Interview with Filmmaker Debra Pralle (THE CAPTAIN’S MISTRESS)

Directed by Debra Pralle
Staging her Connect Four championship comeback, a 30 something sugar addicted has-been faces her greatest challenge – a pre-teen bubble gum chewing alpha girl who takes no prisoners.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Corey and Shea approached me with this hilarious, absurd spoof of the Queen’s Gambit trailer and I just couldn’t resist the challenge or opportunity. As an educator as well it seemed a perfect opportunity for my film students to work as well.

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

It took us 7 months to complete.

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

Sugar parody

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

Trying to spoof a TRAILER is HARD! This was a 6 page script that took 3 days to shoot because of having to recreate all the locations, etc. It’s a shit ton easier to have a complete film and just pick and choose the moments you want to create the tailer. And when everyone is “volunteering” their time while holding down day jobs you just have to be patient and sensitive to their time in post. It took much longer to complete than I anticipated.

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

It was incredible! Honestly,to hear fresh comments and how they interpreted to and reacted to our film was informative and exciting!

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

I’ve been an actor for 30 years and very early in my career on set, I remember thinking “I could do this!”. And where I had the drive and ability I feared I didn’t know how to do everything on a film set (especially the technical aspects) so I didn’t think I was “worthy”. And to be honest there were so few female DP’s, directors, writers I just didn’t see myself reflected. It was only later in my life, after directing a lot of plays, that I realized those same skills were directly applicable – I just needed to assemble the right team.

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

I tend to not repeat views, but I have 2 kids (20 and 15) who I’ve shared shows from my childhood (Jaws, Grease, Top Gun, Poltergeist, Halloween,) and been pretty blown away by their reactions and my fresh (older) eyes on the film. Recently? I could watch Moonlight over and over. It’s a master class. And since I teach cinema history I am always revisiting “Singin in the Rain”, “Rashomon”, “Do the Right Thing”, “Cabinet of Caligari” and the revolutionary “Suspense” by Lois Weber. That Woman was a powerhouse of the silent era!

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

Meeting in person and connecting is key.

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

It’s fantastic! So easy to navigate.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Anything my husband cooks and my kids clean up. With wine.

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

I’m in post with a short drama called “seward” which we hope to push out to the festival circuit soon and I’m in pre-production for a new pilot comedy called “A Broad Abroad” which we are shooting in Italy in April. All cool shit!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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