He’s the brains behind the wickedly fun Cinephile: A Card Game, and the author of A is for Auteur and the My First Movie collection of children’s books, which introduce young minds to some of cinema’s greatest – if not always age-appropriate – films. Cory Everett chats to us about how his lifelong passion for film – and his two young kids – inspired his gorgeously designed ‘lil Cinephile range of books and apparel, all of which are available through the ACMI Shop.
Jayden Masciulli: Tell us about your creative practice – what motivates and inspires you?
Cory Everett: As a lifelong cinephile, film inspires me. As an art director and maker of stuff for people who love film, I’m inspired by all the beautiful, creative work across the entire spectrum of film culture. I try to be very aware of what’s out there, so that we’re always adding something to the conversation and not doing something that’s already been done. All Cinephile products started with the thought, “I can’t believe nobody has made this yet!”
My creative practice is developing an idea for a really long time – sometimes years – and then eventually putting the pieces together to finally make the thing. I think it’s because I’m kind of a perfectionist but when I started making stuff, I really had no idea what I was doing. So, it can take me a really long time to make things I’m proud of. But so far, so good!
JM: Is there a favourite project you’ve worked on? What made it so special?
CE: Making Cinephile: A Card Game was really a life-changing experience for me. It was an idea I’d been carrying around for years – one deck of beautifully designed cards as a prompt to play all the movie games like Six Degrees or Filmography that I used to play on road trips and days at the beach. Then suddenly I got wildly motivated to pursue in early 2018. I’d spent my entire career working in digital advertising so though I have work I’m very proud of, I’d never really made a thing before, not something physical, something I could hold or put on my shelf.
I recruited one of my best friends, the incredibly talented illustrator Steve Isaacs and within a few months, we got a Kickstarter campaign up and running. We were funded in just five days and on the very same day received an email from Penguin Random House about partnering to release the game, which we eventually did in 2019. So, what I thought might be a fun indie project for a couple of months turned into a brand I’ve been working on pretty much every day for the past four and a half years.
JM: What was the inspiration behind the ‘lil Cinephile collection?
CE: During the same burst of inspiration for the game, I also had an idea for a line of products for cinephiles with young kids. The inspiration was that I was a film nerd who had a young kid. (I have two now.) As a parent, you see a lot of products made for parents to share their interests with their child – no matter how niche – from hip-hop to H.P. Lovecraft. But for some reason there wasn’t a ton out there for film nerds with kids. And so, ‘lil Cinephile was born. Our first release was A is for Auteur, an alphabet book of filmmakers from A to Z, also illustrated by Isaacs.
The next project was even more ambitious. Not just one book but a series called My First Movie. Each book focuses on a genre/era of (not-necessarily-kid-friendly) film and the first three instalments are My First Giallo Horror, My First French New Wave and My First Film Noir. They’re really fun and funny and beautifully illustrated by French illustrator Julie Olivi, so I’m excited to finally get them out in the world.
JM: What would be the first Giallo Horror/French New Wave/Noir film you’d introduce to your child (when they’re much older of course)?
CE: I saw RoboCop in theatres when I was five and a half and it only led to me being a giant movie nerd, so what’s the worst that could happen? But part of the fun of the new series is that it’s about films you should not show your children until they’re much, much older, (giallo, especially). But that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn about them now! But when they’re much older (let’s say teenagers), I’d show them The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, Pierrot Le Fou and Murder, My Sweet.
JM: Who is your favourite auteur?
CE: When I was fifteen, I saw Boogie Nights in theatres, and it completely blew my mind. I have been a devout Paul Thomas Anderson fan ever since. Nobody else comes close for me.
JM: Is there a favourite exhibition or film from ACMI you remember?
CE: I was fortunate enough to visit ACMI on a trip to Australia in 2016 during Julian Rosefeldt's amazing Manifesto exhibition with Cate Blanchett. But my favourite prop was the Interceptor from Mad Max. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
JM: What are you currently watching, playing, streaming?
CE: Right now, I’m just coming off my annual horror marathon (I loved Barbarian, Pearl and Bones and All), so I’m currently playing catch-up on all the great non-horror movies I missed: Moonage Daydream, Armageddon Time, Triangle of Sadness, TÁR, Decision To Leave. But once I catch my breath, it’ll be time to start working on the next My First Movie series, so I’ll be diving in and watching a ton of Hollywood musicals, Spaghetti Westerns and Japanese crime films. You know… for kids!