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TNC Archive 2018

SXSW 2018

Frank is the seemingly normal father of a loving family. However, his home life is hilariously turned upside down when his 17-year-old son discovers that his dad has a second family.

Hey Miranda, thank you for talking to The New Current, how's everything going?

Great! Thanks for asking. We are all stoked to show You Can Choose Your Family to an audience. 


What does it mean for you to be at SXSW with the World Premiere of your debut feature You Can Choose Your Family? 

SXSW is my favourite festival since I started going there when it first started. They have the best audiences. When we were making this movie we always wanted it to play there if we could. We got lucky and it happened. 


You're going to be screened in the Narrative Spotlight this year do you have any nerves ahead of the screenings?

Uh, yeah. I’m terrified! No one has seen this movie yet. Not the crew, the cast or any audience anywhere. We barely finished it in time to make the delivery deadline. So yeah, I’m nervous. But if I wasn’t, I’d be more nervous that I wasn’t nervous ha! 

Can you tell me a little bit about You Can Choose Your Family,  how did this film come about?

The script was developed in the Imagine writers lab. They had a director attached at one point and sent it out but the film never got made. It then came to me through the writer Glen Lakin and our shared manager Amotz Zakai. I fell in love with the concept of the film because I had actually been looking to write  a “father son” infidelity story. Then this came in and I was like well, let’s rework this script to fit that. 

What was the inspiration behind this film?

This is probably a question for the writer Glen Lakin as he originally had the concept idea. But for me, the inspiration to direct and produce the film came from needing to express my own experience of dealing with my parents divorce when I was in my last year of high school. I was really thrown for a loop and it was a real shit storm at home. This film allowed me to say the things I needed to say to my own father and my own self. It was really cathartic. But still a boat load of fun because it’s a comedy and it’s hard not to laugh when Jim Gaffigan is around. 


Once you read Glen's script did it take you long to decide you wanted this to be your feature debut?


No. I knew right away. And after about a year of development and then we sent it to my agents at ICM they were really keen on the project. I had a few I was developing but my agent Peter Trinh loved You Can Choose YOUR FAMILY and encouraged me to have this film be my first. Once that was decided we had to cast it. Which sounds easier than it actually is. Two years later we got lucky and landed Jim Gaffigan

What have been the biggest challenges you've faced making this film?

I wish I had more time and money. What film maker doesn’t. Ha! 


Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

I’ve known I would work in the movies since I was 8 years old. As soon as I could move out to Hollywood, I did. And I’ve been acting, producing, releasing & directing films ever since then. I’m pretty sure I would sink into a deep crevasse if I didn’t have movies to work on. 

What was the first film you worked on?

The first film I actually worked on all aspects from development to distribution was a hilarious, horror, comedy, musical called DEAD & BREAKFAST. We had our world premiere at SXSW in 2004! One of the leads of that film Zachariah Selwyn will be singing at our YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY after party and has a small role with Anna Gunn & Samantha Mathis in my latest film. I love SXSW! 

How much has your approach to filmmaking changed since your first short film? 

My approach has always been HAVE FUN and make it all one big experiment. That hasn’t changed and I hope it never does. 

What are some of the mistakes someone might avoid when they start making their debut film? 

Don’t rush it for a festival submission. (Please remind me of this for my next film too). 

"This film allowed me to say the things I needed to say to my own father and my own self."

How important is the collaborative process of filmmaking for you? 

Collaboration IS the process. If a film maker doesn’t find collaborators important than they are probably better suited at dentistry. 


What's been the best advice you've been given?

The actor Brian Dennehy sent me a text on my first day of shooting this film. He said "Have an open mind, listen to everyone, decide what you want, and then insist on getting it. When the picture's finished, you will get a lot of the credit, or, surely, most of the blame, so make the movie you want to make. Don't take any shit from anyone. (Unless you absolutely have to, and if you have to, swallow hard, and gargle immediately. The taste goes away in a few days)." I love that guy! 

Do you have any advice you would offer any up and coming filmmaker? 


Listen to Brian Dennehy.  

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

I just want people to have a good time. Laugh and cry if they need to. 

We could all use a bit of an escape right now. 

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