Category: film

An Interview With Screenwriter Marina Shron

 

 

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Marina Shron is the writer and director of the film, “Fruit of Our Womb”; here is a link to the website:

 

https://www.thefruitofourwomb.com/

 

 

Q: What is, “Fruit of Our Womb” about?

 

A: The story follows Christina is a 13-year-old sexually fluid street girl who has grown up trading sex for love and protection. Her chance meeting with an affluent Manhattan couple turns out to be a stroke of luck when she is welcomed into their world.  But what starts out as a utopian dream soon degenerates into a nightmare of love, deceit, and mutual manipulation.

 

 

Q: What inspired you to make the movie?

 

A: My inspiration for the screenplay was two-fold. On the one hand, I was inspired by the character herself – Christina. She’s the heart of the film. Innocent and manipulative, ethereal and lethal – she’s a child-woman who discovers the world by touch.  She was deprived of childhood, of normal family… But there is something elemental and powerful about her existence that makes her a magnet for others, more privileged than herself.  Her presence reveals the best – and the worst – in those who come in touch with her. Once dropped inside the couple’s world, she will either make it explode — or alter its entire fabric…

 

But if Christina herself is unique – her story is not. While doing research for the film I’ve heard countless stories of women and girls who were exploited, betrayed – and, ultimately, blamed for that very abuse by the adults who were supposed to protect them. Unfortunately, we live in a society that makes this cruel paradox possible.  By making this film, I wanted to dig deeper beneath the surface of the incestuous, in nature, family dynamic and try to understand what makes it so pervasive.

 

 

 

Q: What would you say motivates each of the three main characters in the film?

 

A: Initially, each character has very simple, basic motivation – Christina needs home, Lynn needs a child, Joe needs peace and quite in his family. But like all of us, humans, they tend to misconstrue their needs – and when their true needs surface, they come as a surprise to the characters themselves and to us, the audience. Without giving away the ending, I can just say that Christina leads the couple to the brink of the discovery of what really missing from their lives… I say “the brink” because it scares the hell out of them. And I’m not talking about the couple’s sexual needs or fantasies but something that’s much more sublime… and uncanny.

 

 

 

 

Q: How do you think an American audience will respond to the character of Christina?

 

A: Haha, this remains to be seen!  I’m sure she will be a divisive figure…. She’s not your girl next door. Christina is an outsider, and her existence is marginal, both regarding her social status and her sexuality… But on the other hand,  that’s what  make her a quint-essentially American character… So I hope people will relate to her!

 

 

Q:  If people invest in your film, will they be able to share in any profits?

 

 

A: Absolutely! We will be drafting a profit-participation agreement with each one of our investors once the film is fully financed!

 

 

Q:  Who are some of your film making influences?

 

A: I love Lynne Ramsay films – her early  “Rat Catcher” is one of my biggest inspirations. Catherine’s Breiilat “Fat Girl” is another one…  I’ve always been inspired by films with a uniquely female perspective… but not only by films directed by women. My biggest influence — in the way I approach filmmaking in general –  is the grandfather of surrealism, Luis Bunuel.

 

 

Q:  You teach screenwriting at The New School. What makes your class different from other screenwriting classes?

 

A: I give a lot of creative exercises to my students – and not just the exercises on structure and character development but exercises that help to develop their imagination… that tap into their physical and emotional memory.

 

I also show my students a lot of films of diverse styles and perspectives, from different time periods – and I show them next to each other, without providing a “historical perspective.” I believe the best cinematic works belong to the natural world, and not just the world of culture. I’m sure many academics will disagree with me! But this is how I teach film and screenwriting…

 

Q: What is your most memorable classroom story?

 

A: In one of my introductory filmmaking classes, I showed two short films, almost back to back… One was a very well executed if somewhat cheesy love story. Another was an experimental 1972 short film by Chantal Akerman,  “La Chambre” – a circular shot with a camera panning around the room for 11 minutes. I thought my students hated that film… But at the end of the semester, when they were presenting their final films, I was surprised to discover that one of the students drew his inspiration from both of these very different  films. His film was a love story told by a pan that goes around the room for 10 minutes!  And it was a gem of a film!

 

Q:  What mistakes do you see new screenwriters making?

 

A: One of the biggest mistakes new screenwriters make is relying too much on dialogue…over-explaining what the character feel and think.  Another mistake is trying to make a point or send a message that’s too obvious or clichéd.  Some say: “cliché is a cliché because it’s true”… something like that. I hate this expression.

I think real truth is always rooted in a paradox.

 

 

Q:  If you could remake any movie in history, what movie would you remake and why?

 

A: Kubrick “Lolita”… In a way, that’s what I’m doing with “The Fruit of Our Womb” –  remaking Lolita it’s from the girl’s perspective.  And because it’s a female point of view, Christina has to be a stronger, darker, more complex character than Nabokov/Kubrick’s heroine… She’s not at all a victim. I think of her as a perverse messenger of change.

 

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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An Interview With Director Roger Hill

 

 

 

 

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Roger Hill is the writer and director of the film Huckleberry, which premieres at the Marina Del Rey Film Festival on October 13th at 9:00 pm. Here is a link to the films Facebook page:

 

www.facebook.com/huckleberrymovie

 

Q: What is “Huckleberry” about?

A: The synopsis reads:

  A story spanning the year 1999 to 2000, Huckleberry 18, transgender-male, dissident, comes from a poor community in the Rust Belt.  A region much maligned and challenging, and often misunderstood, much like himself; also a place and time where non-conforming identities are met with suspicion and, at times, violence.

Huckleberry, or Huck as his friends call him, pursues his unrequited love Jolene, who is adrift in an abusive relationship, in spite of her loathsome boyfriend, Clint.

Rebuffed, and armed with the knowledge of Clint’s abuse. Huckleberry confronts Clint once and for all, but not before unleashing hell upon him while still cloaked in the lingering shadow of his undiscovered intentions.

Huckleberry then discovers the consequence that follow his actions, both intended and not, life threatening and affirming, as he, his two best friends Will and Levon, Jolene and Clint all navigate a particularly intense year and confront the life-changing results of Huck’s decisions.

 

Q: What made you want to make a film about revenge?

A: Revenge is an interesting theme to explore.  I think growing up in America we receive a lot of mixed messages about revenge, ranging from “turn the other cheek” to an “eye for an eye.”  US media, mainstream religions, history, military and culture are full of contradictions about the morality of revenge.

I think as a teenager I thought about “getting even” a lot.  I think this was born from the struggles that are familiar for most teens growing up, especially for men, the pressure to live up to a masculine ideal and to not to be perceived as weak… or vulnerable.  One of my teenage revenge fantasies served as the initial seed for this film.  Now older and wiser I think I’m able to explore the topic from a nuanced position without glamorizing violence, while highlighting some of the conflicting messages we receive about revenge. I think who benefits and loses in the revenge equation is not always black and white, there are a lot of shades of gray.

Q: What makes Huck an interesting character?

A: I think the tableau of his life experience makes him a very intriguing character.  He is far from cookie cutter.  Huckleberry has a profound sense of righteous indignation towards arbitrary authority figures and revels in his rebelliousness.  He is a character who acts and doesn’t shy away from confrontation.  Huck doesn’t always make the right decisions, he is fallible, like anyone, but I also believe that he is relatable to anyone whose felt the pangs of an unrequited love who is saddled with an abusive partner.  Huck is also transgender, which is not really what the film is about, but does make for a more interesting protagonist and one that elicits the prejudices of his community.  Casting him often times as an outsider or a rebel.

Q: What is the overall theme of the film?

In society regular people often make moral concessions in order to secure a better life for themselves, within the parameters of social mores, even ones they fundamentally disagree with.  That revenge does have a cost, but there is also a benefit analysis which is unspoken but omnipresent.  That trans-men are just as capable as cis-men of absorbing and acting on aggressive impulses born from the narrative of protecting a woman whom they desire.

 

A: What characteristics did you look for in a lead actor?

In a very practical sense I was looking for a transgender man in his late teens or early twenties.  I was attracted to Dan’s smirk in his headshot on Backstage.  I could immediately picture him as Huckleberry.  Huck has a very distinct attitude in my mind.  He’s a rebel, charismatic but aloof at times and prone to anger.  I was looking for an actor who could carry these traits but also deliver an unspoken vulnerability, and I think that was something that Daniel Fisher-Golden brought to the character that was so humanizing.  Dan worked hard to convey the anger that was instrumental to the plot of the film, but he also tapped into a very personal sense of empathy for the character which makes Huck so much more relatable, and believable than what was written in the script.

Q:  How would you describe your directing style?

 

A: All consuming.  I push myself harder than anyone, but I also require a lot of my cast and crew.  Everyone on set needs to be fully invested in the project.  I like a laid back attitude when it suits the scene and I do make efforts to not burn people out, but when it comes down to it we are there to work.  Fortunately I had an amazing cast and crew who understood this and who spoke up when they had concerns.  I learned in the last two weeks of shooting not to burn the candle from both ends quite as much as I had before and I think began to get a healthier rhythm together, but in general after we wrap shooting I sleep the majority of the next few days because I’m so exhausted.

Q: What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and what impact did it have on the firm?

(shooting schedule, budget, etc.)

 

I freelance as an event photographer, videographer, editor, and sometimes producer/director for short documentaries.  I had a job setting up photo booths for parties.  In general my day job has me working with a camera in some capacity.  It definitely had an impact because I started with only enough financing for a week of shooting, then another week of shooting, then editing the proof of concept, pre-production on primary shooting, primary shooting and finally post-production, between each stage of production I was working to raise money for the next phase.  My budget limitations also forced me to streamline the script, to cut unnecessary scenes and to focus hard on what was most important, in the end I think this helped craft a tighter narrative.  Sometimes limitations can be a good thing.

 

  1. What is your funniest Hollywood story?

I don’t really know that I have one.  So far, I’ve been a filmmaker outside of the Hollywood system.  I spent 12 years making documentary films before I started working on Huckleberry.  We shot Huckleberry in rural Ohio and had only one rising star, Jahking Guillory, in the cast from LA.  I did do the sound mix for the proof of concept in LA with my sound mixer and good friend Dennis Schweitzer, during that week I was staying at Dennis’ apartment and sleeping on an air mattress that would deflate each night leaving laying in a heap on the floor.  It was far from glamorous but we got the job done.  Oh and Danny Devito was staying with us as well….Just kidding, I don’t know anyone famous.

  1. What are some of your favorite films and why?

 

I vacillate between really heavy dramas like First Reformed, which was incredible, and comedies like The Big LebowskiNo Country for Old Men was amazing and blends the environment seamlessly with the story.  I loved Winter’s Bone for that same reason.  I think my favorite films are ones that aren’t set in Hollywood (other than Lebowski) and that open the audience’s imaginations to life in a distinct part of the country or the world.  Those that integrate the social values of the community into the narrative of the film, and which leave the audience asking questions, and thinking about a theme or subject differently than when they entered the theater.  I think we accomplished this as well with our setting in the Rust Belt.  It’s an environment I’m very familiar with after growing up in Northeast Ohio.  Some of my favorite films leave me at first frustrated with endings that aren’t wrapped in tidy bows, but which cause reflection on the deeper meaning of the film, which may come shortly or even days after the experience.  My favorite films stick in my mind after I watch them and make me work to figure out the message of the filmmaker.

Q: How did you go about financing the film?

A: I’d say about half the financing came out of pocket, I also deferred my rate as director.  Friends and family donated about 25% of the budget and the rest came from Kickstarter and a lone investor, Zak Webb who is one of the Executive Producers on the film.  We shot a proof of concept for Huckleberry over a two week period in October and December of 2016, between shoots I was hustling, working holiday parties as an event photographer and videographer.  I was pretty confident the film wouldn’t get made on the strength of the script alone, especially with me being an unproven director, so the proof of concept was critical in the process.  Finally I saved enough to finish shooting over a two week period in August of 2017.  I also partnered with the Film Division at Ohio University, which was a huge resource and saved me a lot of money, while also providing a substantial amount of the crew members from current and past students of  the program.

 

Eliza’s interviews are done by email; all answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Jukebox Film Festival Director Darla Bayer

 

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Darla Bayer is the Director of The Jukebox International Film Festival; here is a link to their website:

https://filmfreeway.com/festival/JukeboxInternationalFilmFestival

 

Q: What made you interested in starting a film festival?

A: It all started when I discovered the 48 Hour Film Project. I wanted to do one myself so I started a free group to help find filmmakers willing to compete. I called the monthly meeting “Wired Wednesday”. We taught each other, crewed for each other and even participated in The No Film Film Fest.

It became evident that we were not going to do a 48 Hour film, as they were all too far for us to journey, so instead I suggested we start a competition called “City Wide Short Film Competition”.

This competition was modeled on the 48 hour except it was a one week time frame, from Wednesday to Wednesday to get the film written, cast, shot, edited and back to us. All teams were to use the same three prompts, a specific sound effect, a specific line of dialog and a specific prop. They had their choice of 6 genres to chose from. It was a blast! And the films were remarkable!

City Wide is now in it’s 6th year and has a spin off called “Carson Creepy Horror Film Competition”. This one came about because I had refused to let horror be a genre in City Wide, trying to keep it more family oriented. Well, a few filmmakers convinced me and we have had some truly awesome films come out of that competition as well.

Ok…rolling right along, we’ve done the competition thing. Wired Wednesday knows how to do this now, so why not a festival?

Q: What makes your film festival unique?

 

A: We like the basis of our festival because it is all about music. We accept music videos, documentaries and feature films. An added bonus is our screening dates are during an established music festival, Jazz and Beyond.
Being a musician and a filmmaker myself, I enjoy seeing documentaries about musicians or styles.

Q: What can your film festival offer that others cannot?

 

A: The fact this festival is smack dab in the middle of a live music festival. With musicians all over town in multiple venues. Free concerts mostly.

 

Q:  How did you obtain funding for the festival?

 

A: Past competitions have brought in money from advertisers. That’s pretty much it.

Q: Who will judge the contest?

 

A: We have industry professionals, writers, directors, musicians. Some not yet confirmed, but, Joseph Bly, Celtic musician, director Brian Nunes, Rita Geil, Lacy J Dalton.

Q: What advice would you give to a potential entrant?

 

A: Please be sure your film is music themed, we expect more than just music in the background. The film should play on specific stories about musicians, venues, styles. Singer songwriter moves up in the world, that sort of thing. Music videos of course can tell the story of the songs lyrics, those will be more interesting than just watching a band play their song, although we are not opposed to that either. Music, music, music.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to organize a film festival?

 

A: I am a freelance  costumer and do video production (camera to edits). My last job however was running a public access tv station. We had a studio where people could check out cameras and learn all needed to create film and tv.

Q: What is the best musical film you have ever seen?

 

A: A few years ago a friend of my daughters had a film he had just completed called “Find Your Way”. A documentary about buskers. We screened the film thru our Wired Wednesday group, open to the public followed by a skype with the director. That film, not only for the technical aspects which were very good, touched me on a level that made me very happy. To see musicians out there doing their thing and being appreciated. Another film that I love is Oingo Boingo‘s “Hot Tomorrows”, obscure, yes, but truly memorable film noir in black and white. I’d be willing to say that film was what made me want to make films myself

Q: What is the worst musical film you have ever seen?

 

A:  I don’t really have a worst, I’ve liked nearly all I have seen. I enjoy musical theatre as well and enjoy seeing the filmed productions. Some of my best memories are from my high school years when Mrs.Morrow, our drama teacher, introduced us to shows like Studs Terkel’s “Working” and “Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris”. Those films were inspirational to my entire life.
 

Q:  What living musician’s life do you think has been over documented?

 

A: I don’t feel there is an over documented issue. The more out there the more we have an effect on people. So if there’s a film about, say, Paul McCartney, and yet there’s been others, those who want to see them all can. But someone who knows nothing about him, only one of the films might look interesting enough for them to view. It’s not a competition between films. They play on each other, build and grow interest.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Writer/Producer Robert A. Trezza

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Robert A. Trezza is the writer and producer of the film The Purging Hour; here is a link to the films website:

http://www.thepurginghour.com/

 

Q: What made you interested in film making?

 

A: To me there was always something quite fascinating that someone with a camera could impact people’s lives. Kinda like how Hitchcock kept people from showering for years or how Spielberg killed many summer vacations for those who once loved the beach.

 

Q: What attracted you to this story?

 

A: It was simple. Emmanuel Sandoval (the director) mentioned to me the idea of doing a horror film based on a home video he saw. After thinking back for a bit I remembered, just how eerie watching those old home movies could be and I thought it would be interesting to capture those moments of a family and all the chaos that happens with their move.

 

Q:  Why do you think people are so interested in paranormal stories?

 

A: Probably because in the back of their minds it could happen. Giant Lizards and Werewolves, although really cool and interesting, feel a lot more fictional. All of us have walked the earth and lost a loved one and their presence always still feels existent. So, I guess in the back of our minds, ghosts can and may really exist.

 

 

Q: How do you tell a real horror story from a fake horror story?

 

A: I guess going back to the last question it is what feels real. Any story or film that reads or plays out like a newspaper article can be quite frightening. Films that tend to play more on the psyche and provide less gore always felt real to me.

 

 

Q: Who are some of your film making influences and how can we see that influence in your work?

 

A: Probably as most horror fans, John Carpenter and Sean Cunningham. To this day I still love their less is more style. The first Friday the 13th kept us waiting until the end to actually show who was behind the mayhem. With Halloween, the use of POV to show the action was strong, especially in the opening scene.

 

 

Q: What is the most realistic horror film you have ever seen?

 

A: I would have to say Cannibal Holocaust. To this day there are a lot of people who still think it was a snuff film.

 

 

Q: Do you think there are any friendly spirits out there?

 

A: I’d like to think my Grandmother is still hovering around out there.

 

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and what is the worst thing about it?

 

A:  I work in property management in NY. The worst part about it is that it limits my time to do creative projects, but in the same vein, financially it allows me to do them…go figure.

 

Q:  What have you done to publicize your movie?

 

A:  We partnered with Dread Central and the flagship Ruthless Studios and a lot of the small horror sites have given us some love too. We built a decent social media following too- for an uber low budget film.

 

 

Q:  What is the scariest thing you have ever done?

 

A:  Procreate : )

 

 Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Producers Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman

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Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman are producing partners at Campbell-Grobman Films. Together they produced many horror films and the Netflix documentary, Winter on Fire; Here is a link to the company’s Facebook page:

 

https://www.facebook.com/campbellgrobmanfilms/

 

 

 
Q: How did you make the transition from acting to production?

Cc: I was very lucky to have Lati as a friend before we started working together. So I was subconsciously learning without knowing it . .. it was a natural progression. It felt right.

Q:  What attracted you to horror films?

Cc: I love exciting, thrilling films. They are fun to make . And if you do them right there is only an upside.

LG: Christa attracted me to horror films. i was never a fan and still am not.
Q: How did you two meet?

 

LG: we met throughout the years in Hollywood but never became friends until we were both in Miami. it was around New Years more than 15 year ago. i was stranded trying to get a visa to enter st. Bart’s and she was sick of the group she was vacationing with. so in my Israeli way, i offered to an almost stranger to stay with me in my hotel. It was a beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Q:  What is the function of an executive producer as opposed to all the other kinds of producers?

Cc: Honestly nowadays it’s all about the deal you make an not really about the work. There are many films we have done that when we are making the deal they say only ep credits allowed. But you take it anyway because you want the movie to happen. So it’s all about the deal you make sadly

LG: An executive producer is usually the person who brings in the money to a project. at least in the independent world. but many times we would bring a lot of the elements if not all the elements and still get an executive producer credit. it all depends on the movie. basically any producer credit if its an ep or actual producer are people who the movie could not have been brought to screen without them. sometimes it would be the person who holds the rights who has negotiating power. there is on manager in town that doesn’t let his actor be in a movie if he (the manager) not get an ep credit. not sure what i think of it.

Q: What is Winter On Fire about?

 

LG: Its about the conflict in the Ukraine. about people taking the streets to protest and being beat up and shot at with live bullets.

Q:  What made you interested in Ukraine?

 

LG: although i was born in Russia, i was not interested in the Ukraine conflict until i met the director Evgeny Afineevsky who shed a light at whats been happening there in the past few years. i never like to get into politic of a country i didn’t grow up in but the fact that people can not demonstrate can be very scary. So to me that was the main issue, the violence of the police against its own people.

Q: How did you get funding for the project?

 

LG: the director had the initial funding and we sold it to Netflix who brought it to the finish line. the majority amount of money in documentaries are on post and p&a.

Q: How do you think a Trump Presidency will effect Ukraine?

 

Lg: looks like Trump is taking a more of a separatist approach so im not sure this will help the Ukrainians. but they can’t expect America to help them, America cant be the cop of the whole world. they need to do it themselves.

Q: Do you think the US press has covered Ukraine fairly?

 

LG: they barley covered the story so NO.

Q: What is your weirdest on set story?

Cc: I have many. I remember my first acting job was a glorified extra on the wild Wild West . I worked 3 months in a corset. The best experience is to actually be on set so you can see how a film is done. The first AD was so mean an screamed at me all the time in front of everyone calling me names . I was on the verge of crying. It was humiliating. Then one day he saw the director come up to me and realized I was friends with him and the studio head who gave me the job. His face turned white. I thought wow this is hollywood…  that guy is probably out of work now .. and that’s the mystery of life ….

LG: I was working on my first movie as a set dresser. at one point the director pulled me off my gear and gave me a part of a bank teller. i ended up being in the promotion trailer in the festivals.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Fan Boy Film Festival Founder Michael Kanik

 

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Michael Kanik is one of the people who started Fan Boy Film Festival; here is a link to the website:

http://www.fanboyfilmfestival.com/
Q: How did you become interested in film?

 

A: My older brothers got me into film.  They would introduce me to films and we would binge on films.  It was the way we bonded.  My favorite film they introduced me to was Clerks.  We watched that together like 40 or 50 times and were like “we need to be making films”.

Q: What inspired you to start the festival?

 

A:  I wanted to give people a chance to attend a film festival without the lines, without the lotteries in hopes to see the movie they want.  Fan Boy Film Festival takes out the headaches from film festivals and lets you enjoy the films in the comfort of your home. I also wanted to create a platform where artists (filmmakers) – I refer to them as artists because I think every filmmaker is creating art – can share their work without having to deal with the traditional Hollywood B.S.

Q: How can one enter the festival?

A: All you need to do is go to www.fanboyfilmfestival.com create an account and upload your film. There are no submission fees. There are no viewing fees either for fans.

Q: What makes your festival unique?

 

A:  Anyone can attend or submit at the comfort of your home. It’s not the usual elitist film festival. Our vision is to create an all inclusive online community where fans and artists can connect and create a community.

Q: How did you obtain funding for the prizes?

 

A:  We have some generous sponsors who share in our vision.

 

Q: How will you avoid this becoming a popularity contest?

 

A: We hope so. We don’t believe in stuffy judge panels or secret dark room meetings by “Hollywood veterans” who decide on the merit of a film. Ultimately, we believe that it’s the fans who should judge a film. That’s why the winners are decided 100% on votes by registered Fan Boy users.

Q: You are giving away a prize for the best meme. There are a lot of memes out there. How will you be able to determine if a meme is someone’s original work?

 

 

A: We will be using Google images to determine if something is original.  We are able to do a reverse image search and see if that meme is already out there.

Q: What are some common mistakes you see first time filmmakers make?

 

A:  Mainly poor editing and lighting. Also, first time filmmakers don’t understand the business side of making a film. Great you have a film- now what… Most first time filmmakers get screwed over by taking bad distribution deals because they just don’t understand the business.

Q: What do you love about the pop culture?

 

A:  I love everything about pop culture. Pop Culture is what defines us right now in our society. Whatever is popular right now is an indication as to where we are as a civilization. People will hate me for saying this – but the Kardashians are a cornerstone of popular culture at the moment. Good or bad – whatever your opinion, that is part of what defines us at the moment.

Q: What kinds of day job do you have and how does it affect your ability to run the festival?

 

A:  I’m the marketing manager for an office supply company in Manhattan.  So, I don’t have time to manage the site during the hours of 9-5 M-F, but we have a good team that manages the festival when I can’t. I hope to come on full time in the future and expand our staff.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Dancin’ It’s On Producers Jennifer George and Christina Marie Austin

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Jennifer George and Christina Marie Austin are line producers on the film Dancin’ It’s On ; here is a link to the website:

 

www.dancinitson.com

 

Q:  What is Dancin’ It’s On about?

 

A: This coming of age dance film, in the spirit of “Dirty Dancing” and “High School Musical” – is about two young lovers from different worlds who find a common bond in their love of dance, and who ultimately work together to win a major dance competition.

 

Jennifer, a high school junior from Beverly Hills, falls in love with the handsome young Ken, who works at her father’s Panama City Florida beach-front hotel. While preparing for the competition, they must overcome scheming dance partners, a meddling father and their own doubts in order for their love – and their chances at winning – to prevail.

 

Q:  How did you become involved with the project?

 

A: Funny enough, about 4 years ago, we came across a craigslist ad for a low-budget dance movie seeking crew. We’ve seen hundreds of these types of ads before but we thought, why not? So we replied to the ad explaining who we are and what we do, and the next thing we know, we get a response from David Winters, himself! He sent us his bio and though we had both seen west side story and some of his other various works, we were just blown away to read about all of the amazing things he as achieved. We knew we had to get that job! The next few months were what we like to think of as an audition, where he would send us work and test our skills and it seems we passed because he flew out to Florida from Thailand to location scout with his 2 new Line Producers. The rest is history.

 

Q:  What does a line producer do?

 

A: Technically speaking, a line producer manages the budget, mostly and serves as the full-time on set producer. Often line producers work like unit production managers in that they are in charge of all things production. What generally separates line producers from the “Above-the-line” staff is that they usually stay out of all things creative like writing, directing, casting etc. Line producers usually hire the crew etc. In the case of independent films like Dancin’ – It’s On!, we were fortunate to be able to do all the jobs of normal line producers AND we were able to contribute creatively. David Winters really gave us a chance to be truly mentored by him and we served collectively as his second in command, and in doing so kept us close to him during all processes, both creative and productive. He really showed not only faith in us but also trust in our work as well as our judgment; he knew we understood his creative vision.

 

Q:  What were some of the challenges of providing production services for this film?

 

A: First of all…. THE WEATHER!!! Holy cow, that was a record-breaking year in North Florida and the weather was as unpredictable as lotto numbers. We were trying to shoot a summertime movie in the Winter and instead of the mild, cool but not too cold winters we had heard about in Panama City Beach, we were met with 50-60 mph wind gusts, record low temps in the 20’s (Fahrenheit), ice cold sideways rain, and of course some hail. You name it; the weather gods threw it at us. We were constantly rescheduling the film the weather alone made it near impossible to create a solid shooting schedule.

 

Q:  How is it different from other teen dance movies?

 

A:  THE MUSIC! We feel like most teen dance movies tend to be on the edgy side, and while we are huge fans of the genre, this one is far more clean-cut and wholesome. Dancin’ – It’s on! Is truly made with the whole family in mind. This is a film made by dancers for dancers.

 

Q:  What kind of professional background do you have?

 

Jennifer:  I was a dancer for about 18 years, and performed all over Florida including Disney, Universal, MGM.

 

Christina: My main background is in acting, mostly, but I did do some modeling early in my career. I was featured in catalogues and on the Home Shopping Network.

 

Q:  What made you interested in film production?

 

This may be one we have to answer individually….

 

Christina: 2 answers… I always wanted to be an actress and then once I got my first paid acting gig that was union work, I realized that I spent most of my day in a chair watching other people work and I hated that feeling so I looked around the set for the busiest person I could find, who turned out to be the Producer, and I knew that is what I wanted to be. Also, the first time I saw the T-1000 melt into metal, change shapes, become another person, etc. My mind was blown and I would never be the same.

 

Jennifer:  Being a stage performer for half of my life I love entertaining people, I get that natural high being on a stage and making people smile.  When I got to college it was very important to me to graduate, so I turned to studies, and focused on that.  After graduation I moved to LA and started as an actor, taking classes and going to auditions.  All the while, I really wanted to own my own business and have a bit more control of where I was going.  As an actor you can sometimes be blowing in the wind with no real direction, but behind the camera, there is A LOT of work that needs t be done, always.

 

Q: Why do you think dance films are so popular?

 

 

Christina: I think it has a lot to do with the music. High-energy music gets people excited and happy, when you combine that with exciting visuals of talented people really enjoying their dance, you have a recipe for entertainment.

 

Jennifer:  It’s a different form of expression.  For instance, when a character feels sad or angry, they express that emotion through dance instead of yelling for crying.

 

Q:  What is your strangest on set story?

 

A:  Jennifer: I was on set for a VERY LOW budget movie, and we had to blow up a truck. Long story short, after receiving all necessary clearances and driving 5 hours for the items needed, I found myself mixing tannorite (an explosive) with my bare hands and by the end of the day, we could not use the explosives.  Obviously I’m leaving out most of the details, but you get the point.

 

Christina: I was there for that story… definitely on the top of my list for strange stories.

 

Q: What is the secret to providing efficient production services?

 

A: Christina: Having enough money!!! Usually you don’t have enough money so the answer then becomes resourcefulness, positivity, creativity, and a die hard dedication to getting the job done…. Period.

 

Jennifer:  Money is definitely an important factor, but I feel that on any level of production, high or low budget, the same issues arise, so problem solving, and leadership I feel are extremely important.  As a producer, I want my crew to be motivated and excited about what is going on and work as hard as they can.   So it is important for me to be on my A game, and problem solve efficiently.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)