Interview with Andrew Putschoegl, director of VFF 2014 Official Selection BFF's

Associate Director, Megen Musegades, has a blog dedicated to her love of film, and recently interviewed festival alum, Andrew Putschoegl, to find out about his new feature playing at this years VFF. 

Synopsis:  Kat and Samantha have been best friends for years. When Samantha convinces a reluctant Kat to take advantage of a couple's weekend retreat by pretending to be lovers, they're hoping for some time by the pool and maybe a few good stories. How hard could it be? Instead, they find themselves immersed in an intensive workshop with real couples who are fighting to save their relationships. As the "Closer to Closeness" weekend progresses, Kat and Samantha are made to face their own shortcomings and, by default, begin to believe their own cover story. When the lines of friendship begin to blur, they are faced with asking themselves: could it actually be there is something there or has this weekend just worked a Jedi mind trick on them?

Is this your first feature? This is the first feature that I’ve directed that I really feel is my baby.

How did you come across the script? I had worked with Tara Karsian on our short film, HELLO CALLER, so when she and Andrea Grano were looking for a director for their script, she sent it to me and I fell in love with it.

What drew you to the story? The initial spark for me was the honest portrayal of what it means to be in a relationship. Not just the main characters Kat and Sam, but all of the couples who are portrayed. I think everyone who sees the film will find at least one person they can relate to, if not several.

What were some of the challenges in getting this film made and how did you overcome them? We had a very limited budget and schedule, but those are practically cliché in the independent film world. Some specific examples include the day we found out that our main location had been double-booked on the day we were supposed to return for our second week of filming. There may have been a tearful phone call with the other occupants involved in solving that one.

Another day we were set to film a scene (the only one that was cut from the film, incidentally) on the side of a road in Malibu that were going to guerrilla. When we scouted it everything was perfect. When we showed up to film, we learned that the Jewish World Festival was using it as a parking lot four hours after our call time. We worked VERY quickly. We also had a moment of panic when 21 motorcycle cops drove by our unpermitted shoot. They didn’t bat an eye and just rode past. We realized that when you have an entire crew on the side of the road with lots of equipment, they probably figured we must have had a permit because nobody would be so bold as to try that without one. That was the first of two times that happened on this film. I think we’ve probably used up any karma associated with that for future films.

How long was the shoot? 15 days with a couple of small pickups.

In total how long was the whole process before you started sending BFFs out to film festivals? I came on the project in May of 2012, we started filming in October of 2012, and we started submitting to festivals in earnest around June of 2013, so it was only about eight months from the end of filming.

Click here to read the full interview.