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Meet the 2011 LA Film Fest Filmmakers | “You Hurt My Feelings” Director Steve Collins

Meet the 2011 LA Film Fest Filmmakers | "You Hurt My Feelings" Director Steve Collins

John, a nanny to two adorable toddlers, is pining away for his ex-girlfriend Courtney, who’s recently become involved with the jovial Macon, who just wants everyone to get along. Over the course of a year the three fall in and out of love with one another, form tender, surprising relationships, and get to know each other almost as well as they get to know themselves. Director Steve Collins returns to the Los Angeles Film Festival with the indescribably charming and beautifully rendered story of a love triangle that’s as much about friendship as it is about romance. With kindness and warmth, Collins and his actors so perfectly relay to their audience every moment of absurdity, joy, and pain their characters experience that, in the end, they feel almost like family. [Synopsis courtesy of Los Angeles Film Festival.]

“You Hurt My Feelings”
Directed By: Steve Collins
Producer: Anish Savjani
Screenwriter: Steve Collins
Cinematographer: Jeremy Sauliner
Editor: Steve Collins
Cast: Courtney Davis, Macon Blair, John Merriman

Responses courtesy of “You Hurt My Feelings” director Steve Collins

Your movie: In 140 characters or less, what’s it about?

A melancholy ex-boyfriend becomes a nanny to prove to his girlfriend that he’s ready to have children.

OK: Now tell us what it’s really about.

It’s about patching into the honesty and beauty of children, and nature as a cure for emotional wounds. I know that sounds heavy, but there’s also some humor in it.

“A meditation on being in the present…”

My background is pretty unremarkable; I’m the son of a doctor in the suburbs, and I am and have always been a real ninny, so my small trials felt like epic battles. I have always loved movies from the first particle of movie light on my eyeball. I remember watching Star Wars and forgetting I was in the theater. I did not have to think; I could just be inside this world.

For someone who worries and gets trapped in their head, movies can be a kind of meditation on being in the present moment. I don’t think I would have articulated it like that then, but watching, making and teaching films has helped me understand myself and my place in the world. What more could you ask out of a medium?

“I just changed the names…”

My first daughter was born around the time I was going through a troubled period. Having something so objectively beautiful before me when I was feeling so bad shook something in me. She was the catalyst to get myself together, and then once I was through it all I did what all writers do: I just changed the names to my friends’ names, wrote a script, and made believe it was all about someone else.

“I would have had a diaper changer on staff…”

The most difficult work was finding the right size crew to maintain the intimacy and nimbleness required to shoot with children. We were a crew of 4. I was directing and parenting at the same time, taking my kids on location scouts and making sure my kids went to the bathroom before they went to set. At the end of one failed take, my daughter shit her pants. We were running out of light and she was fighting me as I was changing her. I thought I was going to lose my mind. If we were bigger, I would have had a diaper changer on staff, and I could have been sipping a latte, collecting my thoughts, but you just can’t do this kind of film with a 20 person crew.

What’s next…

I’ve got a passive aggressive comedy called “The Garden” about a yoga center in chaos, a psychological romantic comedy thriller called “Stage Fright” about a substitute elementary school teacher who’s terrified of children, and I’m also writing a comedy about sad professors based on my experience teaching in a small liberal arts college in Connecticut.

Check out these prior participants in the Los Angles Film Festival, courtesy of SnagFilms [Disclaimer: SnagFilms is indiewire’s parent company]
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