Last week we had the chance to speak with filmmaker Natasha Halevi, and stars Molly C. Quinn and Jennifer Holland of the new horror anthology ‘Give Me An A’ we talk about the difficulties of the quick turnaround of filming this movie. Along with its importance and relevancy to the times we live in now. Hope you enjoy the enjoy the interview ‘Give Me An A’ is currently on VOD.
AJ: So Natasha, the first question is for you. When you were approached for this project, how did you feel about it and what got you really excited to be a part of this anthology?
Natasha: Yeah, so this project approached me really hard on June 24th, 2022 when Roe versus Wade was overturned. So basically I put this project together and gathered an amazing group of women within a week of Roe versus Wade being overturned. So it came to me in a way that was undeniable and it made me stop everything I was doing in my life, like hard stop and start doing something because we can use art to communicate. And it was really important to communicate on the topic of reproductive rights.
AJ: Right. And when you were casting this anthology sequence in the film, how did you go about getting Molly and Jennifer for this as well?
Natasha: Yeah, well, I’ll let them chime in on how that worked out.
Jennifer Holland: I was just going to say, Natasha’s very close to me and Molly as well. We’re all very close, and so we’re all always trying to work together in any capacity. And this was a special instance. And so the person also who directed my segment, Bonnie is a very close friend of mine, and we were excited to work together. It’s all very in the family.
Molly C. Quinn: Yeah. I would be parroting that. I love Tasha and I love the projects she puts together, and this one having such a powerful message behind it. For me, I was feeling a lot of anger and shock at that time with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. So when she came to me, it was really a godsend because I also needed a place to vent those frustrations. So being able to do that in a way that would actually be impactful to other people and give a voice to other people was really a privilege and an honor.
Jennifer Holland: Just to add this, in order to get this project made, Natasha had to find people who were willing to just jump in and do the thing for donating their time, basically. And that’s what everyone on the project did.
Natasha Halevi: Yeah. So that’s really important for all the actors, for all the creators, for every single person involved. So for everyone who held a light, for everyone who ran and grabbed coffee, for everyone who sat through post-production for months and months, everyone cared about this topic and we came together to make this fast. Everyone dropped what they were doing and donated time, volunteered. We begged, borrowed. We didn’t steal anything, but we really, we pushed every limit from how quickly we filmed. We started filming within a month of Roe versus Wade being overturned. This entire thing was shot over a 10-day period across two states in Los Angeles and in Atlanta in Georgia. So every single aspect of it was a push, and everyone was being pushed to their limits and everyone was giving the most of their hearts because this was important to all of us.
AJ: The importance of that overturn in court and doing this project so fast, that had to be kind of excruciating and terrifying as well. And just getting this project done in that amount of time. So how much pressure was on you guys to just get this filming done?
Natasha Halevi: It’s raw. The film is raw. It’s emotional. We didn’t have time to go back and check everything. We didn’t have time to sit with characters for a long time, so everyone jumped in. Scheduling was crazy. Jen flew in from Colorado like hours before filming, I think. So I’ll let Molly and Jennifer speak to that a little bit also.
Molly C. Quinn: Oh my gosh. All the weight was really on Tasha’s shoulders. She was our captain and she was always so cool under that pressure. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, all I had to do was show up and work very quickly with Megan Rosati my director. And to see the creativity they had already put into the set with such limited resources. That was unbelievable for me. So being able to have a creative experience for a good purpose was really awesome. And then I got to leave. So it really, Tasha, it’s incredible what you were able to do and all the directors as well.
Jennifer Holland: Just speaking on Natasha’s behalf and on all of the filmmakers behalves, it’s very difficult. Making a movie, making movie is very hard. Everyone wants to be a critic, but the truth is, making a movie is very, very hard. And you’re never ready to release that thing out there. You’re always going, “There’s still one more thing I could change. I could still like… Ugh.” It’s kind of at some point you just got to go, “Okay, here it is.” And in this case it was that in weeks. And you’re just going, “Okay, well we just got to get it done. So that’s just what we’re going to do.” And everyone just had to set their egos aside and say, “Okay, I don’t care that it’s not ready. I don’t care that… It’s just got to go. It’s got to go out. People got to see this thing.”
Natasha Halevi: Most of these films shot in a day. A very few of them were lucky enough to have two days or a day and a half because the equipment had to move somewhere or be returned or whatever it was. We were really lucky to have some really huge donations for equipment from Keslow Camera, from Panavision. But for Jennifer with her piece DTF, with Bonnie Discepolo directing, they had a day and then a little extra of a day because that was the day the equipment was being returned. So we had a lot of generosity, but we also had to navigate within that generosity as well.
AJ: Have you watched the finished product of ‘Give Me an A’ at all, or are you still just kind of waiting on watching it?
Natasha Halevi: I have watched it about 507 times.
Molly C. Quinn: I think I’ve only seen it three times, but yes, yes, very much have seen it and love it. And I think just from a watching standpoint, what’s really cool about it is every time you watch it, a different short kind of sticks in your mind and you’ll find yourself just thinking about it all the time. And it’s funny because we didn’t just make this for entertainment value, but there is intrinsic entertainment value in it, which is my favorite way of getting any important message across.
AJ: So what was your favorite anthology short in the film? This goes for all of you as well.
Natasha Halevi: Well, I’ve seen it so many times. I just watched it. I’m in Chicago right now and we kicked off the theatrical screenings in Chicago at the Music Box, and it was really beautiful. And I hadn’t watched it in a while. And by a while, I mean a month. And there was a piece that hit me.
This time it was Megan Rosati’s piece that Molly is in, and it hit me while we were watching it in Chicago in a way that made me start crying. I actually left the theater because I was really emotional about it. And it’s okay if I leave the theater. I’ve seen it so many times. I knew what was coming next. And that’s happened with every single one of the films. I’ve laughed at different times. I’ve cried at different times. But what’s really important with I think all the films is that with this anthology it was really important that we keep the quality of the work matching so that there wouldn’t be something that stood out as everyone’s… Or not as everyone’s favorite, but as the best piece or the worst piece, but rather you could watch it over and over and have a different piece impact you.
So they’re really very different, but they all have a same quality because we were using all the same equipment and the same lights, and we had some standards in place across all the films. So I can say today that that was a piece that hit me, it’s called Plan C, last night or two nights ago at our screening really hard. And every single one of those pieces has hit me in a different way at different times.
AJ: Perfectly said.
Molly C. Quinn: What’s the name of the first one? The opening short?
Natasha Halevi: The Voiceless.
Molly C. Quinn: The Voiceless. That has been seared into my memory. The simplicity and the horror of that one really gets me in my bones. Yeah.
Jennifer Holland: I think that, I can’t remember the name of it, but the one that feels like an episode of, I don’t Know, The Last Of Us or something like that. What’s the in the-
Natasha Halevi: Yes. It’s called The Last Store. It was directed by Loren Escandon.
The Last Store of Us. I like that one a lot.
Natasha Halevi: It’s pretty incredible, there are beautiful performances in that. The direction’s amazing. And my favorite sentence is said in that piece.
Molly C Quinn: What is it?
Natasha Halevi: It’s a quote from Martin Luther King, and it’s that “We have a moral duty to disobey an unjust law.”
AJ: Well, everybody, thank you so much for joining us at Infamous Horrors and Infamous Interviews today. It’s been fun, and congratulations on the film.