Interviews - Movies

Vaness Parise – Quadruple Threat

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Q.  Are there any recent upcoming projects that you are working on?

A.  I’m working on my next film, which is called Dick and Jane Versus the World, so we’re shooting that in Los Angeles in April.  So, I wrote it and I’m directing it and I’m starring in it and it’s the same thing, I like to have a lot of roles.

Q.  We know that you just came back from Sundance, what was that experience like for you?

A.  Well, I’ve been going to Sundance for seven years now, so the thing that I can say the most about it is that it grows exponentially every year.  I love it, it’s so full of creative people, there are not only great filmmakers and actors but, there are also amazing musicians.  So, it’s just very inspiring to me to be around creative people and also I feel like I know so many people and apart from being specific you run into everybody, so it’s actually nice, I like it.

Q.  Were there any films that you saw there that stood out to you?

A.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t see that many films because if you don’t have a pass, which you have to buy for a lot of money ahead of time and usually companies buy them for their employees, it’s very hard to get into the movies on the weekend.  Especially since I was only there for a long weekend, so I saw my friend’s movie and I saw another movie, which was decent.  But, the ones I really wanted to see were completely sold out.

Q.  Kiss the Bride is coming out on DVD, what made you want to use part of your own life for this movie?

A.  I think because I have been acting since I was very young and then I tried directing by making a short film and I had an amazing experience and I decided that I wanted to do it again as a feature.  So, I set out to start writing and I had never experience that before and I met with many different writers and a lot of them, most writers will tell you to write what you know.  My experience growing up I thought was very different from most people’s in that I came from a very, very strong Italian tradition in a small town in Rhode Island called Westerly where the Italian traditions are so strong and especially the focus of the family.  I wanted to capture that in the film, I think that everybody relates to the family and that we all have our dysfunctions, which we hopefully can laugh at and underneath it all love each other.

Q.  Was the movie Kiss the Bride actually shot in your home town?

A.  Part of it was shot in Rhode Island and part of it was shot out here in Los Angeles but hopefully you think that the whole thing was.  When we showed it in Rhode Island everybody thought it was Rhode Island and it was supposed to be Rhode Island so that’s good.

Q.  I noticed that one of the characters from the fake cop show in the movie was named Lola Parise, is that a nod to one of your family members?

A.  Yeah, that’s my mother, that was when I was editing I thought that it would be really cute to put that on there never even thinking about it.  So many people have noticed that, it’s really funny.  She doesn’t obviously look like the woman, but she’s very, very beautiful and I love her very much.  See, my whole family helped so much in the movie, she was helping cooking and just being there to support me and my dad was there and my brother did the music for the film and also plays part of the film. There is a lot of family support and presence in the film.

Q.  What is your most memorable moment from filming Kiss the Bride?

A.  I think that the most memorable moment was actually the first day of shooting and I drove up to the set with my producer and the production manager was already on the set.  She had a walkie-talkie and we drove up to the set and she said “the director has arrived on the set, the director has arrived on the set,” and I looked out and I was so excited, there were so many memorable moments though.

Q.  How were you able to compile such an amazing cast of actors for this project such as Talia Shire, Alyssa Milano, Johnny Whitworth, Brooke Langton, Burt Young, etc.?

A.  That actually was not the hardest part of making the film, although people seem to think so.  Really it’s just the script, I sent the script to, I picked actors who I thought were right for the roles and I sent the script to their agent.  Then I just got on the phone and tried to call everybody and I called their agent. Then I tried to call anyone who knew anyone who knew their agents or managers or knew them personally to see if they could put in a call saying that I was intelligent and organized and would do a good job as a director.  So, but really it was just going through their agents and the agents passed me along to the actors and the actors responding to the script and meeting with me and responding to me and then jumping on board.  We made the movie for half a million dollars so the actors made very, very little money so everyone really did it because they loved the project.

Q.  Was it difficult wearing all of those hats as director, writer, producer, actress?

A.  Definitely, but fun, I like stress so I really appreciate having the opportunity to do all those things which is why I am doing it for Dick and Jane Versus the World.

Q.  Is there anything that you haven’t tackled yet in your career that you’d love to take on?

A.  I just want to continue to do bigger and bigger movies that reach more people and hopefully bring more light into the world.

Q.  We heard that you are developing some television projects soon, why did you decide to make a change from movies into television?

A.  I’m not making a change, I’m doing both simultaneously and the thing I like about television is that it’s much more immediate gratification.  This movie Kiss the Bride took me four years and that’s a very long time to work on one project, the next one won’t take as long but I presume it’ll take a couple of years.  Where television you know make a show and it airs and then you make the next show and it airs and you get to see the results much more quickly so that’s pretty sweet.

Q.  We read that you help tutor underprivileged kids, why is that so important for you to do?

A.  Because, I feel like especially in America that we really do have the opportunity to realize our dreams and of course it’s more difficult if you are underprivileged.  So, I want to help and do help in any way that I can, to at least help these kids realize they can be what they want and give them some sort of hope or light or guidance. I find that it does make a really big impact on them.

Q.  Is there anything that you would like to say to people who are fans of your work and supporters of your career?

A.  Tell them I need them desperately and to please spread the word, especially with this movie it’s such a grassroots movie and the publicity is grassroots so anything anyone can do word of mouth wise that could help spread the word.  It’s been such a long labor and I really want people to see it so I really appreciate their support.

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