Cinema Without Borders interview with Grace McPhillips

Bijan Tehrani:  How did you come up with the idea of making THE OTHER ONE?
Grace McPhillips: My film THE OTHER ONE was originally a short film I had been cast in, but that had never been made.  It was a script that haunted me, spurred my imagination towards different story lines, and I saw the film fit perfectly in a location I knew I had pretty unlimited access to. So when it came time for me to produce and star in a feature, that screenplay immediately came to mind.

The short was only 15 pages and a feature needs to be closer to 85 pages, so we, the other lead actors and the director, took a collaborative creation approach and we developed a storyline and script within 3 months and immediately went into filming.

BT:  You are an independent producer and filmmaker with an extensive background in arts, has that background helped you as a filmmaker?
GM: Having a diverse background in the arts is super helpful for perspective and gumption.  I was mostly dancing, singing, and acting in musical theater prior to film, but choreographed in addition to performing, which is a lot like producing and starring.  It's deciding how you want the cake to be made and then being the one who walks out with it on your finest cake platter.

Cannes 2015 Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Scheaffer

First of all, YES.  I know how deeply lucky I am to have had another beautiful gown made for me to wear on the Red Carpet in Cannes.  I am such a fan of fashion, love being the canvas, and know that these experiences are treasures!

For this year's Cannes Film Festival, I knew much earlier than last year that I would be on the Red Carpet!  Hosted by Hewlett Packard, I was asked to speak on the panel "Cutting Edge Collaborators: Women Achieving in Film." Our day would finish with the entire panel walking the Red Carpet together.  PERFECT!  I reached out to Veronica Sheaffer, having appreciated her work on instagram, pitched the opportunity and we immediately hit it off!  

Over the next three weeks and four fittings this stunning gown came together!

 Grace McPhillips in Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Sheaffer

Grace McPhillips in Red Carpet Gown by Veronica Sheaffer

Aside from the stunning and dramatic effect the dress gives, it was so completely comfortable and made me feel regal, distinguished, and most importantly matched the accomplishment I was feeling.  Starring and producing in a feature film, The Other One, then seeing it through a year of festivals, and into distribution, was no easy task.  Excitement and stress come in equal doses during that process, so to then to be highlighted as a "Woman Achieving in Film," at Cannes, was just AWESOME!!!

 Me, Kyle Flavell, and Komal Minhas encouraging the industry to be more than a fan!

Me, Kyle Flavell, and Komal Minhas encouraging the industry to be more than a fan!

One of the things I love about Veronica is that she is all in.  After knowing what fabric we would be working with, and the feeling of the gown, she began e-mailing me links to shoes and jewelry.  More than a gown designer, she is a stylist!  Her vision is all encompassing.  Check out all of the options in this video shot by Chris Rejano of the final fitting the day before we flew to France!

The shoes, that couldn't have been more perfect, were by Adrianna Papelle. Can you see that sparkle on the inside of the stiletto? LOVE!

While you can't beat a custom gown, Rent the Runway is my go-to for other fun, fancy occasions.  In Chicago they now have a store (YES!) and they treated me to amazing jewelry to complete the look.  Working with Veronica at the final fitting we decided on the DANNIJO Avril Earrings and the aptly named Jones Bracelets from Chamak by Priya Kakkar.  

And a note about Flatgate, (not the football debacle, but the female producers being ushed off the red carpet for wearing flats,)  this year, my mother joined me in Cannes and she rocked some silver Sam and Libby's Flats with no problem.  We had a great time, incase you can't tell from the picture. 

Now... it is called the Cannes Film Festival, so what film did we see and what did I think about it?

We saw Valerie Donzelli's fourth feature, Marguerite and Julian, a tragic, incestuous Romeo and Juliet.  The reviews were mixed and interestingly when I spoke to women about it, they understood the modern touches inserted into the film as hinting towards this story being a timeless one, but the men I spoke with were mostly confused by the helicopters, electricity, and modern cars in a story taking place in the 17th century and didn't like the film.

Personally, I thought there were many commendable moments.  The children's performances were so touching and beautiful. I liked the scenes being started in tableaus, not freezing the footage, but freezing the actors, and the sense of play with which she directed the brother and sister lovers was spot on.  

The music, however, was too american for me and when Marguerite is  captured, Valerie chose to "celebrify" the moment by showing it in paparazzi style, still photography.  This felt off.  It's the only time she choses to do this in the film and it feels pushed and insincere.  It took me out of the story immediately and removed the actors from their performances for me.  Aside from that it was beautifully made and a nice story to explore.  Worthy of Cannes? Absolutely.  Groundbreaking?  No, but I think Valerie Donzelli has it in her and I'll be curious to see what is in her future. #SEEHERNOW

There was a lot energy around female filmmakers this year, but there were only two female directors in competition.  Directors of films certainly have the least representation, but the numbers across the board for female filmmakers isn't great, particularly in the upper echelon of filmmaking.

I'd like to see more women working with bigger budgets and will continue to be an advocate for women in film.  It's what I am, so why wouldn't I?  Also the best idea I've heard for creating real change is quotas.  People, and I think, Americans in particular, don't like to be told they have to do one thing or another, but when a history of injustice needs to be corrected, we MUST do things that, at the time ,feel uncomfortable or even unfair.  

Maybe you saw the film Selma?  Blacks had the right to vote, but it didn't mean it was going to happen.  Affirmative action was also an uncomfortable thing for many people, and at times, yes, it was unfair, but the culture wasn't going to change without demonstrative action.  This is the place we are at with female filmmakers.  If you haven't yet, please sign the ACLU petition for investigation into discriminatory hiring practices in Hollywood.  I'm on it.


Another Great Review of The Other One at the Milwaukee Film Festival!

Kat Froehlich, DJ for 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, saw the first screening of The Other One at the Milwaukee Film Festvial and had some great things to say about it! Here's one of our favorite sections from the review:

"I was frustrated for the 24 hours following this film, but now that I’ve had a little time to digest my confusion, I recommend seeing it. Despite my difficulties in piecing together the storyline, the theme of coping with death and loss has its shining moments. This film had me talking into the night with my peers about imagery and symbolism; and if a film (or any art form) can get its audience talking about greater meanings in life, then I believe it’s a job well done." 

After the screening, she met with lead actress/Executive Producer Grace McPhillips and had this to say:

"Imagine my surprise when I found myself suddenly face-to-face with “Amber,” who is actually an energetic, smiling, bright and beautiful human with a sparkling personality. There’s something to be said about an actor that’s willing to check his / her glamour at the door to play a role in a less-than-lovely light.  This was one of those rare and refreshing moments."

You can read the full review here (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!).


Week Five | Thank Yous + Set Life blog with actor Jesse Bob Harper!

Another week, another round of thank yous - and this time from actor Jesse Bob Harper who plays Jett in The Other One! Jesse wants to give a huge thank you to everyone who supported, we had some very generous contributions come our way this week. 

It's the last full week to donate to our campaign so please contribute if you can at www.TheOtherOneMovie.com

Take a look at the time on set of The Other One through the eyes of Jesse, and then scroll down to see his gratitude!

  Jesse Bob Harper in the role of Jett

Jesse Bob Harper in the role of Jett

What was your job on "The Other One?"

Actor - I played the role of Jett. 

What was your favorite moment on set during production?

Sitting back and watching people, from cast to crew, who take their jobs very seriously get the job done.

 What was your favorite moment off set?

Trail running in the early mornings...

Working for 10 days straight and then two pickup days fairly soon after leads to much exhaustion.  How did you keep yourself fresh and focused during such an intense time?

Nicotine gum...

Without being a spoiler on the story, what was the most surprising thing that happened to you?

Learning how to execute “Round' the world on a yoyo...

KEN_Jesse Harper.JPG

What was the biggest lesson you learned from this film that you will use on your next production experience?

That there is always time for patience...

Do you have a reel, website, or do you want to tell us a little bit more about yourself and how people can follow your career/ reach out to you?

www.JesseBobHarper.com and www.Facebook.com/JesseBobHarper