ALMOST ADULTS tells the story of two young women, best friends Mackenzie and Cassie, who face relationship strains as the former copes with her sexuality and the latter deals with the end of a long-term relationship. The Film, brought to life with the generosity of donors via crowdfunding, gives a voice to a generation of Millennials and some of the issues they face in relationships. We had the pleasure of chatting with Director Sarah Rotella and Writer Adrianna Dilonardo on their first Feature Film.
You both have collaborated together multiple times now. Tell us how your partnership came about and what makes you click?
Dilonardo: Sarah and I met in high school in a video class. We began making short films together and haven’t stopped since. I think it’s one of the reasons why we work so well together, because we’ve known each other for so long and have worked together for so long that we are very honest with each other. No one’s feelings get hurt and no one has an ego, we trust each other’s opinions so that we make the best content we can. –
Congrats on being a major crowdfunding success story. Can you shed some light on the experience of getting this story off the ground and made into a polished looking product?
Rotella: Thank you! We knew we wanted to do a crowdfunding campaign right away but were overwhelmed by the support we received. Our original goal was $40,000, which we reached 50% of in less than 24 hours and 100% of in a week and by the end of the campaign we were at 305%. The original goal was to cover our production budget and we were planning on trying for post-production funding once we had shot the Film, but surpassing our goal allowed us to cover everything we needed to finish the Film. We were able to tell this story because there is a lack of LGBTQ stories in Film and the millennial audience that has supported us from day 1 really just wanted to see themselves on screen and see their stories being told.
What was your greatest challenge making the Film?
Dilonardo: For being our first Feature, every step went better than we could have hoped for. We didn’t have any major stumbles or issues during the process. However having said that, being our first Feature Film the entire process was a challenge, as we made the entire Film, along with our Producer Rebecca Swift, by ourselves. We didn’t have any help from a production company, we didn’t get any financial funding (other than what we raised ourselves on Kickstarter) and we didn’t use a sales agent to sell the Film.
We know Elise Bauman (Mackenzie) and Natasha Nevoganlis (Cassie) from Web-series Carmilla. Describe what went behind casting these two actresses as your leads?
Rotella: They were a part of our normal casting process, but it wasn’t until we had them paired together for a chemistry read that we knew we had to have them as Cassie and Mackenzie. They had worked together for a couple years prior, and it really came through in the casting process. They knew how each other worked so well that if someone forgot a line, or improved a line, they could keep going without missing a beat. For two characters who have been lifelong friends, it was a benefit to the Film to cast leads that had started developing a relationship, opposed to casting two leads that we would have had to start from the ground and work our way up.
How much of yourselves do you see in Mackenzie and Cassie?
Dilonardo: I find parts of myself in both Cassie and Mackenzie. Mackenzie is probably the most similar to myself in regards to her sense of humour, her naiveté when it comes to dating and her eating habits. Cassie‘s character and her relationship with her parents is a little similar to mine. My parents aren’t as hard on me as Cassie‘s are, but growing up they didn’t support my career choices, because they wanted me to get a traditional 9-5 job, and be a “responsible adult”. Cassie‘s struggle in wanting to break away from those expectations her parents have on her really connected to me.
Rotella: We have already shot our second Feature Film and are in post-production. The Film is about five struggling actor friends that go away to a cottage for a weekend and while they’re there, one of them books a life-changing, blockbuster role, which in turns brings out everyone’s pettiness and jealousy and begins tearing their friendships apart.
ALMOST ADULTS is available across Canada in all digital and on-demand platforms.