IFH 506: How to Make Your First Feature Film with Rebecca Eskreis

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I am pleased to have on the show this today, the gracious Rebecca Eskreis.

Rebecca has had a thrilling path to her dreams of filmmaking. Now a director, writer, producer, teacher, and film consultant whose projects have been recognized by huge platforms like SXSW, TIFF, SIFF, deadCenter, Savannah, Munich, Stockholm, and film Thessaloniki festivals, she’s surpassed her childhood dream.

Last year, Rebecca wrote, produced, and directed her latest film, What Breaks The Icea coming of age thriller about two 15-year-old girls, Sammy and Emily, who hark from different worlds but strike up a quick and deep friendship during summer break in 1998, set against the backdrop of a world consumed by the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But what should be the best summer of their lives takes an unexpected turn when they become accidental accomplices in a fatal crime.

What Breaks The Ice was her directorial debut project. For which she was awarded the Sandra Adair/Empowering a Billion Women Grant for promising female filmmakers from the Austin Film Society, and was selected for the Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive, hosted annually by Richard Linklater. The project was also a finalist for the 2016 Mayor’s Office of New York/Women in Film/Producers Guild Financing Lab. The film will be released byCinedigmin the fall of 2021.

As a kid, she would steal her dad's video camera self-delegating as the family-vacation videographer. Her parents harness her interest in filmmaking and had her attend film summer camp to develop her love for storytelling and the skills needed too.

Quite fortunately, she landed her first job out of college as a news writer/producer with Forbes. Her roles basically involved writing, producing, shooting, editing, and voicing more than 200 news segments and branded content pieces for Forbes’s online streaming network. While also playing a key role in the design and implementation of the video channels on the Forbes.com site.

She then went on to work in production in the Hollywood game for about seven years out in LA after going to graduate school at USC. some of her experiences included working with Clinica Estetico, 72 Productions, Red Hour Films, and Di Novi Pictures where she prepared herself for her self-venture by learning film development, and the rare opportunity of being mentored by the late Jonathan Demme.

Between 2005, to 2007, Rebecca thought part-time as a teaching assistant at USC for Cinematic Arts.

Eskreis's assistant produced the Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids 2016 documentary which documented the star's final performance and the Tennessee Kids' 20/20 Experience World Tour, filmed in 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Some of her other short films includeNoodling, The Wicked Waltz, The Argument, etc.

Please enjoy my conversation with Rebecca Eskreis.

Alex Ferrari 0:04
like to welcome the show Rebecca s grace. How you doing, Rebecca?

Rebecca Eskreis 0:08
Good. I'm so grateful to be here. Thanks for having me.

Alex Ferrari 0:12
Thank you so much for being on the show. I truly appreciate I did get to see your wonderful new film, which we're going to talk about a lot more in the show. What breaks the ice last week right before I broke my ankle.

Rebecca Eskreis 0:28
That's a joke about the fact that that really did happen. And

Alex Ferrari 0:31
so so everyone listening, everyone listening, I don't even think anyone I don't publicly say these things. But I was literally walking to my office. 20 minutes before the interview, I literally break my ankle. And I just got what breaks the ice. I just got the connection with that Jesus. Funny, it is pretty funny. And I had to cancel our conversation. But I'm glad we're able to do it a week later, I now am I am healing up. But it is those things that it actually happens is it's kind of like I saw a video of a dog eating homework. Like it did, like literally saw the dog eating the homework. It was pretty. The kid came out crying, they ate my homework. So um, so let's let's get started. How did you get started in the business?

Rebecca Eskreis 1:20
Well, actually, I kind of have the, it's pretty cliched, I would actually say, I'll start with let me start with where I started wanting to be a filmmaker, which was that when I was pretty young, I used to be that kid that stole my dad's video camera when we were on family vacations. And you know, I think a lot of kids that decide that they want their career to go in this direction. become fascinated with it at a young age, I went to a film summer camp, which I later found out our cinematographer grant associate Willett as well went to the same program that I did. And we like developed our love of we have telling stories with cameras. My first job actually, what I would consider telling stories for an audience other than my family [email protected], where I was a writer and producer it for the news. And the whole world of internet video was was very new and different. And we were figuring out what to do with it. And it gave me a platform to experiment. And I was very grateful for the people that gave me that opportunity. That's pretty

Alex Ferrari 2:41
awesome. And you also had a chance to work with the late great Jonathan Demi. What was that? Like? I mean working with I mean, he was a master. He was an absolute master. And I want to just I mean, obviously we could all look The Silence of the Lambs and some of his other films but Married to the Mob and so many other films that don't get as much spotlight on he was wonderful, wonderful filmmaker. So what did you how did you get involved with Jonathan?

Rebecca Eskreis 3:10
I got involved with Jonathan. I would I worked in as an as I had worked in as a as an assistant in the Hollywood game for about seven years out in LA after going to graduate school at USC. And my last job out there for a stint was working at to Novi pictures. wonderful opportunity, I really learned the world of development, and how a movie goes from beginning to end. Through this through both the independent world and the studio system. I wanted to move back to New York. I wanted to get into learning how to be a director in my own right. And I felt that my previous job experience was parlaying into that opportunity. And I had a really great friend Courtney, who I had met, actually doing a short film in Oklahoma, which was my student thesis film as a graduate student. And she called me up and she said, I think there's a job opening for a movie. I don't know who it's for, but I think it might be something that would be great for you because it's actually for a director and it would be like the proper next step for you. And I ended up going and needing Jonathan Demi and

Alex Ferrari 4:32
what well, what year was that? What year was that? So we

Rebecca Eskreis 4:36
This was in 2014. So this

Alex Ferrari 4:38
is so yeah, he's he's definitely Jonathan Demi at that point.

Rebecca Eskreis 4:42
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I have a very vivid memory of this. I I didn't know who I was going to meet until the day of the interview. And the one of the producers of the film emailed me and was like, we got your your resume and will you come in and And I'd meet with Jonathan. And I was like, Oh, I guess this is the movie I'm meeting on. This is crazy. And I show up on set and, and there is Jonathan in a bright orange sweatshirt. And he runs down the hill when he goes higher you Rebecca, and I'm like, why do you know who I am? I know who you are. We subsequently have this wonderful conversation, he introduces me to several of the producers, beyond the one who had spoken to me and and here I am, on the set of Ricki and the flash, and I get a phone call the next day that I get to work for Jonathan, and it kind of set off a really wonderful chain of events for me to ultimately make this movie happen.

Alex Ferrari 5:52
So what was the I mean, I'm assuming you got to see him work, what were some of the things you saw, that you've incorporated or, or borrowed for your own style of directing?

Rebecca Eskreis 6:07
become friends with your actors, listen to them. I think a lot of directing, you know, there was a, I don't want to get too into the weeds of the way that the role of the director, I think has changed. However, the one thing I always took away from watching Jonathan do his craft was that he just was so generous with all of the creative people that he worked with, and had such great enthusiasm for what people were able to bring to, to the process. And clearly, by the time I got to meet him, he was an however, I never saw him, lose his enthusiasm for what other people could bring, and what their creativity could contribute to the project. And so going into my first film, as a director, I thought, well, these are all people who have great talent, I'm so grateful to have them be part of my process. How can I encourage their creativity, and what I found was through as best as I could generosity of spirit really helps get the best out of everybody and ultimately made the product better and the movie better.

Alex Ferrari 7:36
I've noticed that with many of the directors, I've had the pleasure of talking to some of them very accomplished. The best ones are very collaborative, the the the image of the monocle with the blow horn, and that that image of like an SS will be the male or whoever it was back in the 30s. That that's not what the Great's do. Generally speaking, some are different. Obviously, everyone has their own path. But generally speaking, you're right. It's like that collaborative with everybody, the DP production designer, actors, specifically, how do you approach pulling performances out of pulling performances or molding performances from from an actor? Let's say you're not getting what you are wanting, but they're giving you something else? And it's not exactly the exact thing that you're looking for? How do you approach that?

Rebecca Eskreis 8:31
Through questions. And I have an I think, especially on this film on what breaks the ice, I have the privilege of saying that because I wrote the script, I can ask the question of, well, maybe you could try doing it this way. Because when I wrote the scene, I was thinking about the characters thinking about it this way, there's a particular scene that is cut out of the movie. But it was a it was a great scene, but it's not in the movie, unfortunately, for many reasons, not because it isn't a great scene just because it didn't seem to fit in. But I remember directing it. And I went up to all of the actors because they were having so much fun doing what they thought the scene. And I said, Can you please remember what point in the script we're at right now? And they go, Oh, yeah, sorry, we forgot.

Alex Ferrari 9:31
But that's your job as directors to kind of bring.

Rebecca Eskreis 9:34
Absolutely and but you know, when you're when you're behind the camera, and you're you really want to elicit honesty, especially with young actors. And I think that's the privilege of working with young actors is that they are so talented. They're so passionate, they are so visceral, and you want to let them give you What did they get off the page? So I didn't want to be too controlling. But then I said, um, can we just go back to where the this? You got to try to rein it in? And they're like, Oh, yeah, I'm so sorry. You're right, that that was like the it was around the second take? Yeah. Actually, I'm lying. I'm lying to myself, it was around the fourth. So it's

Alex Ferrari 10:27
what sometimes, sometimes it is herding cats. I mean, it's kind of like trying to meet, especially with a bunch of young actors, I've had the pleasure of working with young actors as well. And I always find it interesting as a director when you're working with young actors, because you obviously remember when you were young, I remember when I was young, it's a completely different world. Now. young actors have things and are dealing with young people in general are dealing with things that social media, are you kidding me? I would have, oh, yeah, thank God, there's no social media, when I was coming up, God knows what would be on the internet. That's the dumb things I did when I was in high school, and, and so on. So there are certain things that they bring to you. It's a fine balance, especially when you write young characters. It's a fine balance between letting them bring what their their experience of being a young person is, in today's world, even though you wrote it. I'm assuming using yourself as what you thought you were when you were younger, at least that's what I do. When I write is like, yeah, a young person is a young person, but there's different definitely, definitely different forces against you know, that put pressure on those young. So how do you balance that?

Rebecca Eskreis 11:38
Yeah, it was actually it, I completely agree with you. It was a lot of fun. I, I was 15. In 1998. What we had the most fun conversations for me were how much the actors related to the story. And then the things that they didn't relate to about the story at all, where there were no cell phones. I mean, I had a cell phone, I guess, when I was 17, after I, you know, got my driver's license, and my parents would let me borrow their Nokia phone when I went out to the movies with my friends, right? We were on we were on AOL and ame. And we had the internet. But, you know, I write the experience of going away to sleepaway camp where there was no such thing as technology from, you know, starting around the age of nine and a half. And so I would also talk to the actors about this is this, this really was an experience for teenagers not much younger than you. And I want you to understand that that was a reality. At the same time, they had their own experience of kind of summer camp making the film. So it was a very reciprocal experience where, sure, they had their phones, and they they were able to access technology, it was, you know, 2018. But yes, it was a very interesting experience to explain to them that this actually was a teenager reality not that long ago. Exactly. And I think is pretty dramatic for the film, which is also why, you know, some of the some of the conversations I've been having about the film recently are, well was the choice to make it a period piece is important, which it was. Also, why didn't you make it so blatantly obvious that it's a period piece, and I said that I kind of want the viewer to enter the story, and not know, until they know, through a scene about 20 ish minutes in where you have this conversation about Monica Lewinsky. And you say, Oh, this is a period piece. I didn't know if I was watching something that took place now or not now. Yeah, I

Alex Ferrari 14:09
mean, because you there's definitely places in the world that look like I mean, look, I was house hunting recently and trust me, there's things that are stuck in the 80s

Rebecca Eskreis 14:18
How do you think we found our locations?

Alex Ferrari 14:22
I mean, like perceivably stuck in the 80s not touch the thing I'm like, hold on the 980s or 90s like just stuck there. pristine? And I'm like wow, so yeah, there's definitely places that people live in. I mean, I did for the longest time in LA my house was definitely, let's say early 2000s. With 90s references, a lot of gold, a lot of gold trimming.

Rebecca Eskreis 14:47
Absolutely the location that is sammys house. I that landline phone really was on the wall. You know, that old stove, that fridge That was real we I mean our our production designer Megan who's incredibly talented she's my business partner in this film she's first person came on board with us, but she goes, this is the best location I could possibly ask for because I can invest my efforts in the other things that we need to design because there's actually a landline phone already here. You know, So to your point there there's a very there's a there's a kind of, gosh, I'm losing my words, but it's a lot has changed a lot has not changed.

Alex Ferrari 15:42
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I still remember I was walking by store in LA and it was like, I don't know if they call it an antique store, but it was like some sort of vintage shop. And, and there was a rotary phone in the window. And my daughter's just turned music what that What's that? Oh, that's a phone and they're like what do you what do you mean I'm like I went in and I I started cranking it and you're like Ratan Tata Tata, Tata Tata. It wasn't even the pushed up. And they just looked at me like, like, I had three heads, it just couldn't comprehend. It was like, you know, for the younger people listening, privacy was how long the line was that you could buy for your length. So you could take that line around, and they sold 100 footers. I mean,

Rebecca Eskreis 16:27
oh, yeah, you you had to get a phone line that was long enough for you to take it from your from the living room into the bathroom or closet, closet to have a private conversation, otherwise somebody was going to be overhearing.

Alex Ferrari 16:42
So I and that must have been, that must have been a heck of a conversation to have with your actors about technology. And just like all of that stuff, it's it's it's like, you know, I'm a bit older than you. I'm a little bit a couple years older than you just a couple. But it's, it's so different, even late 90s is vastly different. The Internet like I was there when the internet was coming up. I was I remember I was in college in the late 90s. And AOL, you'd get those discs in the magazine. So you get that 30 day free AOL. And that was the only connection you had to the internet. It was, it was insane. But we're going off off the deep end, I'm sorry. It's just a bunch of some old folks just talking about the good old days without Facebook. Now you also had the pleasure of getting mentored by Richard Linklater, who's a friend of the show, and I love Rick, Rick is. When I when I spoke to Rick, Rick, he is a true artist. Like there's just not even a question. He is a true, true artists, he approaches everything as a true artist. What were some of the lessons you took away from that experience working with Rick or having a mentor you and in that program?

Rebecca Eskreis 18:03
Well, I will echo what you just said, which is that Rick is truly an artist and also such a tremendous supporter of other artists. And I think that going back to even what I said about Jonathan, I think that what I witnessed about Rick, in my many interactions working adjacent to him, having him support this project is just someone who loves what he does, and wants to support other people who have the same passion that he does, which is to tell great stories. So the way that it was kind of a circuitous process with him, he was always like Jonathan, one of my most favorite filmmakers. I actually often say that the very big getting of this project was that I went to see him do a, an early screening of boyhood at the IFC center, and I think that movie is a total masterpiece. And he was talking about, you know how he came up with the idea and how that project came to fruition.

Alex Ferrari 19:17
Insanity, pure insanity,

Rebecca Eskreis 19:19
insanity, genius. Yes, yes. And I thought to myself, what would girlhood look like to me? And that's how I started writing this film. And then, you know, five years later, or was it I guess, let me do the math again, four years later, having the opportunity to meet him in person, as a mentor to this project, through the artist intensive at the with through the Austin Film Society where I had earned a grant that supported the movie. And it was a cool opportunity we just did the thing that artists dream of doing which is we went out to his beautiful ranch And we had our filmmakers like James ponsoldt, and Athena son Gary and James J. Van Hoy, who's a brilliant producer, be there to support us and talk about how I could take my script from something that is an idea and a dream and something I want to do to through another draft, and then ultimately, taking it out in the world and raising money to get it made. And I think that what's really special about those experiences, if you're fortunate enough to have them, which I am, and I consider myself very blessed for that experience is that you feel you feel the community embracing you. And I think that the film community can feel very welcoming. And also feel there's a tremendous amount of rejection. Right, right. And so we finally have when you, when you have an experience that feels warm and nurturing, it gives you the energy and the enthusiasm to believe in yourself, which is incredibly difficult.

Alex Ferrari 21:12
Oh my god.

Rebecca Eskreis 21:15
And that was what my experience was getting to meet Rick and have him be involved in this movie. So

Alex Ferrari 21:22
I mean, it's so we get rejected so often in this business, and we get beat up so often this business like I always tell people, you're the thing is, we're all going to get punched in the face, we all still get punched in the face, I don't care who you are, you can be Steven Spielberg punches come towards you. Now, whether you know that you're in a fight is one thing. Whether you know, you know, it's like, sometimes people don't even know punches aren't even a part of the game until they get knocked out, and then they're out forever. And as you get older, and as you go through that, but you start learning how to take a punch and keep moving forward, you learn how to duck a couple, you learn not to even be there, you might not even the room, sometimes the things you learn along the way. But we're so abused as artists in this business, that I can only imagine when you have like an idol of yours, invite you over to their amazing ranch and you get to work and be creative and work with others. It must not feel real, it must be like, wait a minute, there's some there's a punch coming somewhere, where's the punch going to come from? It's going to come out of the woodwork. I'm waiting for it. But the punch doesn't come because it's such a weird place having a nurturing, making experience. Is that fair to say?

Rebecca Eskreis 22:36
Oh, absolutely. I mean, I I'm a big fan of exercise, not only because it's good for your mental health, but also because you're always challenging your body to roll with things when it feels too difficult to keep going. And I think that yes, like you're saying I think that making films being an artist can feel that way. I i'm i'm a i'm a skier, I've been skiing since I was a little kid. And I liken it to when you're when you squat down and put your poles behind you and the wind is just blowing in your face, and it's like stinging you, but you're moving at such a momentum and you're like, I gotta keep going, even though it's really hurting me. And same with, I would say skiing a mobile field where your knees are killing you. And you're like, I'm gonna get to the bottom of this, and it's gonna feel so good. And I think that sometimes sticking with artistic endeavors can feel the same way. I would also say that you 30? Take a pause on

Alex Ferrari 23:49
this. Sure, go for

Rebecca Eskreis 23:49
it. something to say about that. I also think that we have to think about why we're doing it. And it isn't just about fame, or fortune or anything else, because that actually was something that I didn't get into doing this forum. At the beginning, it was because I was so moved by humane stories, and the really great people that I admired and then ultimately had the wonderful fortune of meeting working with mentoring me. It it actually, to me felt like it was important for the future of storytellers and why we're here and trying to understand who we are. And the more that I tuned into that message, and the less that I focused on all the other stuff, the more that I was able to move ahead.

Alex Ferrari 24:49
So Rebecca, you're telling me that filmmakers aren't rich and famous is that that the reason to do this

Rebecca Eskreis 24:58
definitely not

Alex Ferrari 25:03
I mean, isn't isn't isn't it supposed to be you get out of film school? They give you $10 million. That's your first starter movie. Then you get $100 million to take that event and then they just I think they bring the truck full of money and they just dump it in your Hollywood Hills mansion. No, it's not. That's the way it works. And you Scrooge McDuck, and then you Scrooge McDuck, through the dollars in your pool. Yeah, I'm still waiting for the truck to arrive. 12 years, I'm waiting for them to return the phone call, let alone the truck

Rebecca Eskreis 25:36
for the truck of money.

Alex Ferrari 25:40
Well, for

Rebecca Eskreis 25:42
the last two, you have to laugh,

Alex Ferrari 25:46
because it's so painful. When you were in film school, when you were in film school, and you went to a wonderful film school. You know, in my when I went to my film school, no one told me the realities of what this business was like, no one, they teach you the the fluffy, like, oh, look there, Steven Spielberg and Oh, look, there's Hitchcock, and oh, look, there's George Lucas, or Coppola, or any of these people like oh, that that's, that's that's what, that's what directing is. And they didn't tell you that, that those are the exceptions. Those are the masters, though. And in all of them, every one of those names I just laid out, had a struggle to get to where they were not one of them just walked in and goes, You shall direct and that doesn't, it doesn't exist. But no one ever tells you the truth. The closest I got to the truth was I was taking, oh my god, I never forget this teacher. He was a grip. I was in a grip and lighting class. And he was an old, like an older grip, like and he's like, he was just like, Guys, I can't I can't go today because a wave of depression is hit me. I have a job next week. And this wave of depression. And he just kept using the term wave of depression. And that was the first inclination that things weren't as rosy as the brochure said. And he could just tell, you know, he could just tell that he had shrapnel lots and lots of shrapnel. And and I want to ask you, sir, you know, I come from, you know, I'm a I'm a Latino man. And I've you know, and I've had my struggles as a director, especially in the 90s, where, if you if you've had a Spanish speaking person in your commercial, real, you couldn't do, you couldn't do English, because they're like, oh, he only Spanish, stuff like that, you know, as a female director, and I've had other female directors on the show before how, what is that path look like? And because I have to imagine the struggle, imagine the struggle on set, when you've got that old grip, who you know, is like, Who's this girl? Like, I mean it because they did it to me, when I was the young guy on set, they're like, Who's this kid who doesn't? Like, you know, it's the second be a rough place. Is that a fair? The rough cut?

Rebecca Eskreis 28:01
So I love all the things you just said, You know, I, I respond to that totally. Um, what's funny, and I'll spend about five seconds on this, my, my mother's from South America, she's South American immigrant to the US, is her first language. she experienced my mom's an architect, she experienced that on construction sites, oh, my God, where, you know, you know, Spanish is your first language, you must you know, even though she's perfectly bilingual, but I learned a lot from her about what it felt like to be somebody who moved to moved here when she was a teenager and didn't speak any English and had to, and doesn't necessarily look like somebody who would, I mean, I don't want to get into all of that, but she as a female and as someone who necessarily didn't have what it looked like to be alive, I'm someone here who is in a position of authority. And she and so therefore, what I learned from her was you show up and you just be you. And even though she was someone who didn't present as what they thought was the position of power on a on a construction site, which is the architect who designed the project shows up and, and didn't didn't look like what the people working there thought that their boss should be. What I would then say for myself on the film set is I had a day where I think it was our first day of shooting. And I saw our first ad our cinematographer. Couple other folks and I was late and whatever. And I joined the meeting and there was another crew member who was standing There. And I was like, hey, how's everything going? And he looked at me and was thinking, I'm sure thinking, who is this person?

Alex Ferrari 30:09
Who's this Pa? Who's this Pa?

Rebecca Eskreis 30:13
Hi, I'm Rebecca. I'm the director. And I saw this look come over his face. Oh, okay, this five foot nothing woman is here to direct movie. This is not what I was expecting. And that was a really empowering moment for me, but also a little bit weird. Because I also wanted to be like, didn't read the call sheet. But it was a long winded way of saying, Yes, it was it was, there were definitely challenges. Being a woman director, you know, I, to go back to your previous question. I came up as what used to be called a D girl, which is a pretty has become thought of as a pejorative term, right? It's like, you're basically a development girl. It's like a girl who works for producers and read scripts. And I found it to be an incredibly educational position. But in the world of Hollywood, especially in the 90s, in the early 2000s. And even way before that, actually, it was considered this position of a woman who will help her get get a production made, but doesn't really have any power other than to read a screenplay and decide if it's good or not. And then also to be kind of an assistant to any person that she's working for. And I did that job for about seven years. And what to me was fascinating was that, I thought, I always knew I wanted to be writing and directing. But I really wanted to understand how the industry worked. So I thought, what better way to get a job or I get all the insider scoop on how this whole industry works. And then I just jump on over as I'm moonlighting as a writer at night, and trying to never sleep, eventually become someone who can make their own films. But in the industry, there's like, there's like a grid in there. Often, it seems like there's this idea that there's a Grand Canyon, between working in development and on the studio side, and in that whole world, and actually being a writer and directing. And two people were just all different pieces that come together to be a filmmaker.

Alex Ferrari 32:43
There. Yeah. And there's so many, like Hollywood loves boxes, and loves putting people in them. And if you're a writer, you're only a comedy writer, you're only an action writer, or you're only a thriller writer or a horror guy. You know, I saw I use the example of Wes Craven, you know, who's one of the most famous? Oh, yeah, one of the most famous horror directors of all time. And he, you know, because I actually was one of my best friends was his personal assistant. So I would hear all the stories of Wes, he's like Wes, doesn't want to do another scream. He doesn't want to do another Nightmare on Elm Street. He doesn't want he wants to do something else. So in order for Miramax at the time, to get him to do scream two, they gave him music of the heart with Meryl Streep.

Rebecca Eskreis 33:29
I remember that movie. It was it was

Alex Ferrari 33:32
when you 500 500 violence.

Rebecca Eskreis 33:35
Yeah, and when you saw it, you're the first thought that could come to your head is this Is this a joke?

Alex Ferrari 33:43
Did wesc it's like Alfred Hitchcock doing Dumb and Dumber. Like it doesn't. Though I wouldn't be interested in watching that. But it was but but he was caught in that box. And there was a beautiful movie. I love that movie. But it didn't do didn't do business because it didn't do business. Got to get back in your box, and he was there for the rest of his life. So Hollywood loves putting people in boxes. And everyone listening needs to understand that. Like, it's just the way it is, like I was saying earlier, if you have Spanish on your reel as a director, that's all you could do. If you don't have anyone speaking on your commercial, real. You obviously can't direct people who could speak like, it was madness. It's madness. But it's, it's a way to protect themselves. And it's either either on the agency side or the studio side. Everyone's always covering their own ass. And everyone's always trying to protect themselves because they're only one bad mistake from losing their job. And that's why there's no risk. That's why there's no creativity. There's no you know, there's no new material coming out. We all keep remaking the stuff from the 70s 80s and 90s. Right? So and then we're stuck in the indie world, which is great, but the budgets aren't as nice.

Rebecca Eskreis 34:56
I have no idea what you're talking

Alex Ferrari 35:01
Which brings me to another question. How did you get this project off the ground? How did you get the financing for it? Because it doesn't have a superhero in it. You know, it's not based on a book about a wizard. So how did this get financed?

Rebecca Eskreis 35:16
Well, going, you know, going back. I'm sorry, I thought there was a wizard in this.

Alex Ferrari 35:23
I did I see the right movie. They sent me the wrong link.

Rebecca Eskreis 35:30
Yeah, no, I so I mentioned earlier, I was a good friend Megan, who's a production designer. We had met when I was a graduate student at USC. And I actually started out before I I mean, I always wanted to be writing and directing. But I was also doing a lot of work in the art department. And I hired her to be my art director on a thesis film that I was doing for one of my friends at USC. And I, in the meanwhile, was telling her about my thesis film that I was going to be directing and producing in Oklahoma called noodling, which was a cell finance project, and that I raised the money for and also gotten some grant money from USC. And it was based on an article I read in the New York Times about basically hand fishing, which is what noodling is, and when you're a girl from Great Neck and Long Island, and you've never done anything, there's no noodling in the leg Island. Yeah, outdoorsy aside for playing tennis, you're like, this is really exciting. So I ended up making this film, she came with me, and we, she was the art director on the film, and we ended up just staying good friends. And she was working on lots of different projects in LA. And we always talked about doing a feature together. And I sent her an early draft of the script. And she said that she had access to financing for people that were, it was more, either gap financing, or people looking to put in first money into movies, with the understanding that that wouldn't be the only money. And we decided, you know, we've made a good team on various short films and really low budget independent films. Why don't we try to get a feature off the ground. And so using the first money that we were able to raise, we hired a casting director, we hired a producing team in New York, where we knew we want to shoot the movie. And then we went pretty wide with it. And just, it was a very tandem process of bringing talent on board, and also continuing to raise money. And we became one of those very lucky stories where you get great it were it just kind of snowballs where you get good talent on board. And as good talent comes on, more money comes on, and we raised enough money to shoot the movie. And then we kept raising more money. And then we also had a very special partnership that one of our executive producers who eventually came on, hooked us up with gold crest films, which is a really wonderful production post production house, they also do sales and distribute distribution for independent films, and they really believed in this movie, and whereas, you know, production can feel like such a chaotic process, they were able to help us really streamline post and sales and distribution. And that helped us get to where we are now which is to be with our distributor and to be out in the world and to allow me to have conversations with people like you.

Alex Ferrari 39:04
So that's, that's awesome. That is a that is definitely a Pollyanna ik version of what most independent films, and there's a lot of pain. And there's a lot of pain in that conversation that you didn't say about I'm sure, but it was wonderful, but it's a wonderful, it's a wonderful, it's nice to hear stories like that because we need to hear them. We don't hear them very often. I hear the story of we wrote the script and seen

Rebecca Eskreis 39:32
No, I mean I I left out a lot of details.

Alex Ferrari 39:35
Oh, yeah. I'm sure there was some some valleys and they're not all just uphill.

Rebecca Eskreis 39:41
Yeah, it was hard. You know, I you know, I read a lot about other endeavors that you have, and I think that a lot of putting everything of yourself into something creative requires a dedication from your soul of out how you have to just put yourself in it and believe in it. And there was I Fleetwood Mac is one of my favorite bands. And there's their song over and over in the shower every morning for about five months, over and over for about four times. And then I would say, Okay, now it's time for me to get out of the shower and start my day. Because I feel that I have cleansed over and over and over all of the things that are hurting me that are scary, that are painful that I don't want to face that I'm feeling scared about, or wondering if I made the most horrible decision of my life, which is to invest so much in making this film. And in my career, generally, because I didn't just wake up one day and decided I wanted to write and direct a movie, this was the culmination of actually 20 years of my life. So I would just say to myself, today, I'm going to go do it over and over again, and hope the outcome is, is good.

Alex Ferrari 41:14
And I think that's a great theme song for many filmmakers over and over again, over and over again. And I want everyone listening to understand that no matter who you are, and how big you get, you're always chasing the next project, you're always chasing the next budget, the next financing, unless your name is Chris Nolan. You know, Coppola just came out. And he's like, I'm just gonna put $100 million of my own wine money into my Opus, because nobody wants to finance this, this film, and I'll put my moment. And I was like, he's 82. God, bless them. God, they just gave me such a, a warm feeling. You know, I pray I could get him on the show one day to just say, thank you for, you know, because most men of your age directors of your age, they just said like, I'm good. I'm done. I directed godfather. If you could, you could just you're done. You're done. You did godfather one, and two, let alone Apocalypse Now and a million other ones he did. But he did. You don't need to. You don't need to prove anything, Francis. But he's an artist, and he will always be an artist. And that is that spirit that you're that soul that you were talking about? And I also want to ask you, because I got this a lot when I was coming up. The first time director thing? Did you get the first time director conversation? You're like, oh, you're a first time director. We can't give you millions of dollars or, or anything to make this film. You also don't have any major movie stars in this, how are we going to get this? Did you have to run up against that? I know writing helps a bit. When you're the writer, it helps a bit. But what was your experience with that?

Rebecca Eskreis 42:48
Absolutely right up against that. I also heard you need to hire this cinematographer. Or you need this actor. Everyone involved in this movie I could recognize immediately was so incredibly talented, and was who I wanted to do it. And I was very fortunate that I could agree for them to work with me. Absolutely, of course, you run up against that. I mean, it's impossible, right? At the same time, I have found that if you have tremendous conviction in your beliefs, and you actually you really stand up for what you believe in. People will will actually get behind you. If you if you believe in yourself. When I know that sounds like a very cliche, but truth, the most important meetings that we had around this movie, I mean, we had several important meetings as far as financing was concerned. But I can pinpoint one in particular, where I was in a room with 15 people. And I gave a very impassioned speech about why we needed to make this movie with the team that we had and why we needed to do it now. And the person who was in charge a, an older man older than me. He he said to me, I get it, Rebecca, and I hear you. I understand you're this close. And then later that day, we heard that David agreed to come on board and we were going to be able to greenlight the movie and that again, not to your point of sounding Pollyanna ish because it was not the process. But I found that if I if I wasn't completely for Right. And I didn't put everything into this, I recognized that it wasn't going to happen. And I also be and speaking of, you know, the things that we do for self care and to calm our minds and to say, Okay, if this doesn't happen, I'll be okay. Was I used to also play this game of, well, what if this doesn't happen? What if I put 150% into this? And it doesn't happen? What will I do? And I had my backup plans of all the things that I was going to do if I couldn't get this to happen for me, and for our team. And having that peace of mind, actually, I think helped me have brutal confidence in this, because I wasn't, I wasn't afraid of it failed. And then I think it did and then it didn't fail. So here we are.

Alex Ferrari 45:56
In and it's it's it's wonderful that you say that because you know, and this only comes with age. Unfortunately, I wish I would have learned this when I was 20. But that you when you put yourself out there, and you are if you're honest and true to what you're trying to be as an artist, the story you're trying to tell the projects trying to get if you're truly being authentic. People sense it. People around you, your crew, financier's distributors, the audience, all feel that authenticity. Whereas if you walk in half foot out the door, half a calf, we can go halfway, you have to go 100%, you've got to kind of burn the ships at the shore. To a certain extent, you have backup plans. But you have to burn that ship does that you have to, because it's just too hard. And there's another I'm sure that when you were in that meeting with 15 people, there was probably another 10 projects in the waiting room. And if they would have come in more impact, like you know, if you would have gone in half ass, you would have never gotten it. And that's something that they don't teach you in film school. They don't teach you these things.

Rebecca Eskreis 47:11
That's very true. You know, I, as we both can relate to about film school I, I will say I met some of the best people that I've ever met in the world in film school. Yeah, there's wonderful. And I had those were, honestly like,

Alex Ferrari 47:27
the best. So much fun. So much fun, so much fun.

Rebecca Eskreis 47:32
And I watched movies I wanted to watch. Yeah, you just wake up today. And that's, that's all I'm supposed to do today is watch one of his favorite one of my absolute favorite favorite classes I took at USC was a David Lynch seminar. And it was so so perfectly scheduled. It was Tuesday mornings at 9am. There's nothing weirder than going in and watching a David Lynch movie at nine o'clock in the morning. I've just been walking outside. I just watched Wild at Heart, and I don't even know what to do with the rest of my day.

Alex Ferrari 48:16
It's like, it's like taking shots at night in the morning.

Rebecca Eskreis 48:20
You're like, I think I'm drunk. But also it's, it's now. Right? And then I wrote a 10 page. And speaking of like, having gone to college where I was like an art history and English major. Right, all these intense papers, I got to write a thesis paper about Mulholland Drive, and Sunset Boulevard. It was the best, what could what could be better. So I loved film school for that. At the same time, I agree with you, when you don't get to wake up at nine in the morning and watch three story,

Alex Ferrari 49:00
Seven Samurai or. Right so Criterion Collection, of course.

Rebecca Eskreis 49:10
So when actually then suddenly they they toss you to the wolves and they and they say okay, well now go do it. And now you're waking up at 7am because you've got to go sit at a desk and roll calls and read scripts and it's so it's so vastly different. Right? Sorry,

Alex Ferrari 49:33
I'm back. I'm flashed, I'm sitting in my I'm sitting in my studio apartment in Orlando, Florida where I went to I went to film school at full sail. And I'm sitting there and I yeah, and I worked at a video store for four years prior. So I brought up with me 400 VHS tapes. And I would just sit between classes at home before I knew anybody and just watch movies all day. Doing papers on aliens, and on like Much Ado About Nothing by Kenneth Bronner. And just like sit and just sitting there doing all that and then you and then when you had to go work, you would go to class and play with cameras or talk about film. And then profiler came about, you know, the matrix or something. It's just fun of it. And that was so wonderful. But that's not life. That's not the reality of this business. That's a part of it. And watching films and talking about films and writing about films and all that, that's all part of it. But it is not the reality of it's like going to art history class. And looking at the masters, and then sitting in front of a paint a fresh canvas with some paint and going do it.

Rebecca Eskreis 50:49
Right. And I and I agree with that. And I actually am an art, I actually am a painter. And that's actually how I got into the arts very young and have been oil, I was a visual arts minor oil painting. And that's awesome. And but I think that it prepared me to use your point, oil painting prepared me for the process of making films because you have, you have to dry and let it and then you and then you've let your drawing sit, and then you do a portion of the painting, and then you let it sit, and then it has to dry and it takes months. And it requires incredible amounts of patience and your and then the rest of your week happens and you have to have a job and you have to work hard and you're like When am I going to just be able to finish my painting, you know? And then who's gonna see my painting? Where is it going to be displayed? Like it?

Alex Ferrari 51:44
Can I sell my prints?

Rebecca Eskreis 51:46
Are people gonna look at it and say, Oh, I could do that. That was easy. I could do that in a weekend. And you're and then you say to yourself, but couldn't? I don't know, maybe you could. And you have all of these thoughts about what the artistic process really means. So thank you for sharing your reflection. My process. You but I know you get it.

Alex Ferrari 52:08
Oh, I get it. I get it. 100%. But isn't it amazing that out of all the art forms in the world, writing a screenplay, and directing a movie is something that the average Joe off the street thinks that they can do. Because they watch movies and read like you don't listen to Mozart and go, I can write a symphony, you don't go look at the Sistine Chapel. And go I could paint that. He that's not something that's done. But for whatever reason, I can write a screenplay, or I can direct the movie. And I think there's to a certain extent, I think Ron Howard said is like I think everyone can. But the difference between you wanting to and being able to is something called craft. And that's what takes time. And the one thing that he left out of that is also politics, realities of the business, other things like that, that happen that are unspoken things that happen on set in the process. egos.

Rebecca Eskreis 53:06
Right? Well, I think that what we can say, okay, so for example, what you just said about a symphony that Mozart wrote, I can enjoy that music. That doesn't feel to me as though it's not about real life. It's it's an incredible symphony of or of instruments. I think that the reason why people are both drawn to cinema and television is and the more further along the technology comes with cameras and with audio and our ability to listen and tell stories that feel so real, is it does feel so close to your real life, that you think, Oh, I can just I can do that. I don't need to know how to play a violin to write about what it feels like to be Rebecca growing up in Great Neck, you know, whereas, you know, art forms right there. And but but the craft of the craft of storytelling is yes, knowing how to reflect back on the human experience but there's so much that goes deeper than that. It's the iceberg of of creation where you see on the on the top is there's so much else that goes into it. And I think that that quote that you that you gave is is totally accurate. So

Alex Ferrari 54:38
yeah, I mean, that's the thing is like when you watch a beautiful movie, a masterpiece, you watch Silence of the Lambs. Let's go back to Jonathan. You watch Silence of the Lambs. And it is a it is it is a symphony. It is beautiful. It's one of the few horror movies ever to win an Oscar. The performances the way he shot it, the storytelling it Looks effortlessly. It looks absolutely effortless. But try to recreate that it is so difficult to tell the story of that magnitude with those with those layers, and the layers upon layers upon layers of the characters, and the subplots, and the in the in the themes in the character arc, there's so much craft within all and then it's not just Jonathan. It's Anthony, it's Jody, it's, it's the the writer, it's everybody that put that whole thing together and then put, it looks easy, but it's one of the most difficult things, honestly, on the planet to do is to tell a good story, it is not easy to tell a good story, let alone just writing a good story, let alone filming it, putting it together pacing timing, one frame could be the difference with this or that I mean, I remember the story of Star Wars, the first cut, horrible, horrendous, horrible movie. It was it was dead in the water. And then they had to bring in three new editors. And George's wife, Marcia and him set that and recut it to the genius that it is now. But look, we could have not had Star Wars if they would have released that.

Rebecca Eskreis 56:20
Yeah, it's crazy. I mean, the the alchemy that it takes to make it happen is a word. It's truly it really is magic. I, I feel that and I felt that. I feel that when I watch great movies. And I and I have actually felt it when it's happening around me with just the creative process, whether it was films I worked on, or films that I directed. And when it's working, it's working. And it feels, it feels it feels very unique. And it feels like you're actually going to put something in the world that will mean something to other people.

Alex Ferrari 57:01
Now, which brings me to your film, what breaks? What breaks the ice? What is the movie about?

Rebecca Eskreis 57:07
Well, I mean, on the surface, I think it's a it's certainly a movie about friendship. It's a movie about coming of age and being a teenager. It's a period piece set in the 90s. I think, for me, it was as much about a reflection of my adolescence as it was a reflection of a period of time where a certain type of adolescence won't exist anymore, which you and I talked about earlier. Getting lost kind of being untethered from the, quote, real world, you know, and for young people, that's school and the pressures of being a teenager, and the summertime is when you get to be a kid. And I wanted to make a film about that. The film also takes a different turn.

Alex Ferrari 58:03
A little bit slight, slight turn that slight turn.

Rebecca Eskreis 58:06
And for me that piece of the story, I wanted to also tell a story about people that aren't perfect. I think that there's a very fine line between love and hate. think that there's ambiguity and all of us, most people are not all good or all bad. think we're all trying to figure out who we are. And we make bad decisions. And there's a I don't want to give too much away. But there is a I think a very complicated and scary relationship that happens among the three main characters. And that was something that at the period of time when the story takes place, those kinds of experiences weren't really talked about in the way that they are today. Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 59:07
Oh god, no, I wanted to

Rebecca Eskreis 59:08
expose that and to show that emotion and what that experience could feel like from two teenage girls and the messages that they're receiving around them about how they should feel about those experiences.

Alex Ferrari 59:27
I mean, I was the I was the girl who was working at tennis courts, but I was the guy. I was I was the one who wasn't the I didn't definitely didn't get afraid I didn't I was not raised which is middle class all the way. But I was lucky enough to go to a really good private high school and that's where I met some of my good friends who were that other, that other level of, of sophistication of you know, being ready and things like that. So I identified with her very much, because I, you because you, you get thrown into environments that and with people that you just their experience is so different that of life, you know I'm struggling to not me personally, but you know you're struggling to eat or to get clothes that fit or not to get hand me downs or something like that. And they're just talking about like, Oh, you know, I was in Aspen last week, you know, it's it's a different life experience. So I really did identify with with her specifically. It was it was a wonderful, wonderful film. Thank you.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:00:36
Yeah, thank you so much. I, you know, I I think there's a lot to uncover, and I actually am looking forward to people telling me what they think. I think that movies, my favorite movies that I've watched the filmmakers that I enjoy. I my favorite thing to do in the world is to watch a movie, and then go out to lunch or dinner with the people I just watched it with, and talk about how it made me feel. And I write and i and i really hope that there's a conversation to be had about, about this film, because there's a simplicity to the, to the plot, if you can say that I don't, it's there. You know, it's not like there's seven plot lines to follow here. There are characters you it's, it's told in a certain kind of visual structure, visual language that we chose, which we was very deliberate which it's the shots are composed in the way that they are, the editing lends itself to the width The film was shot, it's, it's meant to slow you down in the way that the summer time when you were a teenager in the late 90s. And as you and what we what our hope was that as you lose yourself in the story of these characters, it forces you to think about their choices, and ultimately, the outcomes of what happened and to think, well, it was a simple story, but it made me think about deeper things.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:19
And that's what good art does. Definitely does. And I don't know about you, but one of my favorite things when I was coming up in my teen years is to go to a midnight movie, and then go to Denny's and then go to Denny's because that's the only thing was open and you would sit there with your other cinephiles and and explain to them why Neo is an allegory for Jesus. And this is why he's the Savior and this and Neo is really an allegory for one and you see it's all it's all

Rebecca Eskreis 1:02:51
no and now and now I'm now I'm in my 30s and I and instead of seeing Rocky Horror, I do a Rocky Horror spin class.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:02
fix things have

Rebecca Eskreis 1:03:03
contracts. And think back to what I used to go to Rocky Horror. Oh my god, that the Lemley in LA and so now I just exercise to the soundtrack.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:13
So before we go, I have to tell you by Rocky Horror Story, so in high school, I would go to Rocky Horror with my friends almost every weekend. I must have seen rocky for 3040 times. I don't particularly like Rocky Horror. I just enjoyed the experience with the crowd and also with my friends. Because the movie itself you know what? The music's fantastic, but the movie Yeah, I can't just sit there and watch it. Like you just can't sit and watch Rocky Horror at home that's just weird. It's like watching It's like watching the room

Rebecca Eskreis 1:03:41
at home actually just was about to say it's like watching the room by yourself. I was trying to explain to my boyfriend who's a professor and he's a wonderful person but I was trying to explain to him what the room

Alex Ferrari 1:03:51
is oh the genius the genius of the room. Absolutely. room and he

Rebecca Eskreis 1:03:55
he just looked at me and said I'm sure you're right.

Alex Ferrari 1:04:03
Yeah, so when I went to one day we realized that you know, you remember you brought rice and toast and spoon. Throw it the screen through the screens and stuff, right? Yeah. So what we did when they was there was no limit to how much rice you can bring. So we we brought in four of us. Each of us brought like 40 pound bags each of rice. And when the rice seed came on there was this is like this could tsunami of rice. We sat in the back and it just could just crested over the audience and people were like what is going on? It was so the week after we went the week right afterwards and then there's a big sign no excessive support. At all up. I love that. Oh no. Where can people see the movie?

Rebecca Eskreis 1:04:57
So we can you can see the movie. We actually will be playing in theaters. But I'll start with the places you can stream it. So it will be on Apple TV, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu. I can give you a full list

Alex Ferrari 1:05:14
any place you can rent it, you can get any, basically any

Rebecca Eskreis 1:05:17
place that you could possibly rent a movie these days. It'll be there. It will be there

Alex Ferrari 1:05:25
other than blockbuster, obviously.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:05:27
Yeah, we're not. I wish I could I wish I could unearth blockbuster. And

Alex Ferrari 1:05:32
there's only that one. There's only that one and one. Yeah, I've had I've had that filmmaker on the show. And it was fantastic.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:05:42
Basically, any word that you can, anywhere you can rent, it will be available online, it will be there. With the exception of like, I think the only streaming services. We won't be on our Netflix and Hulu yet, but we will be there. Those are subscription based. Yeah. Yeah. And then also, if you're a cable subscriber, any cable, every subscriber will have us in there on demand on demand section, and then we will be in five in five cities. I think it's Boston, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, and the LA greater area. And I can I can share that with you. I

Alex Ferrari 1:06:25
will put it in the show notes. Yeah, we'll put it in the show notes. So don't worry about that. I'm not gonna ask you three questions. I ask all my guests. What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life? patients, that's mine? I'm still learning it.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:06:43
Patients?

Alex Ferrari 1:06:46
What did you learn from your biggest failure?

Rebecca Eskreis 1:06:55
Sometimes the reason that you failed has nothing to do with you.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:00
That's really good. That's a profound statement. I like that a lot. Because it's so true. There's so much truth in that statement. And there was one question I forgot to ask you since we went on so many tangents on this wonderful conversation. And we had really great talking to you. It was it was a wonderful conversation. But there was one question I wanted to ask you. On the shoot while you were shooting, what breaks the ice, there has to have been one day that you felt the entire thing was going to come crashing down around your head. What was that day? And how did you deal with it.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:07:33
We were shooting one of the most important scenes on a on a highway that we closed down in upstate New York. And it was four o'clock in the morning. And there was a shot that I knew that we needed to get. And there were people that were prepared to walk away. Because we were it was the one night specifically that we went very over. And when I had this reputation on set, which became a joke that I was a monitor hog, which meant that my only way of being able to really direct well was I used to put my arms around the monitor so I could just see the the monitor with nobody else around me. And that allowed me to not look at who else was there even though the these are all amazing, wonderful people. But I if I if I saw how many people were there, I would be too overwhelmed to do my job. And so we had to make a decision have to do one more take which I knew that we needed. And I suddenly looked up from the monitor and I saw 50 people looking at me on a closed off Highway in the middle of upstate New York,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:55
four o'clock in the morning,

Rebecca Eskreis 1:08:57
morning. And I said to myself, and I saw trucks in the background and lights in the woods, and actors and a truck and kids on the ground and I and pizza behind me and I said what on earth am I doing? Why am I here? who led me do this?

Alex Ferrari 1:09:19
We all have and you know what? And I want everyone listening. Every director has these moments and it could be on a $200 million project or it could be on a $2 project. A short film a feature it oh you always have those moments. I always feel like security is going to come in any moment and kick me out of the party. Anytime I'm on set anytime I'm on set.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:09:41
Oh yeah. And then I and then I said okay. We need to do this one more time. And we did it one more time and it was done and we wrapped and it was great. But it was I think sometimes as as a director, whether you're like you're saying whether it's a five thing or a five person Short Film you're doing with your friends as student or a much larger project. There are definitely those moments where you look around and think to yourself who threw this party? And let me run it. Who's directing

Alex Ferrari 1:10:13
this movie? Because it looks big. And there's a lot of stuff. I wouldn't want to be that director. Yeah. That was that was certainly I'll give you I'll give you one little story before we go. When I was directing my, my my demo reel for commercial and a commercial demo reel, I'd spent 30,000 out of pocket which I had taken a loan out from my grandpa to write because we shoot in the 35. Because, yeah, that's all there was to shooting, we shooting 35 and day one, day one, within the first 30 minutes, my entire grip and electric walked. Because Because the DPS DPS if you notice I said to I don't know if you've ever been on a set with two DPS. That was fun. They had, they had gear, so they had a grip truck. So that's why I hired them. Mistake one never make that again. So my DPS were so unprofessional, that the professional grip and electric crew said we're not going to deal with these monkey teepees. And they call them the monkey teepees for the rest of the three or four days that we were shooting. And they walked and my producer had to like bring back her brother, who was the key grip who then brought the rest of them. This is day one of my shoot of my Big Shot as a director to start my directing career. Wow, that's that's where I came from.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:11:48
That's a lot. I mean, and that's day one that I'm talking about, I think day 14. So this

Alex Ferrari 1:11:53
is day one,

Rebecca Eskreis 1:11:54
I have a lot of sympathy

Alex Ferrari 1:11:55
for 30 minutes in, it wasn't like halfway and 30 minutes in there. Like, these guys, obviously, are monkey DPS. We're not gonna work with these people. Oh, my God was amazing. Last question three of your favorite films of all time.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:12:11
Okay, so they're going to be kind of all over the board. That's fine. I'm going to mention one first that I saw recently, which was another round, Thomas vinterberg movie. I absolutely love that film. It was one of my favorite movies that I've seen probably in the last five years. Second, would be Dazed and Confused not to think later. But that wasn't a movie that I have probably seen 15 times.

Alex Ferrari 1:12:43
All right. All right, all right.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:12:47
I don't I don't know what it is, that draws me in about, again, like simple story, but it's authentic. It's just so you feel so much for those characters. And there's so much that there's so much emotion that's brought through in that film, even though it's so simple in certain ways. And then, of course, I'll mention the film that made me want to be a filmmaker, which is days of heaven. Now let's film that I saw at that film summer camp, when I was young, a young person, and I was blown away that you could film a whole movie during Magic Hour. It just completely completely blew my mind. It's it's Terrence Malick.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:42
That's why only 15 minutes a day.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:13:46
Yeah, I know. Right. But I also feel those are those are three movies that I think I can immediately mention that are just three films that have like, recent present past. But I also want to mention, I think that cillian sciama, who is a female director is someone who I I'm like, I'm so inspired by her and the storytelling that she does. And I think that there is a really cool moment we're living through right now, where female storytellers are really having an opportunity to become otters. And that's something that sometimes I think was, I mean, there are there are so many wonderful female filmmakers like nag, Agnes Varda, and who have inspired me but what I wanted to say about her is that she's kind of coming into this place of being a female on tour in a way that a lot of the onshore filmmakers that I greatly admire inspired me and I look forward to what the future holds.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:56
It's an exciting time and there are definitely a lot more voices being allowed, there are a lot more voices are getting the keys to the car, as I always say, which is, I can't even comprehend. I mean, when I was growing up, I mean Robert Rodriguez is the first Latino filmmaker. I knew. It was Robert. It was just Robert and and that was on like, wait a minute, if Robert could do it. I was in high school and that came out. So I was like, Oh, it was Robert. So like, as a female director, I can only imagine you had Kathryn Bigelow. Yeah, Jane Campion

Rebecca Eskreis 1:15:31
in campion's another favorite. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 1:15:32
she's amazing. But yeah, also one of my favorite films, and but they would get, but they would get chances every once in a blue moon, you know, or Sofia Coppola would come out, you know, but once in a blue moon, they would get their shot. It's really amazing what's happening now. And they're more interesting movies being made, I think, you know, when they're given when they're given the opportunity to do so. Females, people of color, you know, just, it's just representative of the world that we live in. So I think that's what's a wonderful, thank you, Rebecca, so much for being on the show. It has been an absolute pleasure talking to you, we could still get I'm sure we can geek out, continue to geek out for quite some time.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:16:12
I truly appreciate it. It was a real pleasure speaking with you. Thank you for having me. And, and the last thing I'll say, if you have 30 more seconds. It's personal to me. When you asked about advice, I try not to make this the centerpiece. But I would. Another piece of advice that I would give to people is that I went through a really bad, horrible tragedy while I was finishing my film. Wow. And I think that sometimes we forget as filmmakers that life will get in our way. While we're pursuing our, our dreams, oh. And I think that there's we need to also respond to like ourselves, respond to ourselves as human beings and recognize that life will happen while you're in your Valley in pursuit of being an artist. And just take time for yourself. And then to keep going. Because that's the best way that you can honor your your art and your passion. And also honor the people that you lose, is to keep going with with what you have to give to the world.

Alex Ferrari 1:17:32
And I think also everyone listening needs to understand, by the way, that was very beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. That, you know, we're making movies, not curing cancer. So, and I think sometimes we get a little too uppity about what we do. And don't get me wrong. Stories are very important. But let's put things in perspective. I know it means everything to you. But do it right. Take care of yourself, take care of the people around you who are working with you make it an enjoyable experience. And if you're not enjoying yourself on set and enjoying the process, why do it, it's just too difficult. You could be off digging ditches somewhere then, you know, I always tell people, anytime someone gives me attitude on sound like we could be digging a ditch somewhere. We are so lucky to be on set right now. And that someone is paying us to do this is remarkable. So take it just be very grateful and grateful is the best best word I could use that we get to do what we get to do we have fun, we get paid to have fun for living. I just wish it was more often. We spend, we spend 95% of our lives, working to make 5% of the movies. Because it takes so long right to come in two years to get this movie off the ground. And then you shoot for what? Three, four weeks, five weeks.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:18:47
Exactly. That's why I said patients face.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:50
Thank you again, Rebecca.

Rebecca Eskreis 1:18:52
Thank you so much, Alex. It was so fun speaking with you. I hope to do it again soon.

LINKS

  • Rebecca Eskreis – IMDB
  • Rebecca Eskreis – Website
  • What Breaks The Ice – Amazon

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