Zoe Maltby ‘10 looks back through the lens: Then a student, now a filmmaker

Andie Goldmacher, Staff Writer

Zoe Maltby (‘10) is an actress, filmmaker, and playwright, who used the lessons she learned from Art of Film and the friends she made in the HMTC (Horace Mannn Theatre Company) to establish her career.

Maltby is currently attending graduate school at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, which is the first public film school in New York.

At Horace Mann, she participated in the HMTC, the HMDC (Horace Mann Dance Company), The Record, Model UN, and the Women’s Issues Club.

“HMTC was a really nurturing and safe environment” in a necessary time of development in a teenager’s life, she said. Within the HMTC, she made lifelong friends and she currently collaborates with many of her former HMTC peers. Her friend Elizabeth Power (’09), who she performed with in the show King Lear as a sophomore, is now her roommate and directs most of her plays.

Her junior and senior years at the school, Maltby took the advanced dance class and Theatre, Dance, and Film Studies Chair Alison Kolinski described her as very committed to both the HMTC and the HMDC. Kolinski went to see several of the plays she wrote and called Maltby the real deal and a terrific writer and brilliant actor that could play any role.

Maltby also took Art of Film with theatre, dance, and film studies teacher Joseph Timko, which blew her mind, she said. She loved how engaged he was with the material. Her final project was to do a scene by scene breakdown of a moment in a film, which she learned more from than two years in undergraduate, she said.

Timko described Maltby’s acting skills as bringing something to show rather than just telling her what to do, he said. In Art of Film, they also made a film in which aliens were transported to the school out of the air dryers in the bathroom, and Zoe played an alien, he said.

Currently, Maltby is primarily a filmmaker and a writer. She prefers to work specifically with the director to develop the script and pick out actors, she said.

Maltby still performs, but she has found it difficult in grad school, as she is studying to be a full-time director.

Maltby has performed in Two Gentlemen of Verona in Williamsburg, where she met many actresses she would like to cast in her movies, as well as Juliet in a production of Romeo and Juliet in Chicago, and various original plays.

Maltby’s writing process usually starts with a character or a story, and it involves a lot of sitting alone in her room thinking about who the characters are, what they mean to each other, and what they want, she said.

She will not start writing the play until she has the spine of a conflict, meaning an outline of the main plot, she said. She then takes a week to write the play and revises for over two months.

Maltby wants to perform in her own plays in the future, but she finds it difficult to write a part if it is for her to perform, she said.

Maltby’s original plays include My Parents are Here Tonight, which is a 90-minute comedy inspired by the school’s production of King Lear, Rational Creatures, which Maltby wrote for last year’s alumni show about the real-life story of the Fox Sisters, who tricked the nation into thinking they could talk to the dead, and a monologue called Bear Lake about two young women and a lake monster.

As a filmmaker, Maltby loves that the actors come from all over the world in all walks of life, but at the end of the day, they are all one and are working towards the same purpose. Maltby also appreciates the movement to let women, people of color, and marginalized people be included in film, she said.

Maltby is in the process of writing a short film for graduate school that will be a small-scale ghost story, she said. Her goal in the next two years is to shoot a full-length film, she said.