A perfect partnership. From their first feature film, Approaching Union Square to their latest feature How He Fell in Love, filmmakers Marc Meyers and Jody Girgenti have gone the distance, creating beautiful, original, heartfelt films, all while nurturing their partnership as husband and wife. This talented duo joins us today to talk about their work and relationship, creatively and personally.
Hi Marc & Jody. Thanks for chatting with us today. I'd like our readers to get some background on both of you before we jump into your current projects. Tell us a little about what you do.
Jody: I have a varied background in TV, film, and more currently also in branded content. My love of storytelling is what threads it all together. I consider myself a creative producer. I love developing material, bringing the pieces together, and ultimately sharing work with audiences.
Marc: I'm a writer/director and producer. Jody and I have been partners for about a decade. I'm originally a playwright and started turning some of my one acts into short films. That then led to feature filmmaking. I also started in entertainment working at the IFP and later at Variety. And I make a great mango guacamole.
It's challenging to work with anyone, let alone your spouse - how do you keep things positive and moving forward? Is there a good cop, bad cop scenario?
Marc: We share a similar sensibility and aesthetic. We're both interested and gravitate towards more naturalistic, character-driven material.
Jody: Our creative connection has always been part of our relationship. That's not to say we don't have our moments of tension.
Jody: But it all ends up working.
Marc: Because I get final cut.
What's the most challenging and most exciting parts about working in independent film?
Jody: The most challenging thing is getting a project started, getting other people to see your vision early on. And, of course, the current economics of indie filmmaking are crazy.
Marc: But you have to have faith that what you're doing has value, and keep on pushing forward. I love writing, but then just as much working with actors to create something richer than my original intention, and the whole collaborative process is exhilarating.
Jody: The entrepreneurial nature and creative autonomy of it are equally painful and full of promise. It's what draws you back in each time. It can disappoint for sure, but then fulfill you beyond measure.
What are your thoughts on the sheer volume of content being created and competing for distribution spots? And do you still believe in good ole' fashioned theatrical release for lower budget films?
Marc: That includes us, so I think it's good. Who am I to say there's too much. You just hope and strive that what you create connects. To that point, we aim to make a film like our new one How He Fell in Love that'll be seen in a dark theater, strangers siting elbow to elbow.
Jody: But I don't think that's the be all end all. Having some theatrical is nice, of course, but VOD is so important for independent films, and I hope will be quite meaningful for How He Fell in Love ahead...
What are two of your favorite films of all-time?
Marc: Just two? A Place In The Sun, Scenes from a Marriage, Husbands, Amarcord, Late August Early September are some of my ultimate favorites. I've also seen Drumline like over ten times on TV, so there's that.
What's your favorite Miramax film(s)? Why?
Jody: There Will Be Blood. I loved the combined spareness and richness of it - the performances, the music, the sets, the pace of it.
Marc: Yes, and then, Pulp Fiction, No Country For Old Men, My Left Foot - the craftsmanship of the filmmaking, the performances and stories, and simply that you can re-watch them and even though you already know the end, they're still captivating.
Pulp FictionI Want To Dance
Pulp FictionNobody Ever Robs Restaurants (Opening Scene)
No Country For Old MenMilk Man
My Left FootThe Clinic
What do you have going on at the moment?
Jody: We're in post-production on How He Fell in Love, which we shot this spring. The film stars Matt McGorry and Amy Hargreaves. It's a sexy relationship tale. We're excited about it.
What project(s) are on the horizon?
Marc: There's My Friend Dahmer. It's an adaptation of the award-winning graphic novel of the same name. The story centers around Jeff Dahmer during his senior year of high school. There's a few other scripts in various stages, too...
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?
Jody: Go out and do it. There are lots of different ways you can enable yourself to actually make a film. Be resourceful. That goes a long way beyond dollars. And be true to you. Authenticity overrules the bullshit you'll surely encounter.
Marc: Having a loyal, creative partner is critical. For us, it all stems from having each other to figure it all out. I'd also look for a way to be mentored. It comes organically from the people you're around who have more experience, and that guidance can really help.
How can we watch your films?
Lastly, I need each of you to tell me a random, little known, possibly embarrassing fact about you that not many people know.
Marc: Jody can burp the alphabet.
Jody: Marc ran in the Penn Relays in High School.
Marc: That's right, I did. In the 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
Jody: Running the race is what matters.
Thanks for joining us, Marc & Jody - we'll be on the lookout for more How He Fell in Love news. Best of luck to both of you!