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Wake Me When I Leave
2015, 64m, drama, experimental, horror
A restless young woman waits out the night in a twilight state, where dreams, memories, revisited and reenacted events intermingle. She tries her best to parse truth from embellishment, reflecting on her relationship with the man sleeping soundly beside her.
Produced by: Christopher Jason Bell, Tyler Rubenfeld
Cast: Jenna D'Angelo, Michael Fentin, Zahra Zubaidi, Adam Barrie, Dale Smith
10 questions with Wake Me When I Leave director, Tyler Rubenfeld at the half-way mark.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
1Yo Tyler! What was the initial seed that made you want to create Wake Me When I Leave? In terms of artistic impulses this was kind of cheap, but I was watching Robert Altman’s “Images” and thinking about all the great films where women have visions (“Persona,” “Mulholland Dr,” “Repulsion,” “Juliet of the Spirits,” “Celine and Julie Go Boating,” and Altman’s own “3 Women”) and decided I wanted to make one myself. Again—it’s a cheap spark, but a spark nonetheless, and it got me writing. And as the script developed and the interior life of the main character began to take shape, the film grew into its own thing—and it became less about emulating a cinematic tradition and more about staying true to the world of the film.
2What was your writing process like for this film? It involved a lot of non-writing--basically mapping out the entire film in my head before even typing a word. I still have a huge stack of disorganized notes from this non-writing period--most of them scrawled on the back of unused comment cards from my movie theater job at the time.
3Good editing plays a strong role in Wake Me When I Leave. Did you have this story mapped out or did it evolve in the editing room? The script had the chronology of the scenes down, but the film definitely came into its own during the editing process. We also ended up filming a lot more than what was in the script, so the rhythm of the film had to accommodate for all the new stuff.
4It seems like you, Michael Fentin, and Ben Beutel-Gunn (who plays Todd's roommate, Max) have known each other for years and are always collaborating on comedic shorts together. How did you guys meet and how much have they influenced you as a filmmaker? Michael and I went to college together. We acted in plays and filmed comedy sketches. Then a year or two later, I moved in with him and six other people in an apartment in Washington Heights in NYC. Ben was one of those people (he and Michael have known each other since they were babies). I still live with Ben (and two others from the original Washington Heights lineup), no longer with Michael—but we’re still great friends. They create a great environment for ideas to percolate, and as performers, they’re up for anything. Also, Ben makes great videos under the YouTube moniker Little Belittle and can edit comedy like nobody I know.
5Who would win in an arm wrestling contest, Michael Fentin or Ben Beutel-Gunn? How about a hotdog eating contest? Good question. They’re not really arm wrestling types, and I know Ben doesn’t eat hot dogs. But even if they were turkey dogs, I’d still bet on Michael—I’ve seen him eat three Wendy’s meals in one sitting.
6What's the biggest thing you learned from making this movie? A lot of little things that are difficult to put into words. Putting it simply, film is a language—and for someone like me with a writing background, it’s all about learning to translate those ideas from the page to the screen. So you end up picking up on what gets lost in the translation, given the resources, and what you gain.
7You also created an interesting film named Vlogger that also starred Jenna D'angelo and Michael Fentin. How did you find Jenna and what's it like working with her? I was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and needed an actress for my first short film, which is on my IMDB page but I keep it under lock and key. Jenna was finishing up at Western Michigan University and auditioned for it and blew me away. By chance, we both ended up in New York, so I got to keep casting her. And she’s incredible to work with!
8What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? Maybe “Fargo?” I saw it at an early age and—aside from the fact that I was really impressed with myself for being only ten and seeing an R-rated movie where a guy gets put through a woodchipper—it was definitely my favorite movie, and it was the movie that turned me into a movie-buff. The thought of being a filmmaker was vaguely in my head after that, and seeing “Eraserhead” in high school and “Old Joy” in college were huge shocks to the system—I couldn’t not be a filmmaker after seeing those.
9Jerry watched your movie five times. How does it feel to be his favorite film of the Winter 2016 festival? I’m feeling pretty good about it, thanks Jerry!
10What's next? Filming a short sometime in the spring, and getting started on a new feature, “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon,” in the late summer.
About the Interviewer: Jerry Tran
Jerry is a lighting technician during the day and is the computer nerd behind Fandependent Films at night. In his spare time he builds bike frames and performs pranks.
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