silence, I thought it would be hilarious if Kate’s character was still so self-involved and oblivious that she takes her phone out to snap a photo of Allison and then a selfie of herself in the moment, and then the following line about the water was improvised. So really a blend of on-the-day direction and some improv is my favorite way of working with comedies. 



Ultra Low is a collaboration between several production companies, namely OPC, Bacon, Zauberberg. Did the involvement of these production companies shape the vision of the film? And how did you navigate the collaboration to make sure everyone was satisfied?

OPC, Bacon, and Zauberberg are companies that represent me in Europe and Canada and have always been super supportive of my film work. I had sent them the script for ‘Ultra Low’ a year ago, and the visual deck for it with my ideas on how I wanted to tell the story, and how I saw it visually. They loved it and jumped on board with little to no questions asked. I’m so thankful for their consistent support always. Creatively, they gave me the freedom to bring this story to life in any way that I saw fit, they were just there to be a support system for anything I might need. I’m super super thankful to them and everyone who helped bring this project together. In particular my editor, Nina Sacharow at Cabin Edit, the best colorist, Mikey Rossiter, and my favorite music supervisor, Abbey Hendrix. 



What’s next for you as a director?

I’m working on a couple of different things! One is an animation short about anorexia, it’s something I dealt with as a teen, and body image is something girls and women struggle with a lot, and have over the years. I wanted to explore that theme in a visual way that we don’t see often. I’m also working on two feature films (my first ones!) One is with an incredible actress Nikki Lorenzo and John Hawkes, I just finished doing a music film with the two of them. (See trailer here). It went so well that we’re working on developing a film together. The other one is a coming of age story I’m very very excited about exploring. I’m also working on an art installation with my very talented production designer friend Sarah Fern. Lots of fun stuff in the works!
















Ultra Low

Directed by: Bianca Poletti
Written by: Allison Goldfarb
Produced by: Shayna Gianelli
Starring: Allison Goldfarb, John Hein, Kate Hollowell, Rick Darge, Kieran Llewis and Rena Pilar
Production Companies: Mirmade Productions + OPC + Bacon + Zauberberg + Disco Pants Inc.
Production Manager: Theresa Marie
Assistant Producer: Abbey Jones
Coordinators: Dominic Cura and Austin Tong
AD: Ryan James
EPs: Miranda Kahn, Harland Weiss, Mette Jermiin, Emily Harris, Frank Siegl, and Andrea Roman-Perse
Cinematography by: Kayla Hoff
Gaffer: Pablo "Saint" Lopez
PD: Sara Fern
Color by: Mikey Rossiter
Edited by: Nina Sacharow
Assistant Editor: Astrid Franco
Edit House: Cabin Edit
Music Supervision by: Abbey Hendrix and Julianne Wilson
Sound Mixing Vinny Alfano
Sound: Allison Brady
Steadicam OP: Devon Catucci
Costumes by: Christina Flannery
Make up: Julie DiMartino
Titles: Fifty One Eight
Promo Photography: Lauren Withrow


Radical Honesty

Directed by: Bianca Poletti
Written by: Allison Goldfarb
DP: Corey C. Waters
Produced by: Shayna Gianelli
EPs: Mindy Goldberg + Jackie Calleiro x Bianca Poletti
Production Co: Epoch Films + Disco Pants Inc.
Starring: Allison Goldfarb + John Hein
Edit by: Nina Sacharow
Color by: Mikey Rossiter
Music Supervision: Abbey Hendrix
Post sound: Peter Trepke
Wardrobe by: Christina Flannery
Titles by: Fifty One Eight Inc
Opening song: 'Nobody but Me' by The Stunners


I am Whole

Directed + Story by: Bianca Poletti
Production companies: Frenzy + Zauberberg
Produced by: Shayna Gianelli
EPs: Alex Funada, Elsa Rokotoson, Capucine Charbonnier, Frank Siegal, and Andrea Roman Perse
Story by: Bianca Poletti
Poem written by: Nikki Lorenzo
Cinematography by: Kayla Hoff
Starring: Reina Hardesty, Brando Crawford, Natasha Hamilton and Amelie Barrero
Soundtrack: Emilie Mosseri
Track: Slumber
Music supervisor: Abbey Hendrix
Edited by: Dusten Zimmerman
Edit house: Cabin Edit
Color: Mikey Rossiter
PD: Sara Fern
Wardrobe: Keyla Marquez
Sound mixing: Chris Nungary
VFX: Zauberberg
Titles: Fiftyoneeight
Promo + BTS stills: Lauren Withrow

Facebook Imperfect Harmony

Director: Bianca Poletti
Production Company: Epoch Films
Agency / Client: Facebook
Creatives: Mo Osunbor, Tom Francesconi, Andy Hekimian
CW: Mutaurwa
Agency Producer: Tom G
Producer: Kelsey M.
EP: Jacki Calleiro
DP: Corey C. Waters
Song: Olivia Rodrigo 'Good 4 u'
AD: Chad Antonelli
PD: Andrea Leigh
Wardrobe: Christina Flannery
Editor: Ali Mao
Colorist: Beau Leon
VFX: Framestore
Makeup: Kiki Benet