Interview with Jenna Ushkowitz (THE DINNER PARTY)

THE DINNER PARTY was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2022 LA Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We made this film in 2019 before the pandemic and the intent has stayed the
same, I truly just want to make people laugh and engage thoughtful connection through conversation. I was so grateful to the talented Penelope Lawson who graciously offered to write a short for me to make my directorial debut and we were adamant about making a comedy together.

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

From start to finish, i’d say it was a total of 6 months give or take from conception and writing to wrapping production. Post was definitely delayed by the beginning of covid but we got it done.

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

Awkward and Entirely possible. Ok, that was 4.

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

The biggest obstacle was probably the amount of time we had to shoot the short. We shot the whole thing in 2 days and while being in one location may seem easy, it certainly was not, getting shots around a whole dinner table with a cast of 9+ was incredibly fast paced and I felt immense pressure as a first time director, not being to get a ton of footage to play with!

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

It was so invigorating to get the reactions we did out of people that we’ve never met before. It was incredibly encouraging and exciting to hear from a new audience.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
https://youtu.be/-jnhjMztoZw

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

Having been in front of the camera for many years, it was such an exciting venture to do something new behind the lens. I was challenged and stretched to put on a different hat, while also using my skills as an actor to support the amazing performances we got out of our incredible cast!

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

Titanic. Don’t laugh.

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

What I love so much about the Feedback Film Festival is the real time criticism and feedback we get from your audience. We could all benefit from more constructive honest criticism from unbiased viewers!

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

I love FilmFreeway. It’s incredibly streamlined, easy to navigate and convenient to have everything in one place.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Burritos. Or Dumplings.

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

We’ll see!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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