LITTLE WHITE LIES is a great movie magazine, we’re always excited when a new issue comes to the store. The new one is almost out. We talked to editor David Jenkins.
Where is the magazine based and is editing it your full time job?
Our offices are based in Shoreditch in East London, a location often chided by outsiders as being full of pretentious artschool burn-outs, but is actually totally normal if you spend a bit of time there. I edit Little White Lies, and have done (at time of writing) for just over a year. I love writing about movies, so I try to do as much of that as possible.
You call yourself a magazine about “Truth & Movies”. Why truth?
I guess for two reasons: one because it alludes to the fact that we always try to be honest when we're talking about movies. And honesty breeds passion and sincerity. When we talk about films, we try to do so in a very objective way – so it's that old cliché of every film has the potential to be a masterpiece before you've seen it. And it also has the potential to be terrible, which is most often the case. I think our Truth & Movies tagline also offers a little ironic counterpoint to the fact that we're called Little White Lies, were anyone inclined to take the title too literally.
Why do you use so many illustrations in the magazine?
Because that's part of the magazine's DNA – what it essentially is. And it gives us a reason to exist, also. There are many fine, quality movie magazines out there which use press photography to illustrate the editorial, so we just want to explore movies in a way which is different and makes LWLies… if not "stand out" from the pack, then not overlap with the formulas used by those existing titles. I also think that movies are pieces of art that take years to make, so why shouldn't we create a magazine which amply reflects all that time, energy, creativity and skill?
You are about to publish a book on movies, what is the difference for you between editing a book or a magazine?
I must say I find both super difficult. I think with doing the magazine, we have total creative control over it and we can pretty much run whatever we want, however we want. But with our book, What I Love About Movies, because this was in collaboration with Faber & Faber, other considerations have to be taken as to how it will be received by the public. However, I must say that our editor at Faber, Walter Donahue, was and is an absolute delight had total faith that we'd produce something vaguely workable. Whether we achieved that is something you'd have to ask him.
Which magazines do you read? Which ones inspired you?
Movies are my main passion so the magazines I tend to read include Sight & Sound, CinemaScope, Film Comment, things like that… Places where I can find rich editorials about film. Although I have ideas about and appreciation for design, I tend to leave that part of the magazine to our creative director, Timba Smits. He has that base well and truly covered.
LWL is loved in our store for the strong covers, how do you decide what the cover will be?
It's not a very exact science at all. We go and see movies, we see one we like, we decide we want to make a magazine about it. End of. No, but we obviously do consider whether there is design potential for each film, but even when nothing instantly reveals itself, our designers love the challenge of creating these visual templates and perhaps trying to present the movie in a way which is slightly alternative to how it's being presented elsewhere. For instance, Richard Linklater's Boyhood is a movie which is shot in a way which is very conventional and doesn't have any special effects or sub-themes which lend themselves to an obvious over-arching design style. But it was thought the film worked a bit like a graphic novel splayed out on the big screen, so we decided to go with that.
Do you think you will keep publishing LWL in print or do you also consider to publish exclusively online?
LWLies could only exist as a print product, as that's essentially what it is. It's not just the words and the pictures, it's the smell, the feel of the paper, the satisfaction of having them stacked together on a shelf. Unless holograms get really big really soon, there's no way LWLies will be migrating solely to an online platform. The very nature of the internet doesn't yet cater for the things that make our magazine a magazine and not a website. And yet, the publishing world is constantly going through radical changes, so you never know what might happen. I don't like to speculate but, random disasters aside, I think the mag will be around for some time yet... *crosses fingers and toes*
Did you see Maps to the Stars by Cronenberg yet? What did you think?
Not only have we seen it, we've made an entire issue of the magazine based on it. Issue 55, should be with you soon. Very proud of this issue.