Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bel Air Film Festival 2011 - Interview - 'Empty Sandbox' World Premiere

Empty Sandbox 
Interview with Melissa Marie Gibson - Director/Writer and Janay Lee Casting Director
Starring Jeremy Batiste, Ser'Darius Blain & Melissa Marie Gibson


This short film centered on the difficulties posed by the the Iraq war and the social consequences of that when returning home from duty.

-Obviously this short film had an 'Iraq' theme? Why did you decide to incorporate this as the main theme to your film?

It was kind of something I was going through at the time as I guess a little auto-biographical (Melissa)

-So it was a true to life experience that you wanted to bring to screen from your thoughts and feelings that you wrote about?

Yes you said it I am more of a writer (Melissa)

-When did you decide that you were going to put pen to paper?

About 2 years ago and we shot and filmed last June (Melissa)

-How did you find the casting process for this?
Well I did LA Casting.I did the breakdown and basically it was a union film so we got phenomenal actors. There are a lot of phenomenal non union actors that just haven't joined.  But is does make a difference when you step it up and make a SAG film (Janay)

-So you only went for SAG actors and not non-union purely for the label that they are SAG affiliated or talent wise?

We do scan the resumes, and you can tell the difference whether who has taken the step to join and who has been there for a while and versus the new people (Janay)

-I am curious to know as a non-union actress myself do you normally go for the more experienced or do you look at fresh talent also?

I love fresh talent but because this was a SAG film, I wanted to give SAG actors a chance as there is not a lot of work out there and a lot of things are non-union. So to be SAG and work on a SAG film is a great experience and a great opportunity as it is slim to none. (Janay)

-After the casting process how long did it take you to get the film ready?

By the time we finished casting about a month and a half from searching for the right talent and we found  Ser'Darius Blain who is actually doing Footloose right now we are really excited for him....(Janay)

-What is next for you?
We have something called 'Almost Happy' and something called 'Bad Chicks'...both will be shorts but with the potential to go as feature.

-Is this the 1st film festival you have entered this particular short into?

3rd... World Fest Houston and we won Platinum and that was pretty exciting- for the whole show
San Diego Black Film Festival
San Francisco Black Film Festival
We will be at Hollywood Black Film Festival also (Melissa)

-Did the message of the movie meet your expectations?

It did and beyond (Melissa)

-What were your expectations?
2 men one choice what do you do? You go with your heart (Melissa)

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