Interview with Writer Bobby Zenk & Director Susan Buster Thomas (PARTING OUT)

PARTING OUT, 19min., USA, Drama
Directed by Susan Buster Thomas
Two women search for love and missing pieces in a vintage auto salvage yard.

Get to know the writer and director:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The question we had to answer: “If not now, then when?”

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

Four months to the shoot, one year to the finished post-production. And straight up twenty-five years from the original story.

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

Junkyard Love.

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

Casting actors who could play the theme, layers and levels, the finding of which profoundly altered the path of our story.

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

Gratitude and joy, because the comments were describing in detail and appreciation the very things we set out to accomplish with the film, and those don’t always come in one happy and digestible bundle!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Imagining them since childhood, arranged a few lifetimes later to make one.

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

Besides ours? I might never admit this to a festival audience (unless I have a mic in my hand and it’s a long enough Q&A) but it’s not be Bergman or Aronofsky or Campion or Truffaut or DuVernay.

It’s actually going to be 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Big Lebowski, and Goldfinger, in order of views numbering in the high dozens. (Bob likes stories that unpack themselves with timeless one-liners.) Our director’s fave multiple-view film is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. (Susan is clearly drawn to verbose love tussles.)

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

Being able to observe a live theatrical audience react to the film. Creating venues for this event that are attractive and conducive in location and facility, with high-quality projection standards and good audio. Receiving intelligent, sensitive, knowledgeable feedback — as we have, with R&R.

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

The FF entry process is smooth and simple, the contacts are constant, and alerts are generally timely. Managing the film’s assets is straightforward.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Anything my partner Joey cooks for us. Or in a quiet restaurant, with nonvocal jazz or classical background music and cherished friends, talking about important stuff and laughing.

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

Determining if the legs of this short film are strong enough to support the production of a companion short script, maybe expanding it as an episodic.

Strong enough to carry us whole; we’ll only manage another one of these with strong wind at our backs!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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