Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Redish (THE LAST CROISSANT)

THE LAST CROISSANT was the winner of BEST COMEDY FILM at the December 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I had “The Last Croissant” in my head for some time, and was encouraged by a colleague to complete it as a narrative work sample – I had been making music videos and choreographing and was interested in breaking into directing comedy too. I was working in Washington, D.C. at the time choreographing a play and while I was crossing the country back and forth to LA, I met a great DP and gaffer, Jeff Fitzgerald. I told him about my idea, he liked it, and we decided to shoot it and began pre-production 35,000 feet in the air. I cast one of the actors in the play I was working on (Drew Kopas), and he recommended some funny D.C.-based women actors for the project. They were all amazing – I cast them based off of their reels, and we shot at the wonderful Takoma Beverage Co. in Takoma Park, MD after they closed. It was a wonderful coming together of many elements to support an idea I had. The short landed on Funny or Die soon after making it, and that really set me on the filmmaking path I’m currently on.

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

I got the idea as I was starting to transition from theatre to film; once I pitched the idea to Jeff on the airplane in 2019 we executed it in 4 days and were in post thereafter for a week to make a tight deadline. So, a long time or a not very long time, depending on how you look at it!

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

Ridiculous and true.

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

We were on two coasts in post but my team made it happen and I’m so grateful. I had returned to LA after our shoot and my editor, Lea Vrabelova, was in LA editing while Jeff was capturing ADR from the talent in D.C. He really did a great job capturing all the elements, and we toggled back and forth between us before we settled on a cut. All in all, it was a very smooth and efficient process, and I’m grateful to the team for making it happen.

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

The feedback video was wonderful! I felt very heard and really appreciated everyone’s detailed responses – it felt like the audiences really got the film. I was really grateful to the Los Angeles Comedy Film Festival for compiling it!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Seeing “Little Shop of Horrors” when I was 7. I couldn’t believe how much it affected me. It was at once exciting and terrifying and magical and fluid and rhythmic and funny and punctuated. It stuck with me at a young age – specifically musicals on film. I began studying and working in theatre because that was what was in front of me growing up in Chicago, but I always knew films were in my future.

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

The original “West Side Story,” “Annie,” and “Soapdish.”

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Y’all have been so great! Thanks for being so flexible and creative during this time. I appreciated the detailed feedback and the opportunities to talk about my work. I know how much work it takes and it’s really appreciated!

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experience been working on the festival platform site?

Big fan. Especially when they tell me I’ve been accepted! Seriously though, it’s a very user-friendly platform and I highly recommend it!

10. What is your favorite meal?

Croissants. Just kidding. Hibachi steak. Maybe that’s the next short.

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

I’m currently studying at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts to receive my MFA in Filmmaking and Screenwriting. I’m creating a short musical film called “Exit, Pursued by a Bear,” about a bear that was in my neighborhood for six months for one of my classes. I will be choreographing it as well, which I’m really excited about. It feels great to be able to combine everything I’m excited about: film, musicals, comedy, and dance.

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By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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