Your new movie Eyes
Upon Waking - in a few words, what is it about?
story follows a very distressed woman into a mental health
facility following two attempts to end her life, and examines her
growth into a still-troubled person content to continue living.
Much of the story, the characters, and the stories of the
characters come from the personal experiences of the filmmaker (a.k.a.
Upon Waking is based on your own true story - so what made you
revisit what I suspect wasn't the happiest tim in your life and make it
into a movie?
I had no choice but to make this film, especially after people that had
read my screenplay in the early stages commented on how they related.
Saying how my words were their words and how they were afraid to share their story.
I got tired of hiding what I was feeling inside all these years. I felt
it was time to start making a difference and educate those that do not
understand what living with depression really means. I also needed
an audience who may connect with the experiences and emotions of the
characters, to convey how these things are common and acceptable: It's
okay to feel these things, and okay to talk about it.
Other sources of inspiration when writing
Miss Sunshine is a personal favorite, especially for the way it
combines humour with tragedy. This two-fold approach was very much in
mind throughout writing and production.
Upon Waking together with Andy Golub - so what can you tell us
about him, and what was your collaboration like?
is a very talented and well diverse in
his writings. Collaborating with
him was a joy. He really listened to my story and added in details that
I did not realize were true. For example, the
biting of my nails. I really was not aware that I would do this when I
felt overwhelmed. He did not rush the process so we could make my story
solid. Having a strong film starts with a strong screenplay. I will be
working with him again.
its very serious subject matter, Eyes
Upon Waking has a sort of light-footedness to it - would you care
to elaborate on that?
itself is full of tragedy and humor, so for the movie to feel realistic,
both those things had to be reflected.
Having followed your progress on
Upon Waking over the years, making the movie seems to have been a
bit of an uphill struggle - so what were the challenges of bringing your
story to the screen from a producer's point of view?
biggest challenge was the financing and then getting the right
locations. Since I was not well known and this being my first-time
feature as a filmmaker, it was hard to get investors to take me
seriously and want to take the gamble. Our budget was only $230k, so
we had very little wiggle room. The majority of my cast were living in
other states besides Arizona, so collaborating schedules
and flights was challenging at times. Having these struggles only made
me more determined and well educated. All I knew was that Eyes
Upon Waking was
going to get completed and it would be a film that I am very proud of. I
hope my cast and crew feel the same way. This was completed due to the
community support and love and belief from all that either worked on
this or contributed in some way.
also play the lead in Eyes
Upon Waking - so what did it feel like to go back to this point of
your life from an actor's point of view, and apart from your own story,
obviously, what did you draw upon to bring Taren to life?
It was hell reliving my life. But at the end, it was needed to show
had to allow myself to get back into that frame of mind by not sleeping or
eating. There were times on set where I could not tell how far I had come
because I was fully re-submerged to when it first happened. It was
as if time has not passed and extremely, emotionally draining. It took me
several weeks to recoup once filming was completed.
can you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
could not have asked for a better cast. Each and every one I handpicked
to bring my vision to reality. Everyone, including the extras, were true
to their character.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
have been sharing BTS footage and photos from our shoots on our website,
IMDb page and LinkedIn pages, and loved how happy everyone was in these.
We had some long hours as most independent films do, so I tried to keep
it lighthearted as much as possible. We made sure my cast and crew did
not go hungry, and after the shoot we still had food left over to donate
to the homeless.
$64-question of course, where can Eyes
Upon Waking be seen?
now we are in the film festivals and seeking distribution. You can
follow our progress and festival dates here: eyesuponwaking.com/
Anything you can tell us
about audience and critical reception of Eyes
far, everyone that has seen Eyes
Upon Waking has provided positive
feedback. I have yet to view with an audience so I'm nervous and
excited. When we first had our reading, there were about 100 people in
attendance and it was really great to hear their reaction. That's when I
realized that my film had humor in it and many could relate.
Any future projects you'd like to
always thinking of new projects.
Right now, I have two
physiological thrillers on
the pipeline (one
of which I would like to direct).
Your/your movie's website, social media, whatever
a one-stop shop that lists everything. The only social media I am
posting on right now is my LinkedIn page:
you can follow our progress on our IMDb page:
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
is imperative to find people who believe in the film and its purpose.
The positive energy provided by a great cast, crew, and everyone
supporting the film is a huge part of what made this project possible.
the film you want to make. Listen to advice that works, ignore any that
changes your intentions. When your project has a vision, others will
join who share that vision. Never compromise artistic integrity.
Thanks for the interview!