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  • Writer's pictureCine Review

LOVE BEYOND DREAMS. Interview with Jeremiah Kipp, film director.

CR: "Love Beyond Dreams" How did the "love" with the film's producer Simin Vaswani happen, how did you meet? Was she specifically looking for you as a director for her film?

I had always wanted to make a dance film, with movement as an extension of the characters and their wants, feelings and desires. Simin and I were introduced through our director of photography, Dominick Sivilli, who thought we would make a good match. From the moment we met, I felt a kindred spirit, which is what you really need on a project like this which is so personal to Simin. I wanted to tell her story, and was open to putting myself into her world - I think the open-hearted sincerity of my approach is ultimately what made Simin choose for us to collaborate as writer-producer and director.

CR:  What is Simin like as a producer-hard or loyal, demanding or giving everything to the director? Did you feel comfortable working with her?

Simin is the perfect combination of a willingness to try anything and a commitment to the themes that are coming from her huge heart. We're both demanding when we need to be, because both of us care so much about the aesthetics and the way the images are used to tell her story. Mostly, the feeling is one of shared responsibility and commitment to the truth in the work. That's our true north.

CR:  Why did you agree to direct this film? 

While I was deeply enthused about making a dance film, I was even more excited about the central scene in the movie, where Simin's character looks into a painting and explores what could be a past life. Whether you want to believe in that fantasia or not, the scene spoke to me as being about the way the spectator meets the art halfway - it's very much the.same when you finish a film. It no longer belongs to you, it is for the audience now. And that pivotal scene was about the way the spectator looks at artwork and sees themselves reflected back in a new way, with newfound experiential awareness. 

CR:  This is Simin's third short film. And with each film she shows her amazing skills as a producer. While in her first film the location was a castle and two actors, in her third film the location is a large fine art museum and 10-15 actors. In all her films she hires a professional crew as well as professional choreographers and composers. Please tell us how many days the shooting took? Were there any difficulties during the shooting.

There are always difficulties, but you have to lean all the way into them if you want to make discoveries. When things go "wrong" on a set, it's almost always something to listen and react to, indeed to roll with, and often by following the river the outcome is better than you could have presupposed. I don't specifically remember challenges in this film because they folded into discovering a new shot, a new way of looking at a moment, and in that sense there were no accidents. Just opportunities, every moment. I think the entire shooting schedule for this project was 3 days, but there was a timeless quality to the schedule, the way you can't tell time whe. you are in the middle of a dream. Even our assistant director, who doggedly monitored the shooting schedule and kept us on track, would agree that there was something fluid in the making of these scenes. 

CR:  What contribution do you feel you made in directing the film?

I listened and was completely open to Simin, since the story comes from her. I allowed the camera to respond to the actors in the dancing and in the drama. And I appreciated that they understood the importance of rehearsal, where you can find those nuances in advance and set yourself up to capture them on set. There are no accidents. 

CR:  What moments in the process of making the film did you enjoy?

I enjoy all aspects of the production, because I live inside of. them fully when I'm doing them. Preproduction, rehearsal and script analysis is like detective work. Shooting is like cooking, you're preparing the meal, you're using every ingredient, every cast and crew member, gently guiding them and empowering them. And editing is like writing again, rediscovering your movie, and rediscovering it again and again through music and sound and color grading. Movie making is a huge part of my life, and I seek out those elevated experiences over and over again. With Simin, we greatly enjoyed playing in that arena together. 

CR:  What is your filmography?

Unlike the magical world of fantasia in LOVE BEYOND DREAMS, most of my films have been horror movies. But I always thought of them, and Simin's movie, as fairy tales. There's enormous drama in Hansel and Gretel, which if viewed through a social lens is about two starving children abandoned by their parents in a lower class world, and it enters the magical when they find a witch. My first feature, THE SADIST, was a killer in te woods movie, and my sixth feature SLAPFACE was about a monster befriending a little boy with tragic results. I've been lucky that horror is a marketable genre, and thankfully the critics responded to SLAPFACE by giving it a 91% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences responded when it sold all around the world, and the investors responded when they made their money back!  I like telling strange stories with great actors, where the genre is subverted by the storytelling. Simin's film does that as well -- it's a dance film, a fantasy, a fairy tale, maybe a time travel story in some ways, and ultimately it's about relationships, love, family, making art. 

CR:  What are your future projects, if you can talk about them?

I'm completing another monster movie now called THE SAFETY GAMES which is really very much about that writer Jerry J Sampson's childhood, and we are getting ready to secure a streaming deal for my latest feature THE GEECHEE WITCH set in the culture of the Gullah Geechee, descendents from Africa who reside in the islands and Low Country of Coastal Georgia. Making a film in their community was deeply rewarding. I can't wait for people to see it. And of course I look forward to continuing to work with Simin on her feature length version of LOVE BEYOND DREAMS, where we can paint on an even larger canvas and the scale reflects the immense passions of the characters across time.

CR: Great! We also can’t wait for the release of your film THE GEECHEE WITCH and, of course, we will already be waiting for the feature length version of LOVE BEYOND DREAMS.

Jeremiah, thank you for the interview. See you in Cannes in May!

Director’s Bio

Jeremiah Kipp is a filmmaker based in New York. His directing credits include the award-winning horror SLAPFACE (Shudder Original; AMC+), the HP Lovecraft inspired BLACK WAKE, DRAW UP AND STARE starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, DON'T PICK UP starring Keith David & Kathryn Erbe, and the Chinese-American co-production BREAKING BADGES. His latest feature THE GEECHEE WITCH, shot in Savannah, GA and steeped in Southern Folklore, was theatrically released in February 2024.



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