Episode Sixty-Eight: Lessons From Making Your First Feature
Some people will tell you that you should go to film school if you want to be a filmmaker. Others will tell you that you should use that money to make your first feature instead. Rukmani and Derek decided to do both: they made their first feature while in film school. Listen as they share their experiences and the ups and downs of making a feature and then approaching the film festival circuit.
Rukmani Bachal- Producer
At 19, Bachal heeded her intuition and ventured on a path away from a conventional Indian life. A formative trainee-ship emphasized ‘plusthought’ that became the foundation for the quality of work and applicability of intelligence Bachal sought in every project she undertook. Bachal received tremendous support from her family that was crucial in making the decisions to move base constantly, working in various parts of the Advertising and Film Industry in India and then finally moving to Los Angeles, a step that to her felt like arriving at her core.
In Los Angeles, Bachal furthered her passion into Producing, seeking out and producing for talented filmmakers, a diverse variety of promising short films, under her production label ‘burning ghat cinema’. Bachal’s zealous attitude, meticulous professionalism and creative problem-solving have been critical in the making of her films.
Derek LaPorte- Director
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Derek LaPorte, has written and directed numerous short films, gaining increased technical competence while constantly testing his boundaries as a storyteller. On the verge of enrolling in law school, he decided to move to Los Angeles in 2007 and pursue his vision as a filmmaker, a career fraught with uncertainty albeit one for which he showed much promise.
He constantly imbibes from the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Bresson, Bela Tarr and Terrence Malick, renowned names in American and Foreign cinema; filmmakers whose stories and style he considers unshakable. Not unlike his influences, Laporte’s films aspire to bring to the fore strong thematic concepts, compelling characters and situations that aim to arrive at the truth and evoke real emotions in the viewer.
From the austere style of One Note Song to the allegorical plot in The Pitch, LaPorte’s films showcase this emerging filmmaker’s visionary directing style, keenly attuned sense for perceptive story lines and cinematically appealing compositions.
Jenna Edwards- Producer
Jenna Edwards began her film career in Minnesota where she was signed on as talent with Easter Hailey. Quickly after being signed Edwards was hired by the agency as a full time employee giving her a head-start on her Hollywood education. After two years of rising through the Minnesota film community Edwards made the move to Los Angeles.
Soon after Edwards moved to Los Angeles she was hired by agent Jamie Ferrar. It was while Edwards was working for Ferrar that she developed an interest in the casting process. Before long she had moved from talent agencies to working in casting with such industry leaders as; Sally Steiner (Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Boy Meets World), Barbie Block (Jonas, Pepper Dennis) and Allison Jones (Superbad, The Office).
During this time Edwards was also able to gain valuable production experience working with studios like Disney, MTV, FOX and CBS.
After several years of successfully navigating her career through the Hollywood studio system Edwards made the leap to independent film with her first feature April Showers and has since successfully produced 4 feature films as well as co-hosting the Film Method podcast and teaching producing classes at New York Film Academy.
After her success with April Showers Edwards formed Mattoid Entertainment with partners Jeremy McGovern and Andrew Robinson where they produced the first ever made-for-internet movie, In the Darkness, which premiered on Hulu.com. Mattoid has recently made the leap to distribution, where they have acquired three feature documentaries to be released in 2011. The first, Adopting Haiti premiered as the #1 documentary on Hulu.com.
Aside from continuing to work at Mattoid, Jenna is busy working on budgets for several independent films, producing 2 feature films and developing projects for television as well as teaching producing at New York Film Academy.