What better day than today to release my interview with Rebekah Fieschi? Today, Sylphvania Grove, her latest project on Seed & Spark, just passed the $11,000 mark. (That puts them at 183% of their initial $6,000 goal.) You can click through to that page on any of the links embedded in this page to see how all that money will be used. And if you still want to join Rebekah (shown above with Maxine Wanderer who plays the lead, Mycena) on her journey, it is not too late. As of this writing, there is a little over a week left.
Now, equally important to the money, is the number of followers they have on that page. This gives you an opportunity to help them out FOR FREE. They just surpassed the 350 follower tally — and now we need to help them to get to 500 followers. We can do this!!! Again, following them is FREE TO YOU; and yet it unlocks all kinds of promotional assistance for Rebekah on Seed & Spark. So follow them now — and if you really want to help them even more, share this blog post on facebook, or twitter, or reblog it on your blog. The more eyeballs that see this plea, the better.
Your reward? Besides the fact that you have the self-satisfaction of helping a worthy project, I’m also giving you this exclusive interview with Rebekah, right now, as a Thank You…
JON MEYERS INTERVIEWS REBEKAH FIESCHI
Jon: Hi, Rebekah. Thanks for taking my questions. I think it’s great that five out of six of the characters in Sylphvania Grove are female. What was your inspiration for Mycena? Where does her name come from?
Rebekah: Hey Jon, of course I am happy to. My inspiration for Mycena first came while baby sitting a lot, witnessing how kids interacted with their parents and how their behavior or even personality would change when they wanted a specific reaction out of them. I also find it fascinating and heart wrenching when a child would question everything they like or dislike, everything that constitute the world they live in and who they are because of comments heard at school. How words of judgement have the power to make them feel vulnerable even in their safe place. Then Mycena’s character evolved as I started to add autobiographical elements such as wanting to always stay true to myself and preserving my integrity while dying to fit in. I think all these are universal feelings, we all want to fit in somewhere and we all want to be ourselves but it makes us vulnerable not to put on a face to confront the world. The word mycena is actually a type of mushroom, I really love the way it sounds and I liked the idea that the name of this 10-year-old character battling not to fit in a mold came from something that has a tendency to grow too fast and is considered unpleasant.
Jon: Great answer. When I name my characters, I do the same thing. By giving them a unique name which has a significant meaning (sometimes only to myself) it also helps me keep each character’s voice distinct.
Although I do enjoy Wes Anderson and the Coens, all of my other favorite hyphenates are female — Penelope Spheeris, Kat Candler, and Debra Granik, come to mind. (And now you of course ) When I met Kat Candler, she was such a positive force in the room, it literally changed the course of my life. Who are your personal influences, and have you had the pleasure of meeting any of them? If so, what did you take away from those meetings?
Rebekah: It’s so great that you got to meet an influence of yours and that it had such an impact on you. I love the works of Guillermo Del Toro and Tim Burton because they are such strong visual storytellers and tell the type of stories I want to tell. Unfortunately, very few of my cinematic influences are female, probably because I love genre films so much and that’s the hardest place to find a woman director. Sofia Coppola’s work had a huge impact on my teenage life and I’m still hugely inspired by her aesthetic and poetic way of telling a story. I’ve yet to meet any of the filmmakers that have inspired me, but I would love to meet a woman like Susan Sarandon someday, she always speaks her mind and is not afraid to fight for her beliefs.
Jon: Another great answer. Thank you. Do you know Dianne Bellino’s The Itching? She’s her own person, of course, but I see Tim Burton influences in her for sure. Check it out here on Vimeo; it’s only 10 minutes. Haunting and lovely at the same time.
My next question is about you. Presupposing you can’t have both…. Would you rather be the Big Fish in the Small Pond (get the Big Fish reference?) or helm a blockbuster with no award chatter surrounding it? Indie darling or Hollywood anomaly?
Rebekah: I do know The Itching; it’s a wonderful short and I’m a big fan of stop-motion. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
On the big versus small…. hmmm that’s a tough question. Of course I would love to make a movie that’s extremely successful at the box office, it would mean that my film has reached a wider audience and it technically should enable me to make another film. But I feel that if you make movies in Hollywood you lose some artistic freedom, and that a big chunk of your audience only sees your movie as a piece of entertainment they consume, while festivals and the indie world has more respect and interest in the artistic and meaningful aspect of a film. Really, it doesn’t matter much, what I really want is for my films to be seen and for people to feel something when they watch, to connect with the characters and feel invested in the story. I hope that my films will give people the magical feeling I get when I watch a movie I love.
Jon: Thank you, Rebekah. Not a week goes by that I don’t think about The Itching. (Chuckles.) Now THAT’S an interesting sentence. Seriously, though, that movie really touched me. I agree with you. I can’t wait to see what Dianne does next.
Speaking of next, once Sylphvania Grove gets made, the “next” for that will be festivals right? Mauvaises Têtes received so many laurels. I know some of those were from horror festivals, but many were not — since Sylphvania Grove is fantasy, not horror, about what percent overlap do you think you’ll see as far as festival entries? Do you see the success of Mauvaises Têtes helping Sylphvania Grove? Tell me a little bit about that — possible comparisons and differences for the two films in terms of festival runs.
Rebekah: Yes, I will be submitting Sylphvania Grove to festivals. I’m hoping it will be even more successful than Mauvaises Têtes, which is a very different movie that targets a different, probably smaller audience (even though some of the audience over lapse). My guess is that it would fit in both genre and regular festivals, but even though I put a lot of research in festivals, it’s always a little bit of a guessing game and you can never know what is going to happen.
Jon: Thanks. I’m not surprised that you do put a lot of research into them [the festivals]. It appears you are very thorough about everything you do.
Last question… for this interview anyway. What’s next for Rebekah Fieschi? After Sylphvania Grove, how will you decide which project to tackle next? I have an ongoing binder of the next five scripts — at least five– I’m going to write, with approximate start and finish dates over the next four years. It changes a little but not much — do you have a similar process? What’s “five years from now” look like to you?
Rebekah: After Sylphvania Grove, I plan on very quickly getting into pre-production for my first feature film. It is currently untitled but it is a new turn on the classic gothic haunted house story. It is a story that is very dear to me — the script is not yet completed but will be by the end of summer. I have another feature script I am working on but that one is much more expensive to make and I feel I really need the experience of making a feature film before getting it into production. But I love short films and I always have short tales to tell, I hope to be able to shoot a no-budget micro short this fall called The Unvisited, and I have been working on a stop-motion animation short for a year which is a great challenge. I count on creating it continuously for another year. It is entitled The Old Man and the Cradle. The next five years look very busy with productions and hard work, and I’m sure they will be full of surprises.
Jon: All of those sound so cool. Your first feature!!! Can I name it? (Chuckles.) And simultaneously the stop-motion project, on top of everything else? Now THAT’S my kind of ambition!!!
Thank you again for doing this interview, Rebekah. It has been a total pleasure for me to meet you, and learn about you and what makes you tick. I’ll let you know when I post it on the blog. Thank you one last time, and we’ll talk again, I’m sure.
Rebekah: Absolutely — it is my pleasure, I’m very happy to have made a new friend and film connection! I can’t wait to see what happens with your scripts!
Jon: Merci! I can’t wait either. Have a great weekend, Rebekah.