Sundance Film Festival 2019
Stefanie Abel Horowitz
Sometimes, I Think About Dying
Fran likes to think about dying. When she makes a guy in the office laugh, he wants more - a movie date, a slice of pie, a conversation. But if dating him means learning to live, she's pretty sure she can't do that.
Hi Stefanie thanks for talking to The New Current, you all set for the festival?
I am! Shocked and surprised that I get to be a part of it, but ready and raring to go.
Are there any nerves ahead of a festival screening?
I'm sure I'll be nervous when I get there, but for now I'm very, very excited.
This will be your World Premiere, does this add any extra pressure for you?
I'm noticing a pattern here - a lot of questions about my anxiety! I actually think that when we sent the close-to-final-cut to the first round of friends who hadn't seen it at all felt scarier than this! Although, I've never had a film world premiere at a festival, let alone at Sundance, so maybe ask me after the 26th and we'll see how I feel then.
Tell me a little bit about Sometimes, I Think About Dying, how did the film come about?
Sometimes, I think about dying is about a woman, named Fran, who thinks about dying, but a man in the office might want to date her. It's really a movie about learning to let people in and let some of ourself out.
What was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
It's actually based on a play that I directed in New York in 2013. It was called killers and was written by my wonderful writer friend, Kevin Armento. We'd have to ask him what inspired the story to begin with, but we (Katy Wright-Mead and I) were inspired to adapt it into a screenplay because it was such an honest and intimate story.
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Sometimes, I Think About Dying to life?
There's so many ways I could answer this question! The voiceover was actually really difficult to get right. Some of what's in the final film was recorded by Katy on her iPhone in her closet while her 1 year old napped!
"Make as much as you can for as cheap as you can and go as far down the process for each project as possible."
Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?
Oh gosh. I experienced some kind of regret over some kind of decision many times along the way. But I think that's just how creativity works. You make a lot of decisions and there's a lot of learning as you go. But I'm also a firm believer that mistakes can create interesting solutions. So, no, I wouldn't go back and change anything about it.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
Not at all. I've always been interested in storytelling and narrative scripted story telling at that. But I was a theater director for a long time before very recently making the switch to film.
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
The most important! I am nothing without my collaborators! This movie is nothing without each and every person who offered their smarts and talents to make it happen. The best idea is the best idea and I don't care where it comes from. In fact, I love when it's not my idea.
How much has your approach to your work changed since your debut film?
I made my first film only a year ago and it's been a steep learning curve to adapt to the differences between theatre and film. I knew next to nothing about cameras or what you could do with them when I started. Actually, I still no very little about cameras but I do know what kind of questions to ask and what different choices can lead to later on. I also have a lot more confidence which always helps.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Make things! I really think that's the key. Make as much as you can for as cheap as you can and go as far down the process for each project as possible. It all teaches you something and it's all worthwhile even if none of it is perfect.
What are you currently working on?
We're working on a feature version of the short!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
My psychiatrist father says that if more people understood how they felt and were able to find intimacy within that the world would be a happier place. I think I hope this film offers some version of that. And if not, I hope it moves people in whatever way it strikes them.