10 questions with A Breath to Survive director, Jon Brekke at the half-way mark.
Thursday, August 18th, 2016
1Hi Jon! Thank you for being a part of the 2016 Summer Festival. What was the inspiration for A Breath To Survive? One day the stress of game players in corporate life became too much to bear. I quit abruptly, and this story emerged.
2You also wrote the script. This could be defined as a woman's film but the circumstances are universal. How do you approach writing for female characters? My mom is our family hero. Carole Brekke had 5 boys in 7 years, with no twins! Her inner strength to rise up against all odds, while remaining happy and true to herself, have consistently inspired strong dimensional female characters in every story that I write.
3What an amazing cast. Stephanie Sanchez and Brandi Taylor have great chemistry as aunty and niece. What was your casting process? This is an art film, and these two women have to carry the movie. I previously worked with both of them in dramatic theatre where they each moved audiences to tears every single performance. Initially, I wrote a few pages for Brandi, then her live read inspired her page total to go from 3 to 30.
4 Creative writing and music are fundamental to the story. Both actresses sing beautifully and you wrote some of the songs. Is music a big part of your life? Music is a big part of our family. I would consider my song writing a bit amateur except for the poetry that carries relative meaning to the soul. Additionally, we were able to work with Emmy Award winning sound designer David Van Slyke, and his talent was tremendous and inspiring.
5What camera did you shoot on? We shot on the Red courtesy of Hawaii Media Inc., and Island Film Group. They both essentially green lit this film. Without their support it would have never been made. Montaj9 was an enormous help in post color. All of these entities continue to support local film making and Hawaii is lucky to have them all.
6It's the Summer holidays and I'm clearing out my cupboards feeding two kids, so I understand where Lisa is coming from during her cooking scenes. What food do you have lurking in the back of the cupboard or fridge? It's a good thing food in the back of the fridge has dates or is perishable! I would hate to think about the new species one could unintentionally create. I bought one of those specials, $1 a can SpaghettiO's specials, thinking back as a kid, but the magic was gone... It is hard to reach back to eat that last can!
7Letting go and the creative process are key themes of the story. Have you reached that point in your life? Do you think it's a choice between a corporate or creative life? My mentor and former Time Warner Cable President Nate Smith opened up my ability to begin the process of "Letting go!" However, it remains my biggest lesson today, one that I am currently struggling with after the loss of my brother Tobias, drama behind the scenes, and a cover up that prevented the truth from coming out. I will continue to try and raise my bar on the theory of letting go, as Tobias would want it so. He too was creative to say the least. Fortunately today, one can make choices and leave corporate life, then return, and live their dreams all at the same time. Some will take a 6 month trip to Europe, help third worlds, and some of us will make movies and digital content. Hahaha, the last one does not sound so noble now.
8Hawaii must be a beautiful place to work. Does it always feel like a holiday or are there hard edges to paradise? The best part for a visual person is the perennial blues skies and while pillowy clouds of Hawaii. Having started there as a DP and lucky to shoot across all the islands, it did inspire me to try and tell a city story that for once did not depend upon the Hawaii iconic scenery. A Breath to Survive is a story that could be relative to a woman living in an apartment in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and even Honolulu where it was filmed.
9You're film Tiramisu on the Beach is currently in post-production. My husband makes a mean tiramisu. Are you good at making desserts? Tiramisu on the Beach is shot entirely on the beach and a magnificent set on the coast line courtesy of the Turtle Bay Resort! Epic. It just so happens that Tiramisu is my absolute favorite dessert I discovered on my first trips to San Francisco and New York City. The original story was written by my partner and co-star of the film, Eric Nemoto. He is running our film company Yellow Brick Studio. I however, toast a mean pop tart! I can almost eat a Magnum ice cream bar without losing any chocolate covering, amazing!
10What's next? I wrote two new screenplays, Animehem, where a shy and unassuming teenage girl becomes a hero. It takes place at an Anime convention where a serial killer goes awry. I'm also awaiting results from producers, actors, and distributors who are currently reading, Athena and Lucifer in the 21st Century, a typical thriller lightly based upon the Goddess and the Devil. It's really just a roller coaster ride to make my first true commercial film, and try to make some money!
About the Interviewer: Paulette Caletti
Paulette Caletti is the writer/director of The Cake Maker movie based in London. She's currently writing a new feature script and developing 360/VR projects. http://paulettecaletti.com
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