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Emily Goss, actress: THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET

Emily Goss plays "Jennifer" in THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET

Emily Goss plays “Jennifer” in THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET

1Q: Tell us how you became involved with The House on Pine Street, and how you prepared for your role.

Well, the long version is that I loved doing student films while I was studying Theatre at USC and had a lot of friends who were in the School of Cinematic Arts. In the summer of 2013, I was working on a feature with some SCA friends and Austin helped us on set for a few days. He, Aaron, and Natalie were about to start writing “The House on Pine Street” at that point. Later that fall, he cast me in a short he was directing, and I got to meet Aaron too. Then last spring, the twins and Natalie reached out, saying they were now casting “The House on Pine Street,” and asked me if I’d audition for Jennifer. I sent a taped audition to Kansas, had a call back on Skype, and got the part!

I like preparing both technically and emotionally. I read and reread the script and figure out how it all fits together. Then what isn’t in the script, I like to create – to build memories and backstories. This script was great for that because so much of the tension is buried in these people’s long histories. On top of that we got to rehearse! Aaron and Austin brought the actors together and we played and discussed the scenes prior to shooting.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of The House on Pine Street. 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?

I’m so thankful that Cinequest is supporting us and giving us the opportunity to screen here. Especially since I grew up in San Mateo, the fact that the premiere is going to be here of all places is amazing. My parents and my childhood friends are going to get to see the film. My high school drama teacher might get to see it!

For some reason, I’m not too nervous to share “The House on Pine Street” with audiences, I just feel excited. Maybe it’s because I’m so proud of what we made – the cast and crew all did incredible work. I think people are going to like the film. And by “like it” I mean “get the bejeezus scared out of them.”

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making The House on Pine Street?

Oh, hard to pick a “best experience”… “The House on Pine Street” is not a happy movie but making it was one of the most fun and fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Joining the team was instantly becoming part of a family. Most of us lived in The House during production. I guess the best experiences were the million little moments that make up living and working with people you care about. Someone strumming on a guitar around the corner, washing dishes before Monique finds out you ate with the prop plates, eating together around the table in the dining room, playing stupid games, celebrating birthdays, opening wine bottles with screwdrivers and hammers and nails because, while we’d forgotten a corkscrew moving in, we had plenty of power tools. It wasn’t just the cast and crew either – the communities of Leavenworth and Independence, the wonderful people who welcomed us into their homes to shoot, all the extras, they were so enthusiastic and became part of that family too. Just to wake up in a place built in 1840, make a movie all day, and go to sleep looking forward to another day just like it… what’s better than that?

Of course things went wrong too… one of the worst things? Well, the shower broke for a couple of days… part of living in an old house, right? Those were dark times.

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?

This is a bold movie. It’s not your typical horror and it’s not your typical drama. But it is a confident movie. The thing that impressed me most about Aaron, Austin, and Natalie is how thoroughly they knew the story they wanted to tell and how much they committed to that vision. They took cinematic chances and made strong, sophisticated choices. The relationships in the film are beautifully explored. The characters are not always likable but they are interesting, which I prefer. “The House on Pine Street” shows how much a small crew – and young filmmakers – can accomplish.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for The House on Pine Street. Give us your acceptance speech.

Oh gosh. I’d thank my parents. I’d thank my family… for Everything. And the Kansas family of course – everyone involved in “The House on Pine Street.” An award for any part of this film is such a tribute to the whole. I’d thank the wonderful teachers and classmates I’ve been lucky enough to have – rehearsal buddies, self-tape buddies – everyone at USC and LAMDA, my studios in LA, the LA theatre community, other films I’ve been a part of – all these people and projects helped me and continue to every day. And I suppose I’d thank the Academy too.

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Torre Catalano, writer/director: MILWAUKEE

Torre Catalano wrote and directed MILWAUKEE

Torre Catalano directed and co-wrote (with the “Milwaukee Collective”) MILWAUKEE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Milwaukee, from concept to financing.

“Milwaukee” came about at a dinner party with all the actors. Most of them are on these great shows, but in between seasons they were getting antsy and wanting to keep being creative. After a few bottles of wine, we decided that we should all make something together. In Hollywood you can fall into the trap very easily of just waiting for work to fall in your lap, rather than taking the bull by the horns. We decided that we didn’t need to wait for permission from a studio or agency, because sitting at that table we had everything you need to make a film: Actors, a director, a writer, a producer, and talented people who would support it. We decided to set a deadline and move forward before we could think of a reason to back out. A script was written 2 weeks later and we were on set shooting a month after that.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Milwaukee. 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?

For me, it’s thrilling and terrifying to premiere any piece of art. The point of creating is to share it with as many people as you can and try to ignite something – whether it be a discussion, a controversy, a change, or just to inspire others. The very nature of creating lends itself to sharing, yet it’s very easy to be hesitant about that sharing. My fellow producers know that I have a love/ hate relationship with screenings. I’ve been known to not even attend my own screenings in the past, just because I feel like I have already learned everything I need to from the film, and sitting through it again can become difficult. Though Cinequest is an amazing festival that really supports indie filmmakers, so I’m really looking forward to attending that screening and seeing the reaction from attendees.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Milwaukee?

The best experience was the flexibly. We didn’t have a studio breathing down our next, so we were be able to be nimble and change directions on a dime. On several occasions we’d shoot a scene and feel it wasn’t working. So I’d grab the actors, we’d find a corner to hunker down in, and we’d all rewrite it together so that it was the best possible setting for the
characters to thrive in. That was the most creative, rewarding and collaborative thing I have ever been a part of. The difficult thing was shooting nights. We started every day at 7pm and didn’t finish until 7am. By the end of shooting we were all zombies

image1 (1)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?

Milwaukee is one of the most honest films you can see. Each scene and each line was workshopped directly with the actor to pull out the most real and honest performance. The actors pulled a lot from their own lives and they were incredibly brave in doing that. Because we had the flexibility of being an indie film, we were able to re-shoot and re-work any scenes
that didn’t feel 100% honest. We tackle some pretty hard topics about sex and monogamy, and come at them full-speed without apology. This is an independent film in every sense of the word. We raised the money ourselves, we found the locations and props ourselves, we came up with the story ourselves and we filmed it ourselves. The actors doubled as set decorators and wardrobe assistants when not filming. It is truly indie, and I’m so proud of that.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Milwaukee. Give us your acceptance speech.

I couldn’t possibly even wrap my head around that. Though when it comes to Oscar speeches, my favorite of all time is Joe Pesci’s for “Goodfellas.” He stepped up to the microphone and simply said “It was my pleasure.” Then he walked away. Awards for art seem silly to me, since art is such a subjective thing. But if one is ever faced with accepting an award, I would recommend they have the same humble delivery as Mr. Pesci.

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Ryan Black, director of photography: ONE DAY IN APRIL

Ryan Black is DoP for ONE DAY IN APRIL

Ryan Black is DoP for ONE DAY IN APRIL

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of One Day in April, from concept to financing.

One Day in April started out in Washington, D.C. on [writer/producer] Peter Stevenson’s basement floor. [Director] Tom was staying there as he worked at the White House. Looking back, it seemed so obvious – why hadn’t there been a film about the Little 500? If you aren’t from Indiana, maybe you’ve never heard of it, but here, it’s a really big deal. When Tom got back from D.C., I joined the team, and a short while later, Peter flew in from D.C. and production began. We didn’t know anything about cycling, but we learned quickly. We got an Indiegogo crowdfunding page set up, and ended up bringing in about $8,000. I was still a student, so balancing school and this suddenly very real film project was insane in the beginning. We worked everyday, shooting, editing, figuring out who and where all our characters were, and everything else that goes along with shooting a documentary. It was very hectic early on. A few months in, we were contacted by Kirsten [Powell], who ended up coming on as a producer, which helped smooth things out. We practiced how we would shoot the actual race during the events leading up to it, and made a 20-camera plan for it. It was intense, but we knew we had to cover it like a real live sporting event on tv. We contacted friends at IU and posted on social media, and ended up putting together a 25 person crew for the 2013 race. It was incredible and it’s still hard to believe everything came together so well.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of One Day in April. 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?

It is going to be incredible to be at our own world premiere, watching our very first film ever being shown in an actual theater . We’ve put a couple of years into this now, so it will bring a sense of accomplishment to finally let others watch it on such a grand stage. I think they’ll enjoy the excitement of the different race events in the film, as well as the more personal moments with the teams.The Little 500 itself is incredible to see, and I really think we capture the grander of the event, so I definitely think the audience will enjoy that. In the end though, wether people like it or not, I’m incredibly proud of our hard work on One Day in April – it will just be a huge bonus if people like it.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making One Day in April?

As is common in Indiana, the weather was completely unpredictable during principle photography. We would go out in sub-zero temperatures just to get a single shot of the track under a foot of snow, or in torrential downpour just to get the shot of the riders training in the rain. I think we gained the riders’ respect when we would do things like that, which definitely helped us down the road with access to our subjects. The weather was definitely the worst though. The Best moment is easy. Race day. There is nothing like the Little 500, and just as the riders had trained for a year for their moment, it too was ours and we enjoyed every minute of it.

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?

I think we’re telling a different kind of story than most. We aren’t trying to convince you of anything. One Day in April is a story of self-worth, of hard work, and of what it means to give your all for something that others may find meaningless. From brothers fighting to keep a dynasty alive, to a coach’s obsession with winning, and of simpler things like the struggles of leaving home, One Day in April tells all sorts of stories that are all united by one thing – The Little 500. We joke that it is a ‘choose your own adventure’ film. That is what sets One Day in April apart. We don’t tell you who to root for or what to think, we simply present real human beings doing real things – all for their own reasons.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for One Day in April. Give us your acceptance speech.

Making One Day in April was a privilege for all of us and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our family and friends, our volunteer crew, our subjects and Indiana University. It is important that stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things are made, and in that spirit, we’ve set up the One Day in April Scholarship at Indiana University. Starting this year, our production company Fox Frame Productions will be supplying students with the funds and guidance they need to create their own stories. Without the support we had when we were in school, we wouldn’t have been able to make this film, so thank you to everyone who helped us get to this point and thank you for enjoying our film.

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Adam Cohen, cinematographer: SEA HORSE

Adam Cohen is the cinematographer for SEA HORSE

Adam Cohen is the cinematographer for SEA HORSE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Sea Horse, from concept to financing.

Sea Horse is centered around a theme of “Home” and the variations of what home means to each of the characters. Reducing characters down to specific sayings (i.e. “Home is where the heart is” as the emotional, “Being ‘At Home’” as the mental, and “We’re home” as the physical) and then allowing each actor to build their character from those concepts created an extremely collaborative process where the actors began to imbue their characters with many different colors of personality and made for a more realistic performance. Their actions are defined by these concepts and though they are all looking for the same thing, the perspective is different.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Sea Horse. 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?

I’m very excited to see how people not associated with the making of the film will react. I’m not speculating, more curious.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Sea Horse?

Everything about the process was magical. The film has been a very special project that will always hold a very important place close to my heart. It was made with passion and a true love for storytelling. Not all films are truly collaborative, but Sea Horse was exactly that, from beginning to finish.

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?

People see different types of films for many different reasons. Sea Horse contains basic humanistic elements that we have all experienced throughout our lives, and that makes it relatable. If I care about the characters, I invest in my hero’s story. I cheer and cry for my hero. Film is cathartic and if I leave the theatre feeling something different from when I walked in, I feel rewarded, energized, hopeful, ready and able to see the world in a new way because of the journey I went on with my character.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Sea Horse. Give us your acceptance speech.

Gracias, para todo.

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Victoria Rose, screenwriter: SEA HORSE

Victoria Rose co-wrote SEA HORSE

Victoria Rose co-wrote SEA HORSE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Sea Horse, from concept to financing.

Kamell and I had a short script writing class together during our time at USC Grad school, where we were earning our MFA’s in film production. Our teacher took us aside after class and told us that we should write together because we had similar sensibilities and themes in our work and to use his exact words… we were both “weird”. Kamell and I began collaborating together and he presented me with an idea he had for a short film. He wanted to shoot in Alaska and he had an idea for a mythical type creature that was part shark part human and he also wanted to explore the theme of having or not having a home and what that means to people and characters. He had actors in mind, so we already had a sense of what the characters would look and sound like. We started sharing songs and visuals that inspired us. We got together several times, watched inspirational movies, brain stormed, and then we took turns writing pages. The short became really long, and we realized that it could easily be made into a feature, so we went with it.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Sea Horse. 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?

We are really excited and honored to be showcasing Sea Horse at Cinequest. As filmmakers, it’s our greatest hope to share our work with as many people as possible. I think Sea Horse is unique in that it doesn’t necessarily follow a traditional narrative, but instead focuses on symbolism and how certain elements and symbols can share a universal yet specific story. It’s also atypical because it’s a slice of life story about three women who exist in a fantastical world. Usually when we watch slice of life stories, the setting and the characters take place in reality. I am curious to see how people react, since it isn’t what one might expect from a feature film.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Sea Horse?

I have several “best experiences” during the making of Sea Horse. Filming with an intimate crew in this wondrous place was a really cherished time for me. Alaska has an extremely special, magical quality, so just being there was an unforgettable experience in itself. But specifically, the first “best experience” was seeing a character I had created come to life on set. The character was mostly cut from the final version of the film, but she was a soothsayer. I had conjured up a very specific image of the woman in my head, and seeing the actress with full make up and hair and in costume on the set was really exciting for me. It’s always an amazing feeling to see something that was once a fleeting idea that only you had and only you knew about, become something, through collaboration, that’s real and tangible and everyone can see. Another best experience came later in the process. Kamell gave me the final DVD and I sat on the couch in my living room and watched the whole thing and when the film finished and I saw my name flash onto my computer screen, I started to cry. This is our first feature film. We made it while we were still in graduate school. I think Kamell is such a talented, wonderful individual and I felt so honored that he wanted to write something with me and that he entrusted me with the responsibility of helping him craft this story. Holding the DVD felt like such a sense of accomplishment knowing that this film will be the first of many in our careers. The worst experience was probably getting 37 mosquito bites over the span of three weeks while filming in the woods of Alaska. Yes… 37… I counted.

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?

I think people should see our film if they love beauty (the look of this film really transports you somewhere else), genuine, grounded performances, and stories about a protagonist who embarks on a mythic journey. I think if the viewer has a curiosity about or interest in poetic cinema, our film might be especially enjoyable.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Sea Horse. Give us your acceptance speech.

If we won an oscar for Sea Horse, I’d probably let Kamell do all the talking. He put so much of himself into this film. I’m just honored to be a part of it.

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Tyler Westen, composer: SEA HORSE

Tyler Westen composed the music for SEA HORSE

Tyler Westen composed the music for SEA HORSE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Sea Horse, from concept to financing.

I was first approached by Adam Cohen the cinematographer and an old fried about a film he was going to shoot in Alaska. He introduced me to Kamell and after meeting it was clear to me that this film was going to be special. Kamell and Adam asked that I start writing some themes for them to listen to during production and I immediately began work based off an early draft of the script.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Sea Horse. 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?

It is incredibly exciting to have Sea Horse premiering at Cinequest, Having been involved with this project since 2012 I can’t wait to show it off. As for audiences, I hope that they are engrossed by the beautiful landscape that Kamell has created and moved by the stellar performances of our leading ladies.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Sea Horse?

Certainly the best experience was being able to record a live orchestra at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sea Horse was the first feature film that I scored on my own, and it was a very special experience for me to hear my music come to life at the hands of some great players. Not to sound cheesy but there really weren’t any bad experiences. The whole project was a thrill to work on.

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?

Sea Horse is a beautiful and sometimes terrifying film about a journey three friends are forced to take when things are at their worst. The film takes you on an introspective adventure that challenges audiences to look beyond the typical film experience.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Sea Horse. Give us your acceptance speech.

Fingers crossed!!! To be honest I don’t think I’d be able to get through it because I’d be so excited. But I’d definitely have to thank Kamell and Adam for creating such a beautiful and dynamic landscape to work with. As well as my family and girlfriend for tirelessly supporting the pursuit of my dream.

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Kamell Allaway, writer/director: SEA HORSE

Kamell Allaway directs SEA HORSE

Kamell Allaway directs SEA HORSE

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of Sea Horse, from concept to financing.

Sea Horse has been a project close to my heart since 2009. Back then it was just a kernel of an idea, which developed into a short script, and then into a feature script. By 2011, I had met a series of incredibly talented artists, I had developed connections and resources in Alaska, and I had found a few private investors who were interested in supporting independent film. It all fell into place and before I knew it, we were filming in Seward, Alaska. Being that we were all in Grad School at the time, we underwent a delayed post-process. From pre-production to completion, Sea Horse was a 4-year journey.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of Sea Horse. 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?

I’m incredibly excited to share our film with audiences at Cinequest. It truly is a perfect fit. I hope audiences will be challenged by Sea Horse and I hope that they enjoy investing themselves into the experience we’ve created with the film.

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making Sea Horse?

Honestly, the whole experience was incredible. It was quite a journey. Making this film taught me a lot about filmmaking and a lot about myself. There was one day when we had to hike up a mountain, carrying tons of equipment, with the goal of shooting near a glacier. We were given access to shoot there, but we didn’t have an official permit. Only an hour into shooting, a ranger approached us with a document declaring that we officially could NOT shoot there. I somehow convinced him to let us go for one more hour. We kept our word and then lugged all the equipment back down the mountain. That scene got cut, haha! I think the crew wanted to strangle me (jokingly). Even challenges like that were thrilling. We always made it exciting and fun.

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?

Sea Horse is a film that channels the ambiguity and complex experience that is life. It explores fear and how it impacts our relationships. It explores the confusion of being lost, and the victory of being found. If you’re interested in surrealism, survival films, drama, love, or just checking out an independent film at random and talking to us about it after, then I hope to see you there!

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for Sea Horse. Give us your acceptance speech.

“Are you sure?”

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