Filmmaker Spotlight: Interview with Nicola Rose
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into filmmaking?
I grew up in Florida and Maine, and now I've lived in NYC since 2008, minus a few years in Paris and one in Boston. I took a sideways step into filmmaking from being a professional puppeteer, and from directing indie theatre. I think I'm most in my element as a filmmaker. I haven't looked back at any point.
Why did you make your film?
In the Land of Moonstones is based on a story by my dear friend, the French author Tania Sollogoub. With her blessing, I stole her childhood and made it into a film. I just thought the story was incredibly touching, and I had to make it.
What was your favorite part about making the film?
Hands down, working with its two lead actors, Natalie Keating and Rand McAvoy. They were only 11 and 12 years old at the time, and just incredible. The chemistry between them when they came in to audition was extraordinary. It was as if they'd known each other for a hundred years. I've never seen anything like it before or since.
Moonstones was only my second film, so I was still very much flying blind as a producer. My memories of the nitty-gritties have gotten vague and muddy over time, but I remember not understanding how to plan for limited hours of daylight, for example. I took on all kinds of tasks I should have delegated to others, such as production design. I'm not a production designer, which I learned the hard way. In fact, my crew all pitched in on the production design for this film, for which I'm very grateful. That said, I've since learned to hire professionals.
What did you learn while making it?
How to work with intelligent, intuitive actors. Besides the two young leads, supporting actress Valeriya Korennaya (who also appeared in my next film, Gabrielle) is one of the most natural actresses I know. In a way, they made my job easy. But in another way, they kept me on my toes, thinking at all times about what (relatively minimal) work I'd need to do next to shape their performances. All three transformed into their characters so immediately, it was only ever a matter of fine-tuning.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the film?
Well, it's a story of first love, which is such a vivid time in everyone's life. So I have a pretty good idea, from talking to people who've seen it, of what they'll take away. Nearly everyone who's seen it (in festivals, for example) has come up to me afterwards and told me very specific memories from that most vulnerable, in-between stage of life when they were 11 or 12. Again, that's credit due to my friend Tania, who wrote the original story. Pretty much everyone can relate.
What are you working on next?
My third film, Gabrielle, is currently in festivals, while my fourth film, Biff & Me, is in post-production. I'm in the middle of re-writing a screenplay that I hope will become my first feature.
Where can we follow your work?
My website is nicolarosedirects.com, and you can find me on Instagram at @nicolarosemce and @gabriellemovie.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I'm so happy Female Voices is featuring this film. Mid-length films are not the norm, so anytime they get airtime, I'm happy.