Interview with EARLY RETIREMENT filmmaking team

Directed by Michelle Bossy
A 30-something year old man, on the heels of a breakup with his boyfriend, moves in with his parents who live in a 55+ adult community. Through confronting his own insecurities and examining family relationships and dynamics, he’s able to move forward.

Interview with –
Director: Michelle Bossy
Writer: Susan-Kate Heaney
Writer: Peter Sabri

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Director Michelle: I was very excited to work with my friends Pete and Sue-Kate. I loved their writing, the storytelling, and the opportunity to put Pete in a great film.

Writer + Actor Peter: Sue-Kate and I wrote a feature that we’re trying to get made and a friend suggested we extrapolate something thematically and apply it to a short as a calling card for the larger project. I’d been lucky enough to work with Michelle before and knew she’d be great fit and a huge asset to the film…and off to the races we went.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: Peter Sabri and I have known each other since college (I won’t say how long that’s been!). We’ve always been close and I’ve been close to his family, and we wrote a feature together called What We Build inspired by his parent’s love story in Italy, and Pete’s life and family experience. We wrote this short as a proof of concept for our feature, and I was extremely interested in telling a story about the LGBTQIA experience, family dynamics, and self-love.

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

Writer + Actor Peter: About six months

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: We were so lucky to have Michelle Bossy as our director, making the process quicken with the amazing crew she hooked us up with! It was less than a year from start to finish.

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

Director Michelle: Generational dissonance.

Writer + Actor Peter: Breaking through.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: other than the title ;)… Family Dramedy

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

Director Michelle: I think the biggest obstacle was that we were working with a modest budget, but we had big dreams. We were asking a lot of favors on this. I think the production value is high and the end result is something I am extremely proud of.

Writer + Actor Peter: The biggest obstacle for me was the limited budget and the learning curve as a first-time producer.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: We shot everything in two days (and miraculously pretty much stayed on schedule!). We were all so relieved that everyone was healthy and able to shoot and that we could create art as we were all venturing back out into the world again.

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

Writer + Actor Peter: I was impressed by how insightful and thoughtful a lot of the feedback was. It also felt so satisfying to hear that the themes we were trying to get at in the movie were coming across.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: I was impressed by how thoughtfully everyone watched the film!

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

Director Michelle: Well, I’ve been directing theater for about 20 years, but making films is newer to me. Approximately 6 years ago, I saw a lot of my collaborators working between theater, and film and TV, and it was really exciting. I thought at the time, I think I can learn the skills to do live between these mediums as well.

Writer + Actor Peter: I’ve always wanted to be an actor since I was a kid. A lot of my early experience was theater based, but I’ve always loved movies and have been lucky enough to work more steadily in that medium. What continues to impress me about film is the collaborative nature of it. It truly takes a village of people lending their individual talents to make the collective whole.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: Oh my!!! My whole life I’ve wanted to act, write and create stories. I’m one of those classic cases of the five-year-old putting on little shows and creating comedic characters. I can’t remember NOT wanting to have a life in the theater/film/tv world!

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

Director Michelle: The Wizard of Oz.

Writer + Actor Peter: Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, I think? Haha. There was a Summer as a kid I watched it with my cousin every day. We were obsessed.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: Casablanca, or The Wizard of Oz (twins, Michelle!)

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

Director Michelle: I think events to come to, including screenings, are very helpful. Also meeting more producers would be very helpful who are looking for this kind of content, as this film is a proof of concept.

Writer + Actor Peter: I think feedback is huge component as well any sense of community the festivals can help create. Generating any sort of Q&A so film makers can connect with their audiences as well as film maker events are so helpful. Ideally, as in our situation, any opportunity to help connect the dots to producers/companies for the larger project goals would be ideal.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: Panels are amazing, and networking opportunities as we would love to find producers for our feature!

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

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: Wonderful! FilmFreeway rocks!

10. What is your favorite meal?

Director Michelle: A lobster roll.

Writer + Actor Peter: A dish of pasta.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: OH MY! Sugarfish (albacore belly sushi) for the win!

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

Director Michelle: My latest feature NOBODY’S HOME is about to hit the festival circuit. I have three features in development. I also just wrapped filming on a short film, and have another short I’ll take on this summer.

Writer + Actor Peter: Next up is our feature where Alex goes to Italy and retraces his parents love story through his own journey of self-discovery.

Writer + Prod. Susan-Kate: My short Buster, Baby (which won the Jury Award for Best Short Short at the Cannes Short Film Festival) can be seen at various festivals and here: I’m pitching various comedy projects. In terms of next steps for our short, Peter and I are looking for producers to get our feature made! If you liked the short and are a fabulous producer, please get in touch!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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