Dean of Academic Advising at the New York Film Academy, Michael Civille, screened his third feature film, “The Rachels,” at the Los Angeles campus. Civille was joined by actress, Rebecca Stone, who has over fifty credits in shorts, features, and television series. The star of the film, Caitlin Carver, was also in attendance. Carver is set to portray Nancy Kerrigan in the upcoming film, “I, Tonya.”
Finally, Michael Pesa was in attendance. He is the former Chair of NYFA’s Cinematography program in LA and has over sixty credits, including “The Rachels.”
Lydia Cedrone, Chair of Feature Track at the New York Film Academy LA, hosted the evening. She kicked off the Q and A by asking Civille to elaborate on the development of the project.
“I am married to a very beautiful woman, named Hannah,” Civille began. “She is also an Executive Producer and the mother of my children. She works as the Senior V.P. of MarVista Entertainment, and we had talked for some time about wanting to collaborate.”
‘THE RACHELS’ EXCERPT (LIFETIME) from Michael Pessah on Vimeo.
“Finally, this script came up and she handed it off to me,” he continued. “We hired a writer, then she hired Rebecca to shepherd us as a producer. The production came together very quickly. We shot for fifteen days in July and August. We locked picture in about five weeks and then we spent the fall getting it done.”
Civille admitted to only taking about two months off from working full-time to complete the film. He says his secret is, “Work late and get up early.”
That work ethic was present throughout the film shoot. At one point in the evening, the cast and crew began to discuss the dreaded “bathroom day,” referring to a scene in the film that takes place in the bathroom. A tight budget and a single location meant the cast and crew would have to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Stone elaborated, “We were lucky that we found a location for our school that allowed us to move around as needed. Thankfully, we were able to, for example, shoot everything in the bathroom in a day. It was ambitious.”
The rest of the cast and crew quickly chimed in agreement. Civille spoke of 110-degree days and a record-breaking heat wave. Of course, “bathroom day” fell on one of those days.
Carver spoke about her thirteen-page workday, “Bathroom day was one of the most challenging days. Madison, who plays Rachel Nelson, she and I were having the worst time with that scene. I think it was just being locked in a bathroom all day with toilets behind you and there are ten of our crew dudes behind us, and Mike is in there with us… It was a very challenging day. But then, Mike looked at us, ‘Let it go. Just let it go. I don’t care about the dialogue right now. Just let it go.’ And I think it ended up being one of the best scenes in the entire film.”
From all of the stress came an incredibly successful film. “The Rachels” had its premiere on January 15th on the Lifetime Movie Network.