Meet the Filmmaker: Jane Shepard, “Earning the Day”

Earning the Daywww.Jane-Shepard.com

Q: How do you feel about being selected to participate in Colorado Independent Women of Film?
JS: It feels absolutely wonderful! I am so glad to have a chance to share my work in Denver, and very grateful to the CIWF for selecting it.

Q: What are your hopes for the event?
JS: Love party!

Q: How important is it to focus on regional women filmmakers?
JS: Regional festivals are the only way you’re going to see a pure, rich assortment of women’s film work. Because parity in the film world, for women and people of color, is still not in sight. And even if you have a woman directing for a major film studio, chances are the script has been selected by a patriarchal system. So if you want a point of view, or an aesthetic, other than a white man’s, you’re going to have to go and look for it. And it’s here.

Q: Who would enjoy attending the festival? Is it just for the filmmaking community, or is there a reason why non-filmmakers should attend?
JS: Virtually everything we see from the major studios is born of white patriarchal viewpoint and aesthetic and values. So if you want to discover anything other than that, take yourself out to festival that gives voices to anyone else. You’ll discover a whole wonderful new horizon.

Q: This is the 8th year of CIWF. Do you have a favorite memory of the festival (or screening at The Bug Theatre) in years past?
JS: This is my first year at the Festival. But I got to share the preview of EARNING THE DAY at one of the Emerging Filmmaker Nights. And Patrick Sheridan said, “Bring it back when you’re finished, we’ll screen the whole movie.” And to be given that vote of faith helped me to see the film through to its finished state.

Q: Tell me briefly about yourself and your film/project.
JD: I’m a professional screenwriter and playwright. And I’ve been making film since I was 15. My stories often touch on the human journey. Especially in learning about yourself, because that’s a heroic journey. You have the potential to change your own life’s trajectory.

EARNING THE DAY came out of a period of my life when I was looking at my own self-criticism. It was really holding me back. And I wondered what those voices thought they were doing, surely in some way, they thought they were helping me. And it turned out to be true, that those self-deprecating voices often want to keep you safe by keeping you from going out and taking chances. So they just make you feel like shit. And I wondered, does everybody realize this? Because we all criticize ourselves. Do we all realize that what those voices are saying is not a truthful reflection that you’re worthless, but is your psyche’s tricky way of keeping you safe?

I felt it was like living under a Drill Sergeant that’s telling you to keep your head down in the mud, in order to train you to stay safe. But at some point the training ends, the war ends, and you should be allowed to raise your head out of the mud. And those of us that harangue ourselves, well, our drill sergeants never learned to step down.

So! That really inspired me to do the film. There’s so few movies that address self-criticism! And it’s so, so very common. Every single person I told about the film instantly understood. And I felt like the idea of having this woman’s self-critical voices exist physically was just fabulous, funny way of showing what’s going on in her head. What a fun way to talk about a serious subject!

The other element of EARNING THE DAY is that I wrote it when digital video was just coming out, and I wanted to see what all d.v. could do. So I wrote some very imaginative scenes, a lot of special effects, to really have some fun technically as well as the theme. I figured out how to do the effects when I wrote it. It was very hard work and the most fun thing I ever shot.

Q: Tell us one unique thing about you and/or your movies?
JS: I don’t believe film has to be hugely expensive, and it’s a sin what our society wastes. So one of the ways I keep costs down is to scadge from dumpsters. FOR EARNING THE DAY, I found all the lumber in the garbage, as well as lots of props, set pieces & costumes. The cereal man’s costume, under the cereal, is a car seat cover.

Q: What else are you working on?
JS: I have a collection of my short pieces in publication called KICKASS PLAYS FOR WOMEN that has done very well (productions in Germany and Wales opening this month), so I’ve just finished putting together a new collection for print. And I’m completing several feature-length scripts that I intend to produce here in Colorado.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JS: I’m listed on IMDB, Wikipedia and my website is www.Jane-Shepard.com

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about Colorado Independent Women of Film?
JS: I can’t wait to meet you all!

Earning the Day will screen Saturday, May 19th at 4:00 p.m. at The Bug Theatre.