Vail questions: Director Katherine Cunningham-Eves answers 7
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado “-Katherine Cunningham-Eves, whose showing films in Vail, Colorado Saturday, is an actor, director, writer and producer who has appeared in numerous roles on television and in film.
She has produced four short films ” two of which are screening at 2 p.m. in Vail Saturday ” “Kidnapping Caitlynn” and “Glock.” She is attending the Vail Film Festival with the cast of “Kidnapping Caitlynn,” which includes Jason Biggs, and her husband, actor Rhys Coiro (“Entourage,” “24”).
1. VAIL DAILY: How was your experience at the Vail Film Festival last year?
KATHERINE CUNNINGHAM-EVES: It was wonderful. We spent the mornings skiing and the rest of the day watching movie after movie. Everyone was friendly, welcoming and supportive. VFF is large enough that the quality of work is excellent and competitive, but small enough that it’s not overwhelming or sterile. It feels intimate but prestigious at the same time ” a very difficult balance to achieve. Vail is hands down the best Film Festival I have ever been to. Highly organized with excellent programming, a ton of fun activities to do during the day and great parties at night. The theaters were awesome and the audiences were receptive.
2. VD: You’ll be in Vail with two different films this time. That should keep you busy! How did your experience on the films compare to each other?
KE: Extremely different. I directed “Kidnapping Caitlynn,” so I worked on every step of the project. It was also an extremely short shoot ” less than 18 hours total ” on an extremely tight budget, which can be a challenge but can also force you to think in creative, unexpected ways. It was a lot of work and it was worth every second. I think that together we have created an extremely fun, very silly, dark, unique little piece. “Glock” was a much more relaxed process for me because I was a collaborating producer with Tom Scott and Michael McMillian. I found locations, organized the budget, cast a few of the actors, assembled the crew and made sure everything ran smoothly. Once shooting was done I was not involved in the editing process, which was great for me. I was able to be surprised by the final product ” what a treat.
3. VD: How did you get involved with Jason Biggs for “Kidnapping Caitlynn”?
KE: Jenny Mollen (who wrote “Kidnapping Caitlynn”) is married to Mr. Biggs. Jason and my husband, Rhys, were doing a play in New York together so Jenny and I met for coffee. We immediately hit it off when we started talking about our dogs. She told me she had a short that centered around her dog. When she sent me the film I went nuts for it. I thought it was so unique and subtly hilarious. Jenny and Jason are both ridiculously fun to work with. We spent even the most hectic moments of the shoot laughing.
4. VD: What do you see as the importance of shorts in today’s film landscape?
KE: Ahhh. Great question. I’m in the process of putting together my first feature at the moment and there are so many things you have to worry about ” commercial viability, name actors, third act twists, sexiness, marketability, genre, etc. Sometimes you forget that what you are trying to do is tell a story. With shorts, because you can make them on limited budgets and you don’t have to worry about anything other than the story, I find them to be a very genuine form of artistic expression.
5. VD: And what’s the role of film festivals in that process?
KE: We have had preliminary interest from a company in regards to purchasing “Kidnapping Caitlynn.” How did they find out about the film? The Vail FF program guide! The guy who contacted me told me that he regards the shorts programs at festivals as a hotbed for fresh ideas. Enough said.
6. VD: What are your goals in working on short films, both artistically and in terms of developing your career? What do they allow you to do that you might not have the opportunity for elsewhere?
KE: They allow me to explore. I have made four short films (I’ll send the next one to Vail for 2010 … hehe) and they are all diametrically different. … I am finding my voice and having a great time doing it. There’s an emphasis in Hollywood to move quickly and to brand yourself. While I understand the importance of that from a business angle, from an artistic angle it stunts you not to know your strengths, to decide what you should do before you’ve tried everything. I am learning through experience and I love it.
7. VD: Are you planning on writing, directing or producing anything feature-length down the road?
KE: YES! I wrote a feature screenplay with actress Krysten Ritter that has been acquired and is being developed by Scott Stuber’s company … pretty amazing. I am trying to independently direct another feature, “Debt,” that I wrote with McMillian. I have almost everything assembled ” producers, some actors, casting director … I’m just looking for a budget and for my lead actors (Michelle Monaghan perhaps?)
What: “Kidnapping Caitlynn”
When: 2 p.m., Saturday
Where: Vail Cascade theater 2
Cost: Film festival passes start at $45
More information: Visit http://www.vailfilmfestival.org