Icing on the Cake: Interview with SIFFTY Cake Maker Amanda Katherine Pitsch

Vida Behar | Thursday, May 16, 2024


It’s hard to pick which Opening Night moment was more memorable: Thelma star June Squibb saying that her next film project would be “porn” or the big ol’ SIFFTY cake that more than 200 partiers got their photos taken on after the screening. We’ll call it a tie. But who was the baker of this giant inedible delight? Meet Amanda Katherine Pitsch, the multidisciplinary artist and production designer who made a lot of SIFF-goers’ nights on May 9.

Since the cake went over so well, our Festival Digital Marketing Associate Vida Behar wanted to ask Pitsch a few questions about her process in making it—and we know a lot of you out there are curious as well. Here’s what she had to say.

How long did the project take you from start to finish?

I made the cake in small bursts over the course of three months, and all told it took me around 200 hours.

What materials did you use?

The body of the cake is made of wood and plastic. It has a wood frame made of OSB plywood, 1x3's, and the front is covered with a white plastic wall panel. The blue piped frosting is made from a mold. I created a sculpture of one single segment of the shape in clay, then created a silicone mold of it. I then poured something called Flex Foam into the mold to create one piece of that frosting. Ultimately doing that process over 40 times. The front lettering on the cake is made of Crayola Model Magic (which I love!). Lastly, the "SIFFTY" letters, were made using pink insulation foam, a stiff outer layer of chipboard, all covered in a gold glitter adhesive vinyl.

Please briefly describe the steps you took to make this masterpiece.

I started by making sketches of the cake based on the source image, creating some measurements that can be translated into real life. I then created a few scale models in different size variations to see what will work best. Once we landed on a size we liked, I made some technical drawings of the cake, listed out materials, made my cut lists, and went to town.

What was the most surprising part of this project?

Honestly, the adoration that cake got at the opening night party was a very pleasant surprise to me. It wasn't something I was thinking about, because my head was fully concerned with it functioning, and getting there on time, etc. I am so glad it had the effect it did.

What was your favorite part of the process?

The piped frosting was the most challenging part of the whole project, since it was very much an experiment to get to the final product. It was also my favorite part of the process, because it gave me reason to play with new materials, and learn new techniques.

Missed getting your photo taken with this incredible creation? Join us at our Closing Night Party on Saturday, May 18 for another opportunity. Plus, you can always go back for seconds by seeing more of Pitsch’s work on her website and Instagram.

  • Date: May 16, 2024
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