Interview by Univers-L team on November 1th, 2010 for Univers-L.com
You’re at the same time co-directors, co-producers and scriptwriters. How long did it take to achieve such a big project ?
Well, we probably spent about 6-8 months writing and revising the script. Then, in the spring of 2007 we were ready to cast the film. Our first casting efforts took place in late spring in San Francisco, but we soon realized, to find the talent we needed, we had to go to LA. Eventually we did some targeted casting, bringing in lesbian actors to read for the role. That’s how we found Ashleigh, Cathy and Jessica. Jill had already committed to the role of “Casey” after getting the script. Ashleigh actually came in to read for the character of “Jen” but we knew she would make a great Lola.
The cast was in place in July and we started shooting in San Francisco in October. Ashleigh was in a place in LA so we broke up the schedule and did more shooting in late November/December. There were several more shooting days over the next year and a half. So it was a long process. We began editing in earnest in late 2008 and the film premiered at the San Francisco Frameline Lesbian Gay Film Festival in June 2009.
There were a couple reasons it took a long time to finish. Megan and I both work (teaching college) and we paid for this film out of our own pockets pretty much so it was a situation where we had to “find” more money for each step of the process.
You wrote the story and directed this project together Had you already worked together previously? Where did this idea of a four-hand project come from ?
Megan and I were friends, but shared a common love of filmmaking so we talked for a while about collaborating on a project. When she had finished up a documentary she was working we moved forward on LOLA.
As co-directors, how did you organize and share the work ?
I think Megan and I bring different strengths to the table. Once we were on set Megan dealt more with the actors while I oversaw more of the technical stuff. It actually was great to have 2 “directors” since there was so much to oversee. Two heads are always better than one and I think we worked well as a team. Once shooting was over and we moved into editing it was really easy because Megan and I share a similar aesthetic. Also, with indie film, it’s easy to run out of steam. There’s a lot of stress involved and financial strain so it helped to have one another to sort of push each other forward. I don’t think this film would have happened if we hadn’t worked together as a team.
You have already declared that your movie has been inspired by Run, Lola runs, a German suspense drama. But, set apart Lola’s first name and the heroine’s time trial, both movies are completely different. So would you say your movie is actually a remake or just quick reference ?
It is certainly NOT a remake. We had not intention of “remaking” a cinema classic. However, we did want to give credit where credit was due, hence our choice to name the lead character LOLA. What appealed to us Run, Lola, Run’s cinematic structure was that it gives one possibilities. Particularly with a low-budget film such as ours it was fun to be able to have Lola pull of stunts while animated. The ability to use photographs also allowed us to “play” with the narrative without having to spend more money. Obviously our LOLA is a romp in the truest sense of the word where in the original film one has to wonder, at times, why Lola is even running to save the dude. I mean he’s not all that appealing really.
Let’s face it, watching red-haired Franka Potente running and sweating all along the movie in her tank top, you couldn’t help it but to turn her into a lesbian! Seriously, what gave you the idea of that movie ?
I’ll defer to Megan on this one as it was her idea to sort of use Run, Lola, Run as a starting point. However, from there we developed the story, characters and plot points together. I think the film is truly made with a “wink and a nod” to Run, Lola, Run but that’s about where it ends.
How did you have the idea to replace the acrobatic stunts by some cartoons scenes ?
Simple, it saved us money. Also we were fortunate enough to find the talented lesbian animator Jett Atwood for the project. She came to us and had her own ideas about how we could open things up a bit with the animation. I don’t think everyone “gets” it, but I love the animated sequences.
The casting of the movie is nearly one hundred per cent lesbian, even the musicians for the soundtrack. Was it something important for you and why ?
Well, as I alluded to in a previous answer Megan and I did feel that, in the end, it seemed that lesbians actors (who could act) would do a better job than any straight actress we could find. Let’s face it, lesbians can play straight because they kind of have to every day. However, straight women haven’t lived a lesbian so they don’t get that “vibe.” As directors we could spend a lot of time directing that “vibe” into the actors, but it seemed that since this film is all lesbian, pretty much all the time, why not have lesbians do the acting? There are talented “out” lesbians who can act, why not use them. Frankly the “pay for gay” thing (a la L-Word) is getting a bit old. If we have women who are talented and happy to be identified as lesbian, I think that’s a good thing.
Megan and I also did want to involve women and lesbians at every level. We had a lot of women on the technical crew. Our still photographers (Mollie McClure and Sophia Wallace) were both lesbians as is Jett Atwood the animator. Again, with the music, why not take advantage of the incredible talent pool of lesbian musicians. The film required a certain feel and energy and again, we wanted that to have a lesbian “vibe.” Not all the musicians we used were lesbian, but I think the overall soundtrack is great and I’m proud that Saucy Monky, Jen Corday, Sick of Sarah and Lori Michaels are a big part of its success.
How did you manage to convince actresses as famous as those ones in the lesbian community? Has it been difficult ?
Casting the film was really no problem. As I mentioned, I contacted Jill to ask whether she knew any lesbian actresses who might work well for the film. I didn’t think she would be interested, but she read the script and loved it. She turned us on to Ashleigh. I found Cathy and Jessica Graham (whose bisexual) through other channels. FYI, Jill and Cathy didn’t really know each other before Lola. They’d met, but weren’t friends. They weren’t a couple at all when we cast the film. Let’s just say the film had a hand in bringing them together. Jenoa Harlow, the other out lesbian is the cast was the only actor we found in San Francisco. She’s great and I’m so happy she’s in the film. Jenoa and one of the musicans have become a couple (I won’t name names, but it’s great to see so many love connections from the film ;-).