I know we have talked about this before [click
here and here], but do bring us up to speed: Your upcoming movie Eyes Upon
Waking - in a few words, what is it about?
After two suicide attempts within a week’s time, Taren Foley is unhappy
to find herself alive in an emergency ward. How
do you help someone who is suicidal to have the will to live?
start by changing the stigma of depression! "You make it safe to
discuss this subject with others and not keep it locked up inside."
Upon Waking is
inspired by a true story about one woman’s struggle to come to terms with
her own existence.
Waking is a very personal movie, its subject matter hits very close
to home - care to elaborate?
Upon Waking is
a passion project, told from my heart, about the disease of suicide and
how it is misunderstood by society. This film uncovers the darkness
in the minds of those who suffer from their emotions, yet shows how light
can be found with the right kind of help. Those who are lost to us cannot
be returned - I know this too well because 18 years ago, I tried taking my
life twice with in a week.
One of the themes of Eyes Upon
Waking seems to be "Depression = Press On" - could you
explain that a bit, both in the context of your movie and of real life?
I know this is a tough subject to discuss and at times tough to watch because
it is 85% true. Since trying to take my life, I have decided to no
longer see things in a negative light. I try find ways to turn
negativity into something positive. People see the word depression and
automatically associate it as something sad and hopeless. I see the word
and gather strength because a lot of people that suffer from this are very
intelligent, loving and creative. They just happen to have a chemical imbalance,
effects them in a much different way than others that don't suffer.
are the challenges of bringing Eyes Upon
Waking to the screen from a producer's point of view?
where do I begin? I can't speak for other producers because each project
is a challenge in its own way. For me, from the beginning, I have
had a numerous amounts of support from friends, family and
strangers, but that does not necessarily get it on the screen. It
takes a good amount of money to not only make a film, but to make a
quality film to reach a wider audience. As a producer you need to be
conscious of the spending and allow yourself to compromise
without affecting the outcome. When I started this film I was
hoping to raise 2-5 million. After we started filming, I realized for an
independent film, as long as you have a stellar script, amazing cast and
crew on top of an amazing message, you don't need to necessarily spend
that kind of money for big named actors. That it is wise to cut back
and concentrate on making the best film you can for what you do have.
So long story short, getting the financing needed is my only challenge.
The rest just all fell into place.
far as I know, parts of Eyes Upon
Waking are already filmed - so what has already been shot, and do
talk about the shoots so far!
We have about 60% shot so
far, leaving us with just 12 days needed to complete. The footage shot so
far consists of the opening of the film, all our flashback scenes and
footage with some of our supporting characters. We still need to film
our other two leads and introduce the audience to our comic relief Carlos
along with the ensemble cast. I'm looking forward to the last two
weeks of shooting because the heart of everything and humor is yet to be
revealed. You can watch our progress on our website
have everything from behind the scenes footage to character breakdowns,
PSA's, coverage, still shots, personal notes from strangers sharing their
stories and all our links to social media (Facebook, Twitter,
As you're playing the lead
role, so essentially yourself, in Eyes Upon
Waking - what kind of a challenge is that, really, and have you ever
considered having Taren played by someone else?
screenplay asks the viewer to go through a full process with the lead, who
changes significantly over the course of the story. Just as Taren rejects
any sympathy or support from others at the beginning of the film, the
authors refuse to soften her nature to draw the audience to her side. It
is only when Taren begins to develop empathy for others that the viewers
can develop empathy of their own for the character, creating a mutual
learning curve that becomes the true spine of the narrative.
When I started interviewing others for this role, I would ask the
actor if they ever had thoughts of suicide or tried taking their
life? The majority said they have not, that they felt this was the
role for them because it would be a great challenge. I quickly realized
that the only way to give this role and film true justice is to play it
myself. Relive it! There are a lot of non-verbal actions that I felt
an actor could not relate to if they have never been in this
situation or suffered from depression. As far as approaching it as an
actress, the only challenge was to make sure I stayed out of my head.
Once I just allowed me to be in the moment, the rest came organically.
Also, it was not until I started filming that I finally realized why I
tried taking my life in the first place. It has been a great release for
you tell us about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
picked them all myself. All my characters except for one actually existed.
The actress who is playing my Maria was a huge first win. I felt she
would have been more of a challenge to find because I wanted someone
with broken English in real life. A good friend recommended Rosa
Frausto to me and once I
had her read, right then and there, I knew that not only did I
have my Maria, I knew this was all finally coming together, that this is happening.
My second challenge was finding an actress that could play my younger
self. I was producing a short film called The Stray and got to
work with a young Zoey Diaz - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5050729/.
She had just finished filming the Katy Perry music video Wide
Awake where she played the young version of Katy. At that time I
felt she was too young, but the longer it took for us to shoot here scenes
the better the timing was. Zoey was the right age and for someone still
young, she nailed every scene! I feel so fortunate to be
working with such strong, talented actors that are out there working
regularly in television and film.
currently running a fundraiser for Eyes Upon
Waking - so do talk about your campaign for a bit!
We are currently running our campaign on IndieGoGo through August
ALL FUNDING is put towards making this film! We have over 100
items to choose from (Jewelry, purses, clothing, houseware, luggage and
electronics) that have been donated to help us reach our goal. The
great thing about this campaign is you can GIFT an incentive, you can
donate to the film but give the perk to someone else. So if your looking
for a birthday or holiday type gift, we can ship out the item you
chose right away (except for the DVD, screenplay and other that needs to
wait till completion of the film). All T-Shirts will be ordered once
the budget's in place, what's the schedule, and any idea when and where
the film might be released yet, however tentatively?
only have two weeks left to shoot and we plan on completing in 2019.
We did achieve US theatrical distribution from a reading back in 2013 but right
now I'm concentrating on how we can get this film out there to the
widest audience possible. We already have requests to show to congregations,
military bases and various vet organizations.
future projects beyond Eyes Upon
Always - https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2157090/
Your/your movie's website, Facebook,
IndieGoGo, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
latest trailer from our last two shoots can be seen here:
Our Facebook page has behind the scenes footage (BTS) from our last two shoots
and some edited scenes for viewers to get a feel of what it is like on our
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
were just accepted to team up with From the Heart Productions,
Inc. to have our film, Eyes Upon Waking, under their fiscal
sponsorship (501c3). This is all ready opening up more doors for us.
Goodwill Tucson just let us know that we have their continued support
with gift cards for our wardrobe and furnishings once we go back into
If you are interested in becoming an executive producer and would like
to see our business plan, treatment and coverage, you can reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org
As always from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting this
True Story in hopes to change the stigma of depression.
Depression = PRESS ON