Eyes upon waking is about a troubled woman who must come to terms with her suicide attempts while spending several days in a holding facility. Timothy Zwica is the director of Eyes upon waking. Zwica hails from Chicago, IL and currently resides in Austin, TX.
The film has been nominated in the best actress category of Chicago Indie Film Awards. Jennifer Scott, the nominee of the festival is the lead actress of the project. It was our pleasure to speak to Jennifer about the project and her work as an actress.
What draws you to filmmaking and cinematic language?
I started out on stage and absolutely love live theatre, but once I discovered film I was hooked! The process is not as forgiving as the stage; you always need to be at the top of your game. And I love that however much you plan, when it comes time to film you either get it right or you don’t. That’s where hiring an effective editor comes into play. All acting, no matter the platform, is about emoting the truth. Film is merely one type of emotional journey, which has the benefit of reaching a wider audience.
Do you believe in film schools, or does making a film teach you more than school?
After producing my first feature from start to finish, and comparing the price of higher education to the cost of getting a film made, it’s easy to think you’re better off skipping school and learning on the job. That being said, there are so many things to gain through film school that will help you throughout production, including the connections you make in classes and the invaluable experience of collaboration. I’m an old-school moviemaker, so it saddens me film students are no longer taught to work with actual film stock. We were offered free 35mm stock and use of a camera for Eyes Upon Waking, but I could not find professionals in my budget who knew how to load the film. Those with the training for film stock are worth the cost of their niche skills, but our small independent production simply couldn’t afford the expense and we went with HD. I intend to make another feature on film, with the budget to hire an experienced and knowledgeable 35mm camera crew. And as filmmakers, when we have a project we believe in, we will find a way to get it made, and made our way. With or without film school, or even actual film. That is what artists do.
Does cinema stand out for you more than other forms of art?
All arts are important; film is simply its own medium. Cinema allows me to truly escape into the world and characters of the film, which is the experience I’d like to bring to an audience with my own films.
Why do you like to make films, and where do you see yourself in the film industry in ten years?
When I have a well-written screenplay in front of me, the magic begins the minute I start putting together the production. I go to a movie theater to escape -- to get lost in the storytelling, whatever the genre. I want to do the same for others with my films, and in ten years would love to be continuing my work as an Actress, Producer, or Director...maybe all three!
Do you consider yourself an Indie Filmmaker? What is the most difficult thing about being an independent artist?
Absolutely!!!! Limited time and money are always the biggest hassles holding back indie films, yet you have so much more freedom in telling the story you want to tell. As an artist I am compelled to complete the project without compromising any aspects of the story, performances, or the look and feel of it, but as an independent filmmaker I will always figure out how to get the job done on the budget I have.
What is the distribution plan for your film, and how are you planning to reach a wide audience?
I started promoting my film the minute the script was finished 12 years back, so I’ve built up quite a following in that time. Now that the film itself is ready, and continues to be accepted into festivals worldwide, I plan on attending as many as possible to help spread the word. I would also like to do a road show, visiting cities where people who’ve supported me through this journey will get a chance to see the results of our combined effort. September is National Suicide Awareness Month, thus a very suitable time to have this discussion, and we have been invited to show Eyes Upon Waking at schools, military bases, and churches. Ideally I would like to obtain theatrical distribution, both domestic and international, prior to showing my film online.