NRFF Interviews Hedda Needs Help

Hedda Needs Help

Movie  14 min  Comedy



*Nominated for Best Comedy Film

Hedda Needs Help tells the tale of Hedda, an aspiring poet and undying optimist, tasked with watching the most prized possession of Manhattan’s acclaimed poet, Albert Stein: his dog. But when Hedda accidentally kills her big break we find that no one fails quite like Hedda, as she carries the weight of her problems around Manhattan in this all too real comedy gone awry.

1. Hi Lisa, congratulations on your nomination for Best Comedy at the LONDON 2017 New Renaissance Film Festival. How does it feel to be part of our New Renaissance.

We’re so excited to be part of New Renaissance Film Festival, especially since it is our first festival in the UK and our first official screening outside the US, so we are hoping that it makes everyone laugh and it’s well-received. We have heard overwhelmingly good things about the festival, so just being included was an honor and then, being nominated for Best Comedy, both of us [co-writers Malin Barr and Lisa Baron] almost imploded on the spot. Our number one objective with this film was to make people laugh, so that nomination has been a real milestone for us. 
While we wish we could attend and meet all the other filmmakers, we will definitely follow the festival throughout the event and hope to be there another year. Malin went to a performing arts college in the UK, Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom, so being in this UK festival is connecting her back to where she started and it means a lot.  

2. ‘Hedda Needs Help’ is a fun story written by Malin Barr who also stars in the lead role. Can you tell our festival audience what the film is about, and how this creative partnership with Malin came about?

We actually met solely through this script. The early drafts of Hedda Needs Help were first written by Malin, and a mutual friend introduced us since we had such similar senses of humor, in hopes that Lisa could be, more or less, a soundboard for some feedback. Lisa was just going to give some notes back on the script, but once we started talking our ideas started snowballing and our collaboration was really natural. Suddenly, we had fallen into co-writing roles, and eventually, the many other roles we’d take on, but we’re so happy to have written and created our first short film together. We hope to make many more in the future!

3. Where was the film shot and how long did it take to produce?
The film was shot entirely in New York. Some locations in Manhattan, as Mr and Mrs Steins apartment and the veterinary office, while the dog park was shot in Brooklyn.The film was written, funded through a, about $12,000 Kickstarter campaign, and shot, within an 11-month time period. We exited post-production at 15-months. 
We were lucky to have such amazing backers and a supportive community during the pre-production process. Of course, that included family and friends, but the outside contributors and press really surprised us. We collaborated with companies and organizations like THINX, Women & Hollywood, The Laugh Factory Chicago, The Real Woman, and a bunch more! It was a quick process, thanks to a lot of hard work, and a strong interest from people around us.

4. What was the most challenging aspect of making the film and the most rewarding?

Post-production for us was the most challenging aspect, because we really wanted to make certain festival deadlines and we had to move though the process very quickly. We had to go rely on intuition to make decisions rather than having the opportunity to play and view different options. In general, for any filmmaker, finalizing a cut, or making a decision on something that you know you could perfect for weeks, we imagine those things will always be hard. As somewhat new filmmakers, we struggled with that, definitely. Regardless, we finished with something we really love and made our deadlines. There’s something really reassuring in know that we are able to do that as well. 
Truthfully, the nomination for Best Comedy at New Renaissance FF has been really rewarding. Receiving our Kickstarter goal and feeling that support from our community, was almost so humbling it made us nervous. We truly wanted to make great use of the resources and the opportunity we were given. We respect this festival so much and have heard such good things. Receiving recognition, in particular within this genre, it really means a lot to us and hopefully we’ve made our community proud as well. 

5. Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker? What films and filmmakers have inspired you?

Lisa: My brothers still make fun of me for watching so much Full House when we were on vacation as kids. One could easily say I did that because…”I was as active as a sloth”, but I’m going to turn that to, “I always knew deep down stories moved me.” Honestly, I have my Masters in Spanish, because I was going to a Teacher until I started studying Spanish films in my M.A. and then, eventually moved to NYC and got involved with Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop. I started Acting and eventually, made some poorly produced YouTube videos, which I still think are funny despite what the view count tells me, and fell in love with writing. Somehow, that got me here, into Directing.

I always say, the movie Garden State by Zach Braff is the reason I want to be Filmmaker. Growing up, it really changed the way I saw certain people, relationships, and how I viewed myself. Frankly, it clouds my mind for days after I watch it, because I just can’t wait to watch it again. If I can make a movie that affects others 1/4 of the way that Garden State does to my psyche, I’ll be a happy gal. 

Malin: I grew up as a dancer and realised I wanted to be an an actress about 5 years ago. As a writer and filmmaker, my interest started right before I started writing the first draft of Hedda. I was tired of going in for auditions for films and projects that I didn’t like the script /role of and /or didn’r respect and decided it was up to me to write and share my own stories. This has opened up a new world for me as an actress and a writer and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.


6. What are your plans for ‘Hedda Needs Help’? How have audiences responded to the film so far?

Malin has screened as an Actor in several films before, however this is our first film that we’ve created in festivals, so we are learning a lot and taking things step by step. We hope to screen at more festivals and eventually distribute the film, but for now, our next goal is to have our NYC screening back in NYC in late Fall/early winter.
We’ve had limited audiences so far, since we’ve only screened a number of times, but the feedback has been positive and often similar, that it’s a funny film, and we are really proud of that. To us, that was our objective, we wanted to take several themes that we related to as women and weave them into the film in a really light-hearted and quirky way that didn’t take themselves too seriously. For example, Hollywood always portraying women’s sexuality as this last resort weapon that defeat any enemy or showing our millennial generation running around without any consequences. You get to see Hedda play with these ideas and just, fail. People seem to appreciate that. 
7. What’s next for you?
Lisa: I work Admissions for a Performing Arts College in NYC by day, and I’m currently working on my “Garden State”  as referencing the above question. I’m in the process of writing a feature film. 

Malin: I’m working on a couple of other writing projects, a comedy pilot as well as a feature film. I’m hoping to also write something that takes place in Sweden soon. As an actress, I have a couple projects coming up in film and also closest up, I’m performing in a play, The Resolute, at the Whitney Center of the Arts Theatre Festival in Wyoming this Aug-Sept.

8. Do you have any final words you would like to share with our audience?

We hope to meet everyone in the festivals and if you see Zach Braff, let him know that we are looking for money based on how often Lisa promotes Garden State. 
FRIDAY  18/08/17     BLOCK F    11.30 am – 1.00 pm


Hedda Needs Help



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