AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR OF "THE SAINTS OF THE RUE SCRIBE"
Angel Katherine Taormina is a New York-born filmmaker who has been working in entertainment from the age of ten. She studied with NYFA and with mentors and professionals from various other Arts schools. She wrote, directed, and starred in her first film, a children's educational video called "Angel's World", in 2003. Her 2008 psychological drama short film "Guilt" was selected at the San Francisco Short Film Festival. She was also an extra in the films "The Siege" (1998) and "Spider-Man 2" (2004). Angel worked in everything from comedy to drama to live production to documentary and pursued her unique perspectives on life through her storytelling, her directorial style, and her performance in her works. She won an award for the work she did on a documentary, and garnered acclaim for assisting groups in both film and in live production; though her first love was always the narrative story. She poured heart and soul into everything she did until it became clear that the medium of the short film alone could no longer contain her own desires. After making over ten short films, Angel made the decision to begin the journey into a feature film and to continue to find new ways to express her artistic voice. She became the inventor, creator, and author of the Stagebooks series and of Cinétage. She is also the author of nine novels. Knowing that there is always something more to say through a short film, she made the short films "Inspiration" and "Follow the Girl in the Rose-Colored Skirt" in 2015, the short film "Cycle of Art (M.E. in Pixels) in 2017, and the short film "Everything" in 2020. She and her production company, Rose Room Productions, are proud to have "The Saints of the Rue Scribe" as their feature film debut. "Saints" is based on Angel's novel of the same title, "The Saints of the Rue Scribe- Inspired by a True Story and Events," inspired by the true story of Joseph and Marie Charpentier. Angel's credits in the film include Producer/Director/Writer/Editor/Costume Designer and the role of Marie Therese Bellerose Holmstrom Charpentier. Filmography: Listed here on IMDb Cinétage: The Stagebooks Series Novels: The Rose Princess- A Medieval Fantasy, The Porcelain Doll, Oriana, or The Secrets of the Rain, Carving A Life, On the Eve of Maye, The Saints of the Rue Scribe- Inspired by a True Story and Events, Laurina, The Maiden of Myrdine Manor, Evelyn's Orchard, Love Me Forever, Clementine and Olivien, The Anniversary Photobooks: The Love in my Life, My Reality, The Color Within, Without, The Way I See It, and "Collections- A Photobook by Angel Katherine Taormina".
We spoke to the director of "The Saints of the Rue Scribe" regarding her film.
How did the writing of your film start with the script and what inspired you to write The Saints of the Rue Scribe?
“The Saints of the Rue Scribe” was based on my 2012 novel of the same title. I was in love with the story and with Joseph and Marie Charpentier and I knew that words alone could not do their story justice. There was so much I wanted to SEE. So I knew I had to make it a feature film.
What motivated you to make this film and go into production?
I couldn’t NOT do it. It was everything. I was passionate. I saw the opportunity to go for it and I went for it.
How did you find the cast and crew?
For almost ten years, we thought about doing “Saints” as our next project. In between, of course, came about twelve novels, several more short films and documentaries, and all of Cinétage. As far as “Saints” was concerned, every time we’d look into officially starting pre-production, something would come up that would compromise the integrity of the project or make it not work for that moment. So we held off until the conditions were right. Not easy. But right. We knew when it was time. When it was time, we were actually able to find the cast and crew. They were there, they were able to travel, and they were able to work. Danny, who plays Renaud in the film, answered a casting call put out in New York, and then we found out that he lived only a mile from my house in Florida. Grayson- the actor who plays Joseph in the film- was actually the last person to audition for Joseph. Everyone else was cast and we were two weeks away from starting principle photography and all of a sudden- there he is- the perfect fit for Joseph. Out of nowhere. And it all came together. We had a small, revolving crew, equipped to handle the situations and events of each day. We had a solid shot list and scene breakdown. We had a group of phenomenal, hard-working, passionate people ready to give their all for their art. And we had the ability to take the opportunities presented to us to do things for real and succeed due to a combination of preparedness and on-the-fly ingenuity. We filmed in real lightning storms, on a real beach during a real sunrise, and in a real carriage in a real field. And more. It was realism all the way. We found ways to do everything and create a world that was simultaneously real and entirely unimaginable. It was a journey, a badge of honor, and an experience to treasure both for now and for future projects.
What kind of impact does your film have on society?
Movies as a whole aim to make the world a better place for their having been a part of it. The particular impact I would like “The Saints of the Rue Scribe” to have on the world is a positive one- I want it to make people happy. I want them to see that there is light even in the darkest of places and that, truly, anything is possible. Don’t let fears limit you. Be who you were born to be, and live it out beautifully. Live big. Succeed in your goals. Have fun. It’s your life. Own it.
Where do you plan to do further screenings for your film?
When the film was first finished, we had a small, private celebratory event where we showed the film on a big screen in a private theatre to some of the people we were thanked for having been involved in the project. Next up, we’re going to get distribution so that the film can be shown worldwide.
You have been working as a novelist as well. You also acted before on major movie sets. If you had to choose between writing, acting, and directing films, which one would you choose and why?
All of the above. For me, the three are both one-and-the-same and also able to exist independently of each other. For me, personally, because I am a storyteller, the three are one, and each one stems out from each other one. However, I also do enjoy acting for acting’s sake, directing for directing’s sake, and writing for writing’s sake- especially when it means I get to collaborate with other artists who are fantastic creatives in their respective fields.
Either way, whatever I’m doing, it’s going to be creative and it’s going to be fun.
What is the most difficult thing about making an independent feature film?
You have to do everything yourself. There is no plan B. There is no second wave. There is just you. While it may be difficult at times, it also offers the opportunity to be creative in ways you never would have thought of. When it’s not spelled out for you and you really need to think about every detail of every moment on and off the set, you develop your own creativity and come across things you never would have thought of doing. You find ways to do them. You create your own ways. You forge your own paths. And it’s so much fun! And then those things make the film even better precisely because you were in your moment and trusting the experience as a whole. You become the best “you” that you can be because you trust yourself in a position where it’s all you. From there, with that foundation, you can go anywhere. Creative flying. Total freedom. Release. And it feels good. It feels right. And it is.
Do you recommend film schools to emerge filmmakers who would like to break into the industry or does making a film teach you more?
It all depends on a variety of factors. If you never had any experience in filmmaking, then by all means go and learn the basics, and maybe a few nuggets of wisdom here and there- you never know who you are going to meet and how they might influence you in a good way. Even if they influence you in a bad way, it’s always good to learn what NOT to do. But the world is filled with wonderful people and, the more you interact with people, the more you’ll find the good ones. Maybe even friends. Maybe even people who will grow in the industry with you. Filmmaking is about collaboration. So, if you are just starting out and have no background in film, fill your environment with like-minded people with similar goals. For many people, a scholastic environment gives that to them. For others, being thrown into the deep end of the water and being forced to swim from day one is the way. Some people are like that. They need the whole experience all at once and they thrive under what others might call “pressure”. Even there, though, in the “school of hard knocks”, make sure that you go out and make films with like-minded people. You will be collaborating for the rest of your life. It’s in your nature- even if you are a leader. So start now. And, just like with film school, always look for the opportunity to engage with the industry, be a part of it, and grow yourself in it by knowing who you are, doing what you do, and loving the field you’re in and everyone in it and everything about it. Be true. Always. Figure out your personality type and figure out which way works for you. There are no wrong answers because everyone is unique. For me personally, I learned things from the experiences of making films that I never learned in a classroom setting. I suppose it’s just my personality type. I’ve always been a very independent thinker, as well as a team leader, and a passionate collaborator. Even if you are making films, though, the experiences vary. So you might find your first project easy, but then, on your second project, come against an obstacle that only experience and trial-and-error can teach you how to overcome. And you learn as you go, you overcome it, and you’re on your way to being a seasoned professional. And that can happen on any level of the industry. Always be prepared and looking for opportunities to grow and to learn. Always.
What are some of the challenges of distributing independent feature films in this era?
I’m not so certain that they are real challenges. I think of them more as “differences.” “Different” means you must learn something new. Yes, there is a learning curve but, on the other side, it is good because there can be opportunities that could never have existed in the past. And one of those opportunities could be just perfectly right for you.
So, it takes a bit of research but, in the end, I think the industry today is flourishing with customized opportunities for its artists. It’s a new world of what we can all do. And it is very exciting. In this day and age, we have so many new ways to connect with people. It’s all about finding the right way to connect, how to connect, and who to connect with so that you can understand each other on both a business and an artistic level. I look forward to a lifetime of collaborations in new and inventive ways.
What is the next project that you are going to work on?
My next project is going to be an adaptation of my 2019 novel “The Anniversary”. I am thrilled at the possibilities this industry opens for me and I plan to use every resource I can to do justice to the visual version of this story. Without giving away too much of the plot, it is the story of a couple- Jace Hudson and Valentina Vey- whose personal traumas are directly connected to a worldwide trauma. As they overcome their own depression and suicidal tendencies and uncover the truth about their own past, they are better able to figure out what really matters, let go of their pain, and use their experiences to reach out and offer aid to the worldwide trauma so deeply in need of healing. The male lead in this story has so many twists and turns and powerful moments and no-holds-barred opportunities to really shine. I like to let my actors “fly” and feel free to release themselves to the truths of the scenes and of their characters. Whoever gets to play Jace Hudson will definitely have the opportunity to fly.