Ana Garcia Abad’s amazing film Olivia will get its New Jersey premiere at the New Jersey Film Festival this Sunday, January 27, 2013 at Rutgers University. Here is an interview I did with Ana about her film.
Nigrin: Your lovely short film Olivia focuses on a 13-year-old girl who suffers from narcolepsy and is bullied by her class mates and peers as a result. Tells us a bit more about your film and why you decided to make it .
Garcia Abad: I have always been interested in this unconventional disorder and the way that it works. I loved this story because it shows a really troubled age, adolescence, but in a really special way combining the real situation of narcolepsy but with the fantasy and magic of dreams. When I was researching about the disorder I contacted that National Association of Narcolepsy in Madrid. I met the Director of the association in person, who also suffers from Narcolepsy and Catalepsy too. He told me about his personal story and other people’s stories in the association. At that moment, I realized how incapacitating Narcolepsy and Catalepsy can be. They feel really misunderstood by society because of the ignorance surrounding this condition. As unbelievable as it can seem, many of the patients are portrayed as lazy, and people around them have a tendency to think that this disorder is an excuse. There are cases of children and teenagers that are bullied at school and made fun of like my character Olivia.
Olivia is obviously a fantasy in the sense that the audience can be transported to the dream world of the characters. I wanted to stay truthful to the actual disorder and the social situation of these patients, like the incomprehension from others, the loneliness, and isolation. The story is also about hope and acceptance. Olivia turns her disorder into a power, which is the ability to step into other people’s dreams.
Nigrin: The lead actor Laci Kay who plays Olivia is terrific. Tell us more about her?
Garcia Abad: Working with Laci, Sarah, and all the other actors, was an amazing experience, definitely one of the best of my life. They really trusted me and gave so much of themselves for this movie, they really compromised, and worked hard to bring my vision to life. I will always be so grateful for their engagement and hard work, not just during the shooting (that was 8 days long) but for all the acting and dancing rehearsals. Most of the girls, like Laci, were not trained dancers so they had to learn from scratch. They went day after day, practicing and practicing to do the best job. We really had so much fun, we laughed a lot, and also cried when everything was over and we had to say goodbye. I can only say that I feel really proud of having Laci as my Olivia.
Nigrin: The costuming and cinematography production values are amazing. What was the budget for this film and who are some of the people that helped you realize it.
Garcia Abad: We had a really good team working in this movie. My Producer, Sole Uriarte did a fantastic job because this movie was really challenging in the sense of budgeting. We had 15 actors, a lot of kids, 8 locations, crazy sets, costumes, and the total budget was under $25K. Every department: production design, cinematography, costume, make up, music, sound design, visual effects, color correction, even graphic design and packaging... they were all very creative, talented, and they understood how to bring this movie to life. We had a long pre-production and post-production schedule with every department, in which we talked about the dream sets, the colors, the textures...so everything was planed in extreme detail.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Olivia Olivia will be screened prior to Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey on Sunday, January 27, 2013. Here below is more info about this screening:
Olivia - Ana García Abad (Toluca Lake, California)
In this stunning short film, Olivia is a 13-year-old narcoleptic girl who is constantly bullied by her classmates. However, her luck changes when her disorder brings her an unexpected power: the ability to step into other people's dreams. 2012; 15 min. With an introduction and Q+A session with lead actor Laci Kay!
Lost Child: Sayon's Journey - Janet Gardner (Princeton, New Jersey)
A deeply moving film about a former Khmer Rouge child soldier, who now confronts his childhood experiences during Cambodia’s darkest hour, when he witnessed unimaginable evil, and struggled to come of age. Sayon Soeun was abducted at the age of six by the Khmer Rouge, and later adopted by a loving American family. After more than 35 years, he recently made contact with brothers and a sister he assumed were dead. This documentary follows his journey to heal, as he works to forgive the family that let him slip away and to forgive himself for his complicity in a genocidal regime. 2012; 79 min. With an introduction and Q+A session by director Janet Gardner and producer Sopheap Theam!
Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick will be providing free sandwiches prior to this screening!
Sunday-January 27, 2013 - 7PM
Voorhees Hall #105 (Near the corner of George Street and Hamilton Street), 71 Hamilton Street/College Avenue Campus, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Information: www.njfilmfest.com or 848-932-8482