Interview with Filmmaker Rylee Rosenquist (FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING)

Directed by Rylee Rosenquist
The everywoman story of a girl’s first time putting a tampon in.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
In film school they teach you to make the film you want to see. It honestly shocked me (and still shocks me!) how little there is in the popular media about tampons, periods, and the physical and emotional complications of having a vagina. I wanted to make this film so I could feel seen and hopefully help other people feel represented who have had similar experiences. I was also inspired to use this film as an educational tool to help those who have no idea what the first time putting in a tampon is like understand a little bit more, even if it made them uncomfortable. (It was very exciting putting a bunch of bloody tampons on screen.)

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The entire process took about six months, which is a pretty quick turnaround in my opinion! I was lucky to have many helping hands on board every step of the way.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Bloody and rockin’.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
I’m a major perfectionist. The final cut of the film sat in post-production purgatory for a few months until I decided I was done making miniscule adjustments that were only noticeable by me. The film needed to be out in the world for people to see! But that was definitely the biggest obstacle – overcoming my perfectionism to finally get the film out there, warts and all.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was so happy to hear the positive feedback, it covered everything I had hoped for – people relating to the main character and her experience as well as people encountering a story like this for the first time and walking away with a new perspective. I especially loved that some viewers caught onto specific details that I spent a lot of time and care crafting, and acknowledging and appreciating them even if they were small!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I’ve always been a creator. I loved writing stories growing up and at age seven I started my journey with children’s theatre, which helped that passion blossom. Continuing my theatre education in high school helped me realize the dreams of making art and telling stories I’d had as a kid could actually be a reality, something I could make a career out of. It was around that time that I solidified my goals and knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, though I’d say I probably knew I wanted to make films since I was six or seven years old inviting friends over and forcing them to act in a movie I’d thought up.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 Keira Knightley version, of course). There was a time during quarantine in 2020 that I watched it multiple times in a week, including twice in one day. It’s a comfort film for sure and a beautiful one at that.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Helping promote my films and getting more eyes on them is huge, and I absolutely love the feedback component this festival provides. Another big thing is providing networking opportunities that can help newer filmmakers like myself make connections and get a foot in the door.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway is super user friendly and has been very easy to navigate. It makes researching festivals fun and digestible and is a great way to discover festivals you may not have found on your own. I’ve loved it!

10. What is your favorite meal?
My boyfriend is an amazing home chef – his seared scallops with a cauliflower purée are to die for!

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m taking a brief hiatus from working on films. I just graduated from film school this past May and was pretty exhausted! So for now, I’m just focusing on the festival runs for this film and a short documentary I made during my senior year. I hope to begin my professional journey in the industry within the next year or two, likely as a PA or other entry-level role at a production company, but I’m exploring lots of options as my interests expand!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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