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Astrid Ovalles Interview – ROAD OF BYGONES

14 Apr Posted by in • Jan Miller Corran | Comments Off on Astrid Ovalles Interview – ROAD OF BYGONES
Astrid Ovalles Interview – ROAD OF BYGONES

In the summer of 2016, I held a fundraising event for my film SNAPSHOTS at the Henrietta Hudson in NYC. It was a magical night when support came pouring in from other filmmakers on the East Coast. I was thrilled. Glasses clinking, laughter, photos and then… in walked Astrid Ovalles and her wife Sarah Jo. I’ll get the obvious out of the way. Yes, they are gorgeous. That said, yes, they are two extremely talented women. Upon my return to California I immediately watched Ovalles’ film Camp Belvedere. It is a must-see short film.

Now five years later, Ovalles has just released her first feature film, Road of Bygones. It was well worth the wait. Between brilliant cinematography, riveting story, incredible acting by Ovalles, Sarah Jo Ovalles and Oriana Oppice plus a score from Carrin Tanaka, this film is a feast for all senses. In addition, it is an eye-opening drama that floats to comedy moments you won’t soon forget.

I had the opportunity to interview Astrid Ovalles and want to share her thoughts about the film, her life and her hopes.

JAN:  Road of Bygones unveils a powerful multi-layered story that utilizes BDSM as it’s vehicle. What made you choose BDSM as a major part of your story?

OVALLES:  My wife Sarah and I are in a D/s relationship (domination and submission). When we came out as such a few years back, we received a lot of negative backlash from our own community. There were many people talking about us as though we were sick and needed help. Some said maybe we were abused or had some sort of sickness. It was heartbreaking to be on the receiving end of such ignorance from the same community we were trying to help. In an effort to clear up some of the ignorance around the subject of BDSM, I decided to make a movie that highlighted the positive and loving aspects of the topic. I am not very optimistic when it comes to opening closed minds. However, at the very least, I hope that visibility in the media will help other kinky lesbian/bisexual couples to feel a sense of belonging.

JAN:  We all fell in love with Camp Belvedere (2014) which was my first introduction to you as an actress, writer and director. Which role do you like best?

OVALLES:   I have always been in love with acting. Everything else I’ve learned to love as a   necessity. Although at this point, I wouldn’t give up any aspect of film production. If I had to choose one, I would always go back to acting.

JAN:   One of the highlights of Road of Bygones was seeing you act opposite your wife Sarah Jo. Why did you choose her for the role?

OVALLES:  Because she’s incredibly talented and she wanted to do it. I wanted to have her singing in it too. When I would send her drafts of the script, she would say she could envision “Ally” and knew exactly what her role was all about. Also, being an indie, you always want to hire people you can trust. Obviously, I knew I could trust her to be there and give one hundred percent.

JAN:    It took five years for fans to have an Astrid Ovalles film? What took you so long?

OVALLES:   It took about two years for me to go back and forth between writing the script and promoting Camp Belvidere. Unfortunately, we hit a lot of roadblocks with piracy, and everything we did, we had to do with very little resources. We also are self-funded and have few independent donors, so we had to save up to pay a crew and equipment. That took a lot of time. The biggest setback time-wise was the editing process. We were not able to work with an editor full-time as that would have been way too expensive for what we currently have. So, we were only able to edit the film every other Sunday, which felt like an eternity and is the main reason the film took so long to be completed.

JAN:    What would you like viewers of Road of Bygones to take away from the film?

OVALLES:   I just want people to have a good time. Honestly, I’m not about being preachy and I’m frankly tired of making every piece of art an act of social justice. Although those things are necessary and often required from us artists, what I want most is for people to enjoy a dark comedy. I want the audience to laugh and cry throughout the journey of the women in the story.

I hope that with the recent rise of lesbian filmmakers and capable women supporting each other, we can create a culture of art that represents who we are and allows us to tell our stories and shape our craft on a clean slate. Too often, men in power tell our stories with many discrepancies. I hope that the community becomes collaborative and that in the near future we are able to provide audiences with the quality of content and sophisticated production value they have desired for decades.

Jan Miller Corran is a film producer, screenwriter, playwright and author who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent film is multi-award winning ‘Snapshots’ (2018) which she wrote and produced. In 2019 she premiered her first play in a few decades The Last Word at the Garry Marshall Theatre in Los Angeles. Scheduled to premiere the LGBTQ play The Last Chapter starring Cathy DeBuono in April, the play is postponed until the health crisis ends. Past projects include ‘Anatomy of a Love Seen’, I”ll See You in My Dreams’, ‘AWOL’, ‘Times Like These’, and more. Upcoming will be the films ‘Turn Left’ and ‘Buried Truths’.

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