Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Movie Director comes to Iselin - Part 1

I had a chance to interview Katherine “Kat” Brooks in advance of her visit to Iselin.  Kat is in Iselin to film for her newest movie project, “Face2Face.”  Her idea for Face2Face arose when she realized that even though she had almost 5,000 friends on facebook, it had been a month since she’d had a hug from anyone.  She decided she wanted to actually CONNECT with some of the people that she was supposed to be friends with.  One quick post on her facebook page – “The first 50 people who say yes – I want to come meet you,” – and it was begun.
Kat told me, “I’m meeting 50 people, and the plan is to take eight of the most profound stories, and combine them into a feature film and send it to Sundance. But…EVERY story is so profound! …People are being very open, so real.” She said that with so many compelling stories, it’s going to be very difficult to edit all of the footage down into one single movie.

Kat’s mission is more about connecting and helping people than just about making a movie. “Any profit from the movie is going to charity, the Trevor Project, which reaches out to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth who are suicidal.”

I asked Kat to tell me about her experience in TV and Film.  “Most of my work was in reality TV. That’s how I paid the bills.  But I always wanted to make movies.”  While she was making her money directing reality shows, she was also studying the craft of film making, and writing scripts.     

Katherine’s film and TV credits include(among others:)three seasons of the Emmy Award winning show "The Osbournes", the "Newlyweds" starring Jessica Simpson, MTV's groundbreaking "The Real World", and "The Simple Life" starring Paris Hilton.

Katherine moved into directing feature films after gaining critical praise for her short films, Finding Kate and Dear Emily… Since then, Katherine's work has been screened at over 100 festivals around the world and she has garnered dozens of awards.
Katherine's first feature film, Loving Annabelle,(writer/director), starring Erin Kelly, Diane Gaidry and Academy Award nominee Kevin McCarthy, made its premier at the prestigious Cinequest Film Festival in 2006, and won both the "Audience Award" and "Best Actress Award" at Outfest(among many others.)

Her second feature,
Waking Madison, stars Sarah Roemer, Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue, Will Patton, and Golden Globe-winner Frances Conroy. The R-rated film explores the journey of a young woman suffering from multiple personality disorder.

Entertainment One will release the psychological drama-thriller film Waking Madison on DVD July 12.

(The Questions I asked Kat are in Green Italics.)

How did you get started making movies and TV?  What would you recommend to young adults who are interested in becoming a filmmaker like you?
“I am not “pro” film school,” Kat replied.  She went on to explain that between the amount of information on the internet, and just getting out and making your own films – through trial and error - you could teach yourself everything you need to know.  “Movie is about life experience.  (And there are many places that you can learn more about the craft.) So much information is readily available – for example, a lot of DVDs have director’s commentary.   Put your money into film.   Get out there and make a movie.   “Hands on” experience is what going to teach you the most.  I watch two films a day; on line, you can find probably any screen play ever written.  If you want to write and direct, read screen plays every day.  Everything is at your fingertips.  Certainly, some people thrive in school and enjoy it, but if you don’t – or if you can’t afford it -- you can just get out there and start shooting film anyway!”

How is a project like this funded?
Kickstarter is the best way for artists and filmmakers to fund projects - it's a great platform to get people to donate for rewards,” Kat explained.  She explained that she is constantly looking for creative ways to raise funds; for example, her web site at has a sponsor page. And she gives a lot of credit to some of the really wonderful people who have supported her fundraising efforts.
Face2face was scheduled to start filming June 5th.  Are you moving as quickly as you expected?  Are you on schedule? 
Kat, obviously a “go-getter” kind of gal, said that yes, she’s right on schedule, and she’s moving forward at a good pace.  “I’ve gone through 5 states already.  I started in Indiana, and I’ve visited 15 of the 50 people on the schedule.”  

What is your definition for the word Friend?
“Someone that you can trust and that trusts you, someone who doesn’t judge, but  loves you unconditionally, someone who is honest, who accepts you and makes you feel good about yourself, someone who inspires you… a true friend is rare, I think… you are lucky if you have a handful.”

And how were these people chosen?  Was it really that random, or did you research a little first before you agreed to meet with them?
 “It really was the first 50 people -- complete fate!   No research was done in advance.  Although two of the original group had to drop out for personal reasons.”

And Have you been able to make real friend connections with all of these random people that you didn’t really know?
"I’m floored that I’ve connected so well! I just thought it could be a little strange at first, or something, but everyone has been so comfortable, we’ve connected immediately, beyond what I could have imagined."

Do you find that after you’ve connected with these people, you really do still want to be friends with them? 
“Absolutely,” Kat said.  “I would say of the 15 I’ve met so far, I feel really connected to over 50% -- and I feel like I would totally keep in contact with them. One of the girls I saw in Saratoga will be in Jersey on Saturday on my day off, so we are going to get together and hang out.”  Kat said she does believe that the people she is meeting from a random post on her facebook page, where she has almost 5,000 friends, can become real and sustained relationships.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Kat in Iselin!

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