Interview with Filmmaker Michael Lena (LOVE IS ALWAYS LOSING)

LOVE IS ALWAYS LOSING was the winner of BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN at the February 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My motivation came primarily from the mere urge to create. I was tired of treading water, and decided to work one the first ideas that came to mind. It goes like this: My close friend, Connor, was at the gym. If you know Connor you’d know he wasn’t the kind of person you’d expect to find at a City Sports: the kind of place filled with upper middle class 50-something year-olds and young fitness obsessed techies and/or jocks. Being a rough and tough young man grounded in punk roots meant he stood out like a sore thumb- the striped socks, the black boots with thick heels, and a torn, raggedy tank-top inspired me to create this sort of fish-out-water story that Love is Always came to be, in a way. It’s working-title was always “Punk at the gym”.

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

It took me about 3 months for pre-production, production and a rough cut. COVID greatly delayed my ability to fully complete the film for many months, so all-told, it would have been almost a year.

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

It’s decent!

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

Having confidence, overcoming the anxiety of meeting and working with new people from the standpoint of a role I’d never been in in such a capacity.

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

As I’ve matured I think I’ve really embraced the subjectivity of art. They really could have trashed the film and it would have been OK- I mean, I probably would have learned more from it- I just wouldn’t go around posting it like I ended up doing; given the positive reception. But at the end of the day, i’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a really good feeling to recieve positive praise!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I got sober I really started to become engrossed in the process of filmmaking. I am fascinated by the intricacies it requires. But I think that’s the case with all professions. It’s funny to think of all the niceties I might be missing had I pursued some other line of work… like sewage diving; it could really be anything. Everything offers a lot to learn from. I digress.

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

It would either be Alien, Jaws, Fellowship of the Ring, or Robert Eggers’ The Witch.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I appreciate that it streamlines everything for me. Without a comprehensive list I’d probably get overwhelmed and not submit at all.

9. What is your favorite snack to eat?

I don’t really have a “favorite” anything. Except dog. That would be my dog Alice.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yeah I’m headed into that now. Working on a couple scripts and ironing out the kinks with a producer friend of mine.

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