Rose Ganguzza [Interview]
April 10, 2017 Leave a comment
So, last month was the official “Women’s History Month”. And we didn’t really chime in too much. In fact, we mostly talked about a video game. There were women involved with it though! Some damn fine ones too. And then we promptly did a week of white dude writers. And truthfully, we are not ashamed. But, we do want to take some time to focus on some of the amazing females working so damn hard in the entertainment world. Because for us, there is no “Women’s History Month”, because in our world, women are everywhere, and are always doing amazing things. Sadly, our world is not a real as we would hope it to be. So with that, we are continuing the celebration of women here in the month of April, where we are going to celebrate some amazing women working in all sorts of different aspect of the world of film, television, music, and more. And we have a damn fine one for you folks today!
In the world of independent cinema, Rose Ganguzza has been called “The Godmother of Young Filmmakers”. And this would a very accurate title, as she has helped kickstart the careers of some amazing filmmakers, simply by believing in them. And by knowing what makes a damn fine script, which will make a damn fine movie. She has worked with our new friend Sean Stone, so you know she has an eye for talent. She also produced the film adaptation of one of the most bizarre events to ever hit the world of literature, featuring a group of characters who had no idea how greatly they would impact the world of modern literature. I am talking of course about the film Kill Your Darlings. If you haven’t seen this film, first of all – shame! Second of all, you have to see it. Do yourself a favor, read the book And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs, and then watch this insane story come to life in the Rose Ganguzza produced modern classic film. You will not be disappointed.
I truly believe that Rose is the perfect woman to kick off what we are calling “Women of the Present Month”. She is a real powerhouse in the world of film, and has earned the right to be so. And we are so happy to have her join the Trainwreck’d Society family, and thankful she was willing to share a few words with us. So with that, please enjoy some words with the amazing producer, Rose Ganguzza!
How did you find yourself in the business as a producer of some very amazing films? How did you start in the business? And was producing always a passion of yours?
I always liked storytelling and as an undergraduate I majored in English Literature. But by the time I got to Columbia, I was given a fellowship for international affairs, so my reality was diplomacy and my specialty was third world countries.
After I graduated I went to work for the Brazilian Government in trade promotion and soon realized that major multinational companies and banks working in Latin American were not able to repatriate their profits. What I came up with was a way to create debt equity swaps for American movies being filmed in Latin America. This also later led to me doing barter syndication in Latin America for Jim Henson.
What are elements of a project that really speak to you as a producer? I imagine marketability is a thing, but how do you know as a producer when you have found a project that you know you can get behind 100%?
I have a strong marketing background so before I take on a project I think of how it is going to be marketed and who is my audience. Of course, for me, the most important thing is the script and the story. If it is not on the page it is not on the screen.
The art of good storytelling is key. There is no point in the amount of work we have to do to make a film if the material is not of a high level.
I have to ask you about Kill Your Darlings, which was about a time in history that I was very familiar with, and was not let down when seeing it come to the big screen. What made you believe in this project enough to back it? Were you a Beat fan prior to working on the film?
I graduated from Columbia and was particularly drawn to this story as part of the history of my alma mater. The fact that the story had been hidden for so many decades because of the details of Lucien Carr’s case intrigued me.
I am also a student of the history of the 1940s and was drawn to wanting to recreate the period. I also liked telling the story of these young poets before they became famous, when they were just students, having to deal with all the challenges that young people face in every generation. There is a commonality in those challenges.
What are your thoughts on the current involvement of women in the world of filmmaking and film production? Does it seem that the barriers of the “Old Boy’s Club” are being let down at all? On the surface, it feels like we are seeing more women doing amazing things behind the camera, but it’s hard to believe that the gender gap is dissipating, as it has been so detrimental to great talents of the years. So, what are your thoughts on the matter? Are women finally getting the respect they deserve?
I think that women are rocking our industry. In every area of our world women are making their mark behind and in front of the camera. This shift allows us to tell more great women’s stories as well.
My feeling has always been that no matter what your gender you have to work really hard to get the things you want in life.
So, in my mind, it is determination and talent that gets you to the top.
Who are some of your favorite female filmmakers and writers working today that you feel should be receiving much more attention in this world than they currently are?
I am a huge fan of Reed Morano who started as a brilliant cinematographer and is now getting much deserved attention as a director. She is strong and enormously talented.
What would you consider your dream project that you haven’t yet brought to life?
I have a script that I love called Mary Shelley’s Monster about the haunted summer of 1816 and the Romantic Poets. It is told with Frankenstein’s Monster being Mary’s dark passenger throughout her life, who survives way beyond her death. I love the aspect of the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll of the early 1800s and that movement which was a precursor of the Beats and the Hippies etc and produced some of the greatest literature of all time. Just in that one summer, we got Frankenstein and Vampyre, the first Vampire novel.
What do you have coming up that you would like to tell our readers about?
I am producing this spring a film based on a script written by Julian Fellowes. It is about a 16 year old Louise Brooke coming to New York in 1922 from Wichita, Kansas with her chaperone. It is called The Chaperone.
In the fall, I am doing a film called Poms with Diane Keaton, about a cheerleading squad in a retirement community.
I am now filming the movie Fatima, about the 1917 Miracle which happened with the three children in Fatima, Portugal.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
I smile every day at the wonders of life.