Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: A SWINGERS WEEKEND director Jon E. Cohen
By Jason Whyte
Posted 12/01/17 03:19:09
"A SWINGERS WEEKEND is a sexy, smart and funny movie about what happens when three couples come together for, wait for it, don't try to guess, a swingers weekend! You will laugh, hopefully you will not cry, although some have. Don't worry, for the right reasons. But most of all you will be thoroughly entertained!" Director Jon E. Cohen on A SWINGERS WEEKEND which screens in the 2017 edition of the Whistler Film Festival.
Welcome to Whistler Film Festival! Are you planning to attend Whistler for your screenings?
Thank you! Yes we are, we will be there will bells on. And some clothes. We cannot make it to the second screening unfortunately.
Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and how A SWINGERS WEEKEND came about!
This is my start! I have worked in the industry for many years in production and development. But writing and directing has always been the goal. After many spec scripts and projects that never quite emerged from Development Hell, writing partner Nicola Sammeroff and I decided to write something we thought we could produce ourselves. Then came the little task of pulling it off.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee are we talking about here?
Interestingly enough we are not talking about that much coffee, turns out it gives me heartburn. What drives you is the dedication to the medium, it's hard and there are sacrifices to be made, but if you are truly dedicated you lay it on the line and make it happen. For the record, I think the heartburn issue coincided with making this film; wait, do you think they could be related?
All projects are challenging in many ways, some more than others. What was your biggest challenge with A SWINGERS WEEKEND and when did you know you had something?
My biggest challenges were a very tight, ambitious shooting schedule and my own inexperience as a filmmaker. I had only made shorts before and nothing terribly ambitious. The jump to a feature was a huge as was the learning curve, but it had to be fast for obvious reasons. We were shooting the climax scene between characters Dan and Lisa, when I called cut I said to myself that this may actually be good. I let audiences be the judge!
I am about to get on the technical side of things, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie, your relationship to the director of photography and how the visual design came about!
Director of Photography Rhett Morita and I discussed the overall look of the film as soon as we could. I said I wanted a certain look which he fairly quickly told me I couldn't have because of our limited budget. I imagine this happens a lot in independent film. We would need to manage with what we had. We also sat down a couple weeks before principal photography to go over my shot list and storyboard the most difficult stuff. He was very gracious with his time and I am not sure our budget allowed for much if any prep. He came to the color timing, etc. This is what you want from your DP on an indie, they need to be really invested. I think the end result speaks for itself, he somehow strived for the intended bigger than what we have Hollywood look and we came out on the other side with something approaching our intentions.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Whistler?
I love the audiences. I want people to see the movie and to frankly discuss it with them afterward. Different audiences react differently based on demographics, geography and so forth. So it will be interesting to see and hear how the Whistler audience responds. And it doesn't hurt that it's screening in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
After the film screens here, where is the A SWINGERS WEEKEND going to show next?
As I write this I am not sure but we are working on a US festival premiere.
If you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?
The Grand Palais in Cannes. Because it is a grand palais!
What would you say or do to someone who was being disruptive at a screening you were attending, even if it was your own?
I would judo chop them on the back of the neck thereby knocking them out. I would say JUDO CHOP as I did it. Or, I would politely ask them to stop.
What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business as a piece of advice?
For god sakes man, don't do it! Just kidding, sort of. Actually I would just, just do it but Nike may have a problem with that. But I mean it in the literal sense, you really need to do to learn and grow as a filmmaker.
And finally, what is the greatest movie you have seen at a film festival?
The greatest movie I have seen at a film festival. A SWINGERS WEEKEND! I must say I have not been to that many film festivals.
Read my review of this film and many others playing at WFF this year in my preview article by clicking HERE!
This is one of the many films playing at the 2017 Whistler Film Festival. For showtime information, tickets and for other general information on films and events, point your browser to the official website at whistlerfilmfestival.com!
Be sure to follow instant happenings of Whistler Film Festival on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a photo or two. You can also follow the festival Instagram Stories at jason.whyte!
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com