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SXSW Women Directors: Meet Katharine Emmer – ‘Life in Color’

SXSW Women Directors: Meet Katharine Emmer - 'Life in Color'

Katharine Emmer is a graduate of New York University, where she was the recipient of the Tisch Artistic Achievement Award. She has appeared on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and made her acting feature-film debut in “Puccini for Beginners,” which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. “Life in Color” marks Emmer’s directorial debut. She also wrote, produced, edited, and stars in the film.

“Life in Color” will premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival on March 14. 

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

KE: Out of work and with no place to live, two strangers are stuck house-sitting together. Mary, a recently fired nanny, and Homer, a struggling comedian, soon realize the gravity of their situation and join forces. This odd couple reluctantly help each other overcome the very personal obstacles that are holding them back in life and from each other. “Life in Color” is a grounded romantic dramedy dealing with depression, connection, and finding one’s self.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

KE: I wrote what I knew. I wrote for people I knew and believed in, for locations I could shoot in, and about subjects I am familiar with and wanted to talk about. I was inspired by filmmakers like Lena Dunham who took charge of their careers by creating their own work, and I had this idea about two characters facing similar frustrations I was dealing with: What do we do when we are lost and not happy with where we are in life?

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

KE: The biggest challenge was having next to no money, but that also taught me to be incredibly creative and still get the job done.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

KE: Life is better when shared.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

KE: Join the party! If you want to tell a story, do it. Females make up just under 19% of the directors in my film’s category. It perplexes me why there are not more female directors. There wasn’t any point in making the film when I thought, “This job is better suited for a male.” Find a way to tell a story you believe in. We need to hear your voice.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

KE: My co-star and I made a video/Indiegogo campaign and raised $5K. Additionally, I used the money I made as a nanny to help fund the rest. I asked for a lot of favors, for people to work well below what they are worth — which I didn’t like to do — but it was the only way to get the film made!

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

KE: Julie Delpy’s “2 Days in Paris.” It’s funny, honest, keeps me entertained, and she wore many hats while making the film. I admire that.

Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” I loved the actors Kathryn hired in the film and the performances she captured. Crisp storytelling. That last shot of Jessica Chastain is beautiful. Simple and perfect. 

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