Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson
You're back with a new film! July 15th. How would you pitch this to a new audience?
Yes, I am, and thank you for having me. July 15th is a short black and white silent romantic drama that was filmed on location in Washington Square Park in NYC. It is inspired by both NYC and the theme of true love while paying homage to the classic films from the past that paved the way for the talkie films we have today.
Why did you want to tell this story?
My favourite film is The Princess Bride and it deals heavily with the theme of true love.
Needless to say, I’m a big hopeless romantic at heart and I wanted to create something that deals with the theme of true love.
After my father passed away I started writing this short piece by piece. I never wrote before and this feeling awoke in me. I wanted to express myself, but in a different way than I used to as an actress. It was like the world that I would create for myself as a performer in my head became more vivid and for the first time, I felt like I could share it in written form. I would write a page and then delete it and go back and write another page and delete it.
This was way before I wrote Riding with Sunshine. I wasn’t sure of the direction that I wanted to go. It wasn’t until my niece was watching this overly dramatic coming of age love story that I realized that I wanted to show her what true love was really about. There are so many great love stories out there. Just taking that theme on you have truly had to own it and bring it your all. So when I started writing the script again I thought to myself what is true love? And my father popped into my head. His love story with my mum. They have a really cute one.
He drove for Greyhound and she was one of his passengers who got on. He turned around and told another passenger sitting near him that he was gonna marry that woman. He knew at that moment she was the one. I always loved that. I always thought it was so cute. From there I started thinking about him now and what happened to their love. It became the theme of my film. What happens to true love when someone dies? How does it change? Does it change? All these questions kept popping up and it brought me to create this piece of art. I really hope you and the readers enjoy it.
The trailer shows the film to be in black and white (with a rather jaunty score). What was the reason behind these stylistic choices?
The original intention for July 15th was to film it normally in colour with sound but during filming, our sound got thrown out due to background noise from park-goers at Washington Square Park. After looking at the footage I decided to take the film in a completely different direction. Overall it came out pretty well and I got to channel my inner Bob Ross. As he says “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.” This is so true and I will always think of this quote whenever I think of my film.
How has the process been getting this film made?
It was a very long and very rewarding process. I am still doing some final touches on the subtitles as we speak. I think this film forced me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot during this process.
Why do you make movies?
I grew up watching movies and tv shows with the people that I love because of that I always knew in my heart that I wanted to create something just as inspiring as what I grew up with in the hopes that they would experience beautiful memories to carry in their hearts as I do.
I first saw you in the short film Riding With Sunshine. How have you changed as a filmmaker since then?
That’s a great question, I think I’ve branched out more as an artist and grew a lot. With this film, I directed it all by myself unlike my other short film Riding with Sunshine I had a co-director. It forced me to pay more attention to detail and it made me an even greater artist because of it. I now have more confidence in my work and abilities as a director. Where with Riding with Sunshine that was my first experience on the other side of the camera and I was very green and very lucky to work with such a talented crew that took me under their wings. I came into the industry as an actress and always wanted to do more but was really shy about sharing my work. I guess you can say I grew up a lot since then. I feel like this would be a great moment for one of those feel-good “Look mommy, I’m a big kid now” montages lol.
We'll slice that in later ;) What's next for you?
I have a couple of short films lined up to take on once it's safer to film again before heading over to the UK for graduate studies at The University of Birmingham and The Shakespeare Institute. After completing my master’s degree I am going to take on my first animated feature film called Patty Pizzazz and from there hoping to take on a Shakespeare adaptation. Being a big fan of Kenneth Branagh I always wanted to attempt my own version of one, and if I'm lucky I hope to inspire someone with my version just as he has with me.
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
I know this might be a little outdated but the first thing that popped into my mind was “Sorry Charlie” from those old tuna commercials lol.
Check out the trailer for July 15th below.