Interview with Filmmaking team of the Comedy Film LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT

LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT was the winner of BEST FILM at the Feb. 2022 COMEDY Film Festival.

Allison Norris-Austin – Star
Ellen C. Burr – Writer
Bret Koehler – Director

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Allison: I fell in love with Rachel from the moment I read the script. At first we thought we would just film with iphone and just get something kinda cool but after we reached out to Bret (the director) and Gio, they both fell in love too. It literally happened just by asking them to read it. It was kismet.

Ellen: Allison’s drive and desire to play Rachel.

Bret Koehler: A hilarious script and fabulously funny actors. The story was so simple, but you could immediately see how timing and nuance would be critically important to its success. I was really drawn to that.

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

Allison: June 2020 we started work shopping it and having zoom rehearsals. We shot it in November of 2020 with Covid protocols. Then there was a year of post-production.

Ellen: 22 months

Bret: Long enough that I moved into a different age demographic during the process.

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

Allison: Charmingly Awkward

Ellen: Hilariously Relatable

Bret: Brutally Honest

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

Allison: The post-production was the biggest challenge because we had to find the right group of people that saw our film the way we did… Talk about a realistic film-making education….. this is a process that is truly over-looked… 🙂

Ellen: Scheduling all the moving parts.

Bret Koehler: Probably convincing Ellen and Allison that we’d definitely be shooting till at least 2AM, ha! Second biggest obstacle: finishing before dawn.

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

Allison: I literally had tears in my eyes. It was so amazing to hear feedback from people who didn’t know us… really see and hear all the details that we put into it.

A truly masterful process that all filmmakers should have at the end.

Ellen: Joyful surprise. I was happy to hear what we worked on so hard to capture was received by the viewers. Esp. the actors’ chemistry, the rhythm and the music.

Bret: This is amazing! so great to see such authentic feedback.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Allison: I have been pursuing acting for some time now even after taking a break. It truly wasn’t until Ellen and I connected that brought out the vision for what we wanted to do with our combined talents. She really compliments my comedy style and we inspire each other’s own natural instincts.

Ellen: After finding my tribe of fellow like-minded artists and enjoying the collaborative process of rewriting, rehearsing, filming, editing & discussing music. I had been writing all of my life, and making this film took my solitary imaginary world creation into reality!

Bret: Fairly late in my career. I’ve always been on the commercial side, writing and producing spots. To even think about coming home form work and writing MORE stuff was, well…draining.

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

Allison: Don’t judge me, lol but there are a few that if it’s on I have to watch it. Doesn’t matter how many times… Grease, The Holiday, Legally Blonde, 13 going on 30.

These films make me feel good…. It’s just that simple. While I love all types of film from drama to animation, these just speak to my heart and I think that’s what I want to do for our audiences.

Ellen: It’s a tie between two: A 1953 Romantic film (nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color in 1954) The Story of Three Loves, and Harold and Maude.

Bret Koehler: This is the part where you’re supposed to put down something deep and eclectic. Screw that. It’s Top Gun. Talk to me, Goose!

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

Allison: I have loved this process. This is an amazing experience that truly sets you apart from other festivals. Congratulations on that! Being on zoom since

Covid, this process is pretty cool but I can only imagine being surrounded by other artists and audiences would be magical.

Ellen/Bret: N/A

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

Allison: Yes, so far really great. Some festivals can be harder to navigate but that’s just true with anything.

Ellen: The platform was easy to use. All the information and categories were clearly outlined.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Allison: My night job is in a restaurant so I love food… You know Meatloaf’s “I would do anything for Love?” Well, I would do anything for DUCK!!! 😊

Ellen: Right now the tasting menu at “Matu” in Beverly Hills. Other than that, sushi.

Bret: I’m originally from Nebraska. I would be shunned if I didn’t say T-Bone steak and corn on the cob.

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

Allison: I truly love comedy and sure hope that more opportunities/roles will come my way for the future. We have many more film projects from shorts to web series and even a feature film written by all women then will be directed by women.

Ellen: I’m juggling several projects: filming shorts that could be stitched into a feature about a creative adult woman who is lovingly out of step with her times; collaborating on a family horror-mystery-comedy-drama with Allison and another filmmaker named Ursula; and I’ve been asked to work someone’s novel into a film.

Bret: I’m currently working on a comedy series, a comedy short, and my glutes.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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