Meet the 2011 Tribeca Filmmakers | “Angels Crest” Director Gaby Dellal

Meet the 2011 Tribeca Filmmakers | "Angels Crest" Director Gaby Dellal

In the working-class Rocky Mountain town of Angels Crest, young father Ethan (Thomas Dekker) is doing his best to raise his three-year-old son Nate. He has no choice—Nate’s mother (Lynn Collins) is an alcoholic. But one snowy day Ethan’s momentary lapse in judgment results in tragedy, catapulting the town’s tight-knit community into strange new directions as they try to decide where the blame lies. [Synopsis courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival]

“Angels Crest”
World Narrative Competition
Primary Cast: Jeremy Piven, Thomas Dekker, Elizabeth McGovern, Mira Sorvino, Kate Walsh, Lynn Collins
Director(s): Gaby Dellal
Screenwriter: Catherine Trieschmann
Producer(s): Tim Perell, Shirley Vercruysse
Editor: Mick Audsley, Giles Bury
Director of Photography: David Johnson
Composer: Stephen Warbeck
Casting Director: Steve Vincent, Sig De Miguel

Responses courtesy of “Angels Crest” director Gabby Dellal.

The move from actress to director…

The theater was my first real love. As a new mom, acting jobs have gotten harder and harder to do. I lied when I took a theater acting gig when I was four months pregnant with my first child for a play by Stieg Larsson. I kept explaining the growing stomach as being an over eating problem I had to battle with! Then came my second child and third and finally I couldn’t remedy the bit TV parts with the mom I had become (or thought I had become). Because I realized I was so important to these three little boys I felt slightly undermined by the directors and producers I was so beholden to. I began to write a short film and realized that no one else could direct it because they’d get it all wrong! I had to do it and I am afraid I have never looked back. The move from actress to director was relatively pain free. I never believed that I would be able to give up acting but directing has filled that creative thirst.

How “Angels Crest” came to be…

I was sent a copy of Lesley Schwartz s book of the same name and was so intensely moved by it, that I felt compelled to try and make the film. It touches a subject that is both terrifying and fascinating and I believe, deserved a woman’s hand. It’s about parenting and grief.

I worked very closely on the script. I also visualized the film long before I started shooting so that I knew exacty what it would look like so that by the time the actors were involved I had the time to devote to them.


My biggest challenges for this film is the subject matter and who wants to see a film about a subject that haunts almost everyone. I made the lead character younger than in the book because I was intrigued by what a younger father, barely a boy himself meant in the face of such tragedy. Is a young boy less vulnerable than an older man? To be a father do you need to be a specific age? At what point are you culpable? What makes a good parent versus a bad parent in the normal realm of parenting? Do we all, as animals do the best we can? Who is to judge? These are the questions we seek to explore in “Angels Crest.”

Fun and games…

Obviously all shoots are heaped with endless funny stories and nightmares – all part of the creative process really. What will remain with me were the conditions we filmed in. It often got to -30 degrees and at night the cold was even more biting and cruel. The clapper loader while checking the lens setting with a torch in her mouth, got it stuck to her toungue and we could not remove it for several minutes! And whilst shooting in the prison, the camera equipment and the focus puller got stuck in a cell for two hours! The door clunked shut and no one had a key. All fun and games in a very short shooting day.

Future projects…

I am working on two projects at the moment. One set in the south of France with a cast from both sides of the Channel, so a lot of the dialogue will be in French and English. I am bilingual, so I’m excited to make a film in both languages. The other project is set mostly in airports.

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