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SXSW Women Directors: Meet Samantha Futerman – ‘Twinsters’

SXSW Women Directors: Meet Samantha Futerman - 'Twinsters'

Samantha Futerman is a Korean American adoptee from New Jersey. She attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City and graduated from Boston University in 2009 with a BFA in Theatre Arts and Anthropology. In 2011 she moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her career. Her feature film credits include “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “21 & Over.” She can also be seen on Showtime’s “The Big C,” and Comedy Central’s “The Kroll Show.” After her extraordinary experience of discovering her twin sister, Futerman felt compelled to share her story and fell into the role of director by happenstance. She served as co-director [alongside Ryan Miyamoto] and producer on “Twinsters.” (Press materials) 

“Twinsters” will premiere at the 2015 SXSW Festival on March 15. 

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

SF: “Twinsters” documents the story of Samantha Futerman and Anaïs Bordier, identical twin sisters who were separated at birth, raised on separate continents, and reunited via social media.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

SF: It is my own story! I am Samantha Futerman, the American twin. I began documenting the process from very early on and couldn’t stop. It was like a snowball that kept getting bigger and bigger every day.

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

SF: Logging the footage. I was so sick of staring at myself and another person who looked like me for hours on end. By the end of the process, I didn’t even want to look in the mirror! That was difficult, but documenting my own story while going through such an incredible experience was the biggest challenge. It was also the most rewarding experience and eventually became almost therapeutic.

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

SF: We want people to come out of the theatre thinking about adoption, family, and connection in this contemporary world that we live in. We live in a world where people constantly bash computer technology, saying that it is disconnecting society and ruining the way we interact as human beings.

But for me, it has given me the opportunity to have the most real and human connection with a person, the one I share the most in common with and would love to spend everyday with. So I do, via the internet! It’s a beautiful thing to be in contact with family every day, no matter how far away they are.

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

SF: I never considered myself a “female” director until other people starting labeling me as such. Perhaps it was naïve, but I didn’t realize at the time that there was a difference between being a male and female director. Like any director, I would say, trust yourself, tell your story, and surround yourself with a team that supports you and makes sure that you are all telling the exact same story.

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

SF: We funded a lot of our film with two Kickstarter campaigns. As the snowball began to grow, we needed a bit more funding, so we reached out to private film investors and secured the rest of our budget that way. No one wants to have to raise money over and over again.

We were lucky enough to crowdfund and to have enough of a budget to tell our story and prove that we were capable of making a great film as first-time filmmakers. Crowdfunding enabled us to do that, and then our private investment allowed us to take the film to the next level.

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

SF: “Big” by Penny Marshall. It was one of my favorite films as a kid. I never really paid attention to the gender of directors, but when I looked up all the films directed by women, I was so stoked to see one of my childhood favorites on that list. 

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