Interview with director/actor Nicole Jones (FOUR DAY WEEKEND)

Nicole Jones’ short film “FOUR DAY WEEKEND” was the overwhelming winner of “BEST FILM” at the February 2017 Romance Film Festival. She not only directed the film, but also starred in it as well. A definite true talent.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was motivated by a desire to see complex characters on screen about mature people over 35. I was tired of seeing middle aged people, (often times middle aged women,) portrayed as very stereotypical and one dimensional.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Nine months. I just counted right this second, it took exactly as long as it takes to make a baby!

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Complex. Love Story. (Can Love Story count as one word?)

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Creating a 23 year-relationship, with no rehearsal, between two actors who just met. Our lead actor, whom I was extremely lucky to get, (Ben Koldyke,) is a well respected, working actor who kindly lent his talent to our film. But because of his extremely busy schedule, he and I were not able to meet until the day we started shooting. Since this was a character driven film about a couple married for 23 years, the challenge was making that seen authentic with a man that I had literally just met. (I decided to act in the film with Ben so that I could improv and rewrite as needed in the moment.) The most important scene, which was the last one in the film, was particularly challenging because so much was riding on it. So once everyone was ready to go, I cleared the set, had Ben come in, we rehearsed for exactly 30 minutes, then I called the crew in, and we shot. Fortunately Ben is so talented, I was able to just work off of him, and we nailed it quickly.

What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Tremendous gratitude. I wanted to make a thought provoking film, that is morally ambiguous, therefore watching the audience debate it made me feel like I had really accomplished my goal. Is it a love story, or is it the opposite? That is up to you to decide. There was a young man who did not think it was a love story, in fact it made him uncomfortable and sad. I felt his point was very valid. But then there was an older woman around my age, (I’m 46 now,) who saw it as a love story, which I personally agree with her. Yet both opinions are correct for the person who said it. It all depends on who you are and what stage of life you are in.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the Short Film:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I am lucky to have found true love at the age of 40. I’ve been with my husband now going on six years. Having this experience as an older woman really changed the way I view love. Though this short film is NOT based on a true story, I could really understand this woman’s perspective. Loving someone so much that wanting them to live a full rich life is more important to you then following any social norm. “I’m not in love with my marriage, I’m in love with the man I married”, is a line that when I wrote it, I thought made the most sense to me. That was an idea I wanted to explore in a film, and by making it a couple who had been married for such a long time, I could really play with that concept.

. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I watch “Being There” a lot. Chauncey Gardiner AKA Chance the Gardner is my spirit animal.

What is next for you? A new film?

I am about to go up to West Marin County with Jeanne Tyson, (the cinematographer who shot Four Day Weekend,) and film a documentary about the local radio station up there, KWMR. This documentary is also about this community and their listeners who are the coolest, mellow, most bad-ass, people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I’m pretty sure Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski is real, and he is retired up there. The radio station is putting me on air to read from a script I wrote, pitch an outline, and get feedback for my next project from this amazing audience.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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