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Vanessa McMahon


Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)

 


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Interview with Paige Morrow Kimball on PLAY DATE (2015)

I recently attended the Savannah Film Festival where filmmaker Paige Morrow Kimball was a guest with a short film in competition. Enthusiastic and vibrant, she represented her socially active film not just with pride but purpose with intent to raise awareness to the massive number of homeless currently existing in America and the blind eye turned to this fact.

Paige is a writer/director/producer born and raised in New York City. She received a B.F.A. in film from NYU after which she worked as a Production Assistant on feature films for directors Sidney Lumet, Woody Allen and more. Paige has an extensive background in producing and directing for TV, having worked on docs and reality shows for HBO, ABC, CBS and FOX during which time she worked on "Project Greenlight", "The Oprah Winfrey Show", "Boot Camp", "16 Days of Glory Lillehammer" and many others. Having done everything from producing, writing, directing, acting and even motherhood, Paige has begun to focus her energy primarily on filmmaking and creating strong female roles. Her previous film credits are: "OMG! I'm Knocked Up", "Slipped", and "Ending Up".  Paige also works as a freelance journalist for The Huffington Post and Women's Voices for Change.

PLAY DATE: "When a little girl discovers a homeless woman in her backyard she invites her inside for a play date, which goes unnoticed by her distracted parents."

 

In a recent interview with Paige on her film “Play Date”, here is what she had to say:

What was the trigger that made you decide you had to make a film confronting the homeless issue in LA?

I was driving to a concert in Downtown Los Angeles one evening and I wound up passing through an area called ‘Skid Row’. I was astonished by what I saw as I drove through: there were dozens and dozens of homeless people on the streets, setting up their tents for the night. It went on for block after block, and I thought, how could this exist only a few miles from my home, and I had no idea about how bad it has become?  I went home that night and the script for “Play Date" poured out of me onto the page. The central metaphor is that Homelessness is in our backyards, but somehow we don't see it.

What was the greatest challenge of making this film?

Every film is challenging in it’s own way. On this one, the budget was the greatest obstacle. It limited the number of days we could shoot and we had to shoot it all in my house, which is never fun…my husband is still working on forgiving me! To raise the money we needed, we successfully Crowd-Funded. I think people really responded to the fact that we volunteered our time at different homeless services around the city, and also donated a percentage of our campaign proceeds to OPCC, a homeless organization in Santa Monica. That was extremely gratifying.

How did you pick your cast? The little girl is incredible!

First, I met Terry Walters, who plays the homeless woman. I was impressed with how much she could do with almost no words. Terry read an early draft of the script and got on board to play the lead and also help produce. I met Tami Roman, who plays the Mom, at a film festival I was at with my last film, “Ending Up.”  Her film was in the same programming block and I was really impressed with her performance. I told her about “Play Date” and she shared that she had been homeless as a young girl, and would love to be part of it. The little girl is played by Isabella Spencer - an amazing, naturally talented young actress who is SO in the moment! The minute Isabella started reading for me, I knew she had something special!

What can people do to help change social issues in America and the world who are not government? 

Homelessness is such an overwhelming issue and it often feels that we as individuals are powerless to change it. The fact is that each of us, can help, in our own ways. For example, I’m a storyteller…I made a film that hopefully will create awareness about Homeless people, that everyone of us has a story. Another way people can help is to volunteer at a homeless organization like OPCC, or Feed the Hungry here in LA. Even to just acknowledge a homeless individual with a smile, a look in the eye or a ‘good morning’ the next time you see a person living on the street, helps that person.

Do you think you would like to turn this into a feature?

Many people have said, after seeing “Play Date”, that they want to see more. We are in fact developing “Play Date” as a feature where we delve into The Homeless Woman’s Past and we see what’s brought her to living on the streets.

How long have you been directing? Do you think you will continue to direct?

I began directing daytime TV magazine shows and unscripted TV series in the early 1990s. I joined the DGA in 2003 and have been directing scripted and unscripted since. Yes, I plan to continue directing as long as I can! We definitely need to have more women at the helm.

How have audiences reacted to your film?

Audiences of all ages seem to be swept away by “Play Date”. I think it takes them on an unexpected, magical ride and in 15 minutes manages to entertain them, touch them and leave them thinking on a deeper level about Homelessness. I hope that “Play Date” sparks a conversation about this issue, and I hope it can help inspire the next generation to create positive change.

Your film screened at the Savannah Film Festival. How was that experience?

I had a great time at The Savannah Film Fest…it was an amazing experience! They were extremely organized, the films were top notch and the audiences were so GREAT! I felt that the Sav Film Fest truly valued me as a Filmmaker. They really embraced my film and their hospitality was second to NONE. I can’t wait to go back!

What will you be working on next?

My production company, Makazan Films, (named after my two daughters, Makenzie and Suzanna) is committed to developing meaningful stories by, for and about women. Right now, we’re in post-production on an independent comedic web series I directed, called “Exiled Out East”. We’re in development on a feature film I wrote called “Late Bloomer”, a mother-daughter coming of age story that takes place in a lakeside community in the 1970s. And I’m also writing a new TV series that has a edgy, female-centered story…I truly love what I do!

 

FILM FESTIVALS: Dances With Films - Los Angeles, CA 7/15, LA Shorts - Los Angeles, CA 9/15, DC Shorts - Washington DC 9/15, Global Peace Festival - Orlando, FL 9/15, St. John's Women's Int'l Film Fest - St. Johns, CANADA 10/15, Twin Cities Film Festival - Minneapolis, MN 10/15, Savannah Film Festival - Savannah, GA 10/15, Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival - Fort Lauderdale, FL 11/15 and Everett Film Festival - Everett, WA 2/16.

AWARDS: **The International Family Film Festival - Hollywood, CA 11/15** **WINNER – BEST SHORT FILM**,  **Boston Int'l Kids Film Festival - Boston, MA 11/15** **WINNER - BEST SHORT FILM**,  **San Jose Film Festival - San Jose, CA 10/15** **WINNER AUDIENCE BLOCK AWARD**  **Napa Valley Film Festival - Napa CA 11/15 **RUNNER UP - AUDIENCE AWARD FOR FAVORITE NARRATIVE SHORT**

 

-Interview by Vanessa McMahon; Posted on November 14, 2015-

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