And Then There Was Eve is a story about the loss of a significant other, the rebirth of a lost relationship and a woman who discovers that love transcends through hardship and change.
Who are you and what do you do?
Tough question but I'll keep it brief. Savannah Bloch and I'm the co-writer/director of And Then There Was Eve.
What was your relationship like with your co-writer?
Colette Freedman (pictured above writer for AND THEN THERE WAS EVE)
I think the key to finding a strong co-writing partnership begins with complimentary strengths and mutual respect. I absolutely LOVE Colette's writing from the first moment I read an earlier play of hers, Sister Cities. So when working together, she had a stronger command of the written word while I did a lot of the research and enforced the perspective in which we told the story.
What sparked this story to write/direct?
I think I struggle with commitment. Finding a story that you can commit your entire self to for an unknown amount of time is very tough. My mind wandered to these questions, these 'what ifs'? What if your identity was wrapped up in someone else and you lost them? Who would you be without them? What if one day you found them, but they were someone else, and you were someone else? What was that love before, what happens now? What is love? What is the difference between a love for a friend and a love for a spouse? What does it mean to be a woman? These questions were complex enough to hold my attention and make me want to dive deeply.
What were a few challenges you faced while directing the film?
There were so many challenges with an independent low budget film that aspires to take on something complex. But as far as just me and directing I'd say one of the biggest challenges was telling two stories at once. The script was designed this way so it wasn't a complete shock but when giving notes to Tania Nolan and Rachel Crowl, we all realized that this is a completely different movie from each of their perspectives and I had to keep both in mind the entire way through. I am also proud of this challenge because without spoilers I believe the audience gets two fresh viewing experiences. Which is kind of cool.
What inspired the color "mood" of the film?
Colette and I write very differently. I actually write while using a Pinterest board. I am putting it together visually using Pinterest while writing it into words. Early on, we set the film in New Orleans and I think this early stage really influenced the color mood of the film. The colors had their own journey as Alyssa lives in her monochromatic world, Eve's influence adds more hue and saturation to her world. Visually and thematically showing that sometimes we box ourselves into what we expect our life to be, closing ourselves off to a beauty that we may never have thought we could experience.
Why do you think the music was just as important as the picture for your film? What story does it tell?
This is my favorite question. The music definitely tells its own story and Robert Lydecker is a genius. The backstory here is that Kevin Durante, Alyssa's missing husband, was a man who followed the rules, he taught Jazz theory and was classically trained but never performed. Alyssa's new friend, Eve Poole, is a performing jazz pianist who pushes the boundaries of jazz into an amalgamation of trip hop, electro swing and traditional jazz. Lydecker did something so interesting which was allow his musicians to improvise and then use those sounds from a pianist, drums, bassist and saxophonist to provide textures for the score. This creates a nostalgia that the audience can feel as Alyssa, our central character, does. A nostalgia for the past but later in the film feel these sounds go from broken and discordant to melodic, new and powerful. Our sound designers called the first act "broken jazz period" until Eve brings the music back to her life.
What do you want the audience to walk away with after watching this film?
I want an audience to walk away having a conversation. Maybe it sparks a conversation with their partner, one they never considered. I hope that this doesn't seem like just a story about a marginalized couple but really makes an audience relate. I hope that people's natural response tells them a little bit about themselves. Because what you think happens at the end of this film tells me more about you than it does about the characters.
How did your music inform the audience who the character "Eve" really was underneath? And why didn't any of the characters truly figure it out until the end?
Music was used as the trigger point for Alyssa's mental state. The first song in the very beginning while being yelled at by Mole boy's mother has an impressive piano solo and this piece here triggers her to remember her husband, Kevin. Someone she forced out of her memory for an entire year. And at the end when Eve plays her song, a final attempt to tell Alyssa who she is, its these six familiar notes create the melody, which force Alyssa to remember. These notes are the same ones Kevin sang to Alyssa when they first met. But the song is very different to the first song of the film. Its darker and more tragic, its not romanticised love but love that has had a lived journey. I believe this is Eve saying not only that its her Alyssa has been searching for but also that this has been really, really hard. To me, it says love is hard.
Also, every character knows in the film except Alyssa and Zain. Zain never met Kevin, he didn't even know he existed. Zain is our straight man we can relate to in an upside down universe.
Any fun set stories to share?
There was one day that stands out as the toughest day of set because we had location issues and lost half a day. We were shooting in South Central Los Angeles for a week in the loft location and when we finally get shooting, the neighbour blasts his music so loud I can't think, never mind what that is doing to our sound recording. I definitely lost my cool. I wanted to kill something so I stepped outside frustrated to get some air when a car drives by shooting out its window, three bullets towards who? I didn't know. A friggin' drive by shooting! Our security guard runs and I just stood there in shock. I returned to set with a quickly changed perspective and we completed our day.
If you were stranded on an abandoned island what five items would you want with you? (there are no rules)
- 1) A surfboard
- 2) A book called "Lump: The dog who ate a Picasso"
- 3) a guitar or uke
- 4) whiskey to share with the locals and make friends
- 5) a swiss army knife to chop fruit and vegetables
If you could meet any film director living or dead who would you talk to?
Hal Ashby so I can ask him a million questions about Harold and Maude.
If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self advice what would you say?
Chill out. Life is not a race. Enjoy the moment. Be kind to your parents. Finish what you start.
What's your favorite film genre to write/direct?
Dark Comedy and Psychological Drama
If you weren't working in film what would you be doing with your life?
I'd be a social entrepreneur. I actually still plan to do that one day. Social innovation and entrepreneurship run in my blood and I hope to get my MBA to one day pursue the idea of sustainable non-profits and finding that sweet spot where a business makes money, makes art and creates positive change.