What was the inspiration behind Boomerang? The story of the “turbulent millennium” is a storyline that many can relate to, but you’ve also been listed as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30s, having clearly (or seemingly!) found your niche.
Boomerang is a love child of Frankenstein, based on several experiences, which has been carefully constructed. We pulled snippets from my own life, my co-author Sydney Steinberg, and our friends. Lockdown has had an effect on all of us, no matter who you are or what you do. We’ve all had to juggle life’s responsibilities while coping with fear and anxiety, mopping up errands, and navigating Zoom calls. I didn’t have the 30th birthday party I dreamed of, instead I felt like Little Edie in gray gardens sandwiched between my parents, worried that the isolation will never end and this will be my new normal. Although our specific experiences may vary, we are connected to our larger shared history of going through it together. This story is our love letter to everyone who hosted family or was hosted by family during this time, especially if that family drove you crazy… which is a lot of people. In his heart, Boomerang is about complicated family relationships and how life can be deeply fun, even in its most serious moments. A heartfelt, funny, timely and relatable story about an entire generation of people who were forced to relocate and suffered arrested development.
You described the writing process as cathartic. Do you hope that watching the film will generate a similar experience?
Absolutely. What we’ve all been through is traumatic, bizarre, and ripe to turn some of our collective pain into art. We could all use a little levity and a laugh these days. Some of my favorite movies are comedies about complicated times in life like Mrs. Doubtfire, what about Bob& Gros Pointe Virgin. I love this genre and that’s why I tend to make films with a similar tone. Like Judd Apatow It’s 40 or Jonathan Levine’s film 50/50. I think it’s because I believe humor is a great way to process difficult experiences. I’ve read studies that say laughter activates hormones that boost your immune system, which can help fight disease, so you could say laughter is Actually Medication. Many people who watched Boomerang said it touched them because it reminded them of either their own experience or that of friends. They relate to some of that and that makes me happy because that’s what we decided to do, to make people feel less alone. It can be the rocky mother/child relationship, the unspoilt teenage bedroom, or the long-term dysfunctional marriage, whatever it is, it’s something specific that the audience connects to. I hope this film will help people understand what we have all been through. As this pandemic continues to unfold, hopefully all we can do is use our donations to make these times meaningful. And laugh. We can’t forget to laugh.
In addition to an all-female cast, you also had many women behind the scenes in the film, a move that reflects Dances with Films’ embrace of diversity and inclusion. Could you talk about the personal importance of having female representation in all aspects of your set, beyond just the screen?
Boomerang is about a woman’s journey and it was written, directed and produced by women. Our film has three fantastic actresses who are hilarious, extremely talented and smart – Marin Hinkle, Sydney Steinberg and Kaitlyn Tanimoto. My partner in crime and producer, Katie White, is a fierce leader, a great collaborator, and a badass Sundance Institute graduate. We discussed the importance of DEI from the start and built our production team with this in mind. My assistant director, Leslie Bellows, is a smart, wonderful, stable leader who ran our set beautifully. We hired some young USC students as production assistants. It was nice to look around the room and see so many women on set. The collaboration was transparent. I’ve been on panels and spoken to young women at schools and conferences around the world because I’m eager to share my leadership and negotiation experience in hopes of helping and inspiring the next generation. . I am an active participant in the Women’s Steering Committee, within the Directors Guild of America, where we promote diversity through networking events, screenings and seminars. Inspired by my mentor, director of the DGA and now Madam President of the DGA, Leslie Linka Glatter, I am committed to supporting women, increasing their visibility, creating career opportunities and advancing it.