Justin & Kristin Schaack  
Quarantined with a Ghost
Screening Session: BLOCK 2
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
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During a global pandemic, a woman is quarantined to her home with a ghost for a housemate.

Hello Justin & Kristin, how have you be holding up during these very strange times?

It’s been difficult, but we’re extremely lucky to have our health and fortunate enough to keep working (from home) throughout the last year. We look forward to hugging our family and friends.

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

They say that Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Macbeth during an outbreak of the plague. Unfortunately, our artistic response wasn’t quite as fruitful. In fact, we were creatively paralysed at first. But then we realised that everyone living in this time will have a shared experience, which is an amazing opportunity as storytellers. We took that to heart when we created Quarantined with a Ghost and decided to incorporate specific vocabulary and unique activities that skyrocketed in popularity due to the stay-at-home orders. Ultimately, creating Quarantined with a Ghost was the jumpstart we needed to feel a small sense of normal again, so we’ve continued to work on long term projects and look forward to joining our cast & crews again in the near future. 

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

It was an incredible honour to have our film Fairy Tail be a part of the inaugural PRFF, so we’re familiar with the quality of films the Papaya Rocks team curates for their events. It’s extremely humbling and thrilling to have Quarantined with a Ghost selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival!

Can you tell me a little bit about Quarantined with a Ghost, how did this film come about?

We've been a writing/directing team for almost 20 years, but the last time we acted together was in high school theatre.

Cue 2020 and a global pandemic that immediately put a pause on any filmmaking with large casts and crews. As filmmakers that must always be creating, and in our desperation to make 2020 feel slightly normal, we wrote, directed, AND acted in Quarantined with a Ghost. 

In keeping with proper social distancing protocols, Quarantined with a Ghost was entirely created from concept to completion by just the two of us, with the small exception of our fabulous supporting actor (Susannah Eckberg) via video conference.

What were the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?

We’re used to having a larger cast & crew with our films, so it was a unique challenge to just have the two of us on set. 

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

That’s a difficult question. We think of the film as snapshot in time, and because of that, we try not to second guess the choices we made in the creation of it.

Describe your film in three words?

Quirky, Timely, Heartfelt 

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

Both of us wanted to tell stories since we were children. In middle school and high school, we both sought a path in acting/performance. With the initial intent to have something to act in, we started producing films, and quickly discovered that our love of directing films superseded our love for performing in films. We’ve been directing films ever since! Quarantined with a Ghost is extra special for us because it’s the first time in a LONG time since we’ve been able to perform together on screen!

"If you’re an experienced filmmaker, keep creating. We all have different backgrounds and experiences."

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?

Make stuff happen.

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

The easy answer is, “of course!” But that is easier said than done. That’s why we think it’s equally as important to keep creating. We don’t let the self-imposed pressure of wanting to “push the boundaries” to prevent us from producing new films. We’ve found that creativity and innovation will come organically from there! 

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

If you’re an experienced filmmaker, keep creating. We all have different backgrounds and experiences. Because of that, every filmmaker has a unique voice that should be heard/seen. 

If you’re new to filmmaking, start creating. If you have access to a cellphone, you have access to a camera. So much of our personal filmmaking knowledge comes from the experiences we’ve made for ourselves throughout the years. We frequently draw on lessons we learned from previous projects.

What do you hope people will take away from Quarantined with a Ghost?

We hope that Quarantined with a Ghost will offer a lighthearted 5-minute escape from the tribulations of 2020 and provides an opportunity to laugh at our shared experiences and new catchphrases we’ve picked up over the last year.  

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