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Sarah Smick, Director/Writer: FRIENDED TO DEATH

March 6, 2014
Sarah Smick

Sarah Smick

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of FRIENDED TO DEATH, from concept to financing.
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First, let me offer some context. Friended to Death is a dark comedy feature about a Facebook addict (played by Ryan Hansen from Veronica Mars and Party Down) who fakes his own death on social media to see which of his “friends” will show up at his funeral. It will have its U.S. Premiere at Cinequest in San Jose this Friday, March 7th at 7:15 pm. Tickets available here.
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As for the development and making of the film, my co-writer Ian Michaels had read a story in the foreign press a few years back about a man who actually attempted to fake his own death. The man’s friends weren’t fooled by his futile efforts, but we saw a real hook for a compelling narrative that would capture the sensational voyeurism that can accompany social media. Sensing how timely these themes were (and still are), we proceeded to craft a script that would comment on the ironies of social connectivity and then we hustled like crazy to get it made. Now, many months later, we are thrilled to finally be releasing it out into the world!
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2Q: Cinequest is proud to host the United States Premiere of FRIENDED TO DEATH. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?
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We couldn’t be more excited for our film to make its U.S. debut in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Friended to Death is a “bro-mantic” comedy that will appeal to mainstream, but we are also confident that its commentary on social media will be of keen interest to those who live and breathe trends in connectivity.
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3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making FRIENDED TO DEATH?
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The making of this film has been a wild ride as it was my first time directing a feature. As a result, I really had to rely on my cast and crew  for support and feedback. Some of the most rewarding experiences were the many moments during the shoot and post-production when my collaborators exceeded my expectations. I was so often impressed by their boundless creativity and hard work. As for obstacles that we encountered, I have to say that the time limitations inevitably placed on an indie film shoot are always frustrating. What director wouldn’t be glad to have one extra day to shoot?
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4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?
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First off, it’s funny! (or so we’ve observed from test audiences). People seem to connect with the story and the characters in a palpable way. Friended to Death deals with current issues that audiences seem to relate to. And as social media continues to permeate our daily lives, there is no better time for audiences to enjoy a hilarious, timely perspective on how it’s impacting our relationships. As added incentive, a number of cast and crew, including myself, will be present for Q&As following all three of our screenings. It’s a great way for the audience to be interactive and engage with the film.
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5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Best Director/Writer Oscar for FRIENDED TO DEATH. Give us your acceptance speech.
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What a question! At risk of seeming coy, I’ll say this: my speech would be shaped by the guiding sentiments of gratitude, pride, and grace.
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See FRIENDED TO DEATH at Cinequest!
“Like” them on Facebook!
Follow them on Twitter!
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