After dropping out of music school, Vicki drifts aimlessly between her family’s house in Connecticut and an itinerant existence in New York. When her father suffers a debilitating stroke, she has to become his primary caretaker. Vicki resists connecting with him, and making peace with herself, but finds a way forward thanks to a new friend and a life-changing event.
Interview with Writer/Director Victoria Negri
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I made Gold Star really as a gut-reaction to some personal things I was going through. My father suffered a massive stroke, and I spent a lot of time in Connecticut, helping take care of him. I felt trapped by my circumstances, but also terrified by my future. The only kind of control I could perceive taking would be to make a film loosely based on my experiences, to channel it into a film. After losing my father, I made the decision to direct the film, in addition to writing/acting/producing, as I felt such a responsibility to tell the story the way I saw it in my head. I couldn't pass it off to someone else. And I'm so happy I didn't.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You should watch Gold Star because it's an honest film about mourning somebody who's not yet gone, about being a young adult, confused and terrified in watching a parent deteriorate. It's something we all experience, but rarely talk about.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Everyone experiences loss. And more than that, we each cope with loss differently. Mourning comes in phases. We rebel, act out, lash out at people, laugh, cry, and it's a vicious cycle. We often don't know why we're acting the way we are, and emotions are high when you're taking care of somebody completely incapable of helping themselves. Things bubble up and spill out in unexpected ways that are universally truthful.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
The script evolved an incredible amount. I initially conceived of the film back when I was in college to be a road trip movie between a father and daughter, the daughter bringing her dad to a high school reunion across the country. However, after my father's stroke, I changed the film entirely, but kept the core themes of watching a parent age, and a huge generational gap. I believe screenplays never stop evolving. Even when you're on set, you're changing lines and adjusting in the moment.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
People have responded well to the film and it's been very surreal. After our theatrical opening in New York, I had wonderful conversations with people about their own experiences with loss, about saying "I love you" to their parents for the first time, about coping with growing older and getting sick. I hope the film continues to make people feel less alone in their struggles.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Slightly! I thought I was incredibly alone in having a significantly older father and have since met many people with parents who were senior citizens when they were born. That's been something I'm very grateful to discover. And I've also learned that many more people are young caregivers than I suspected. I didn't realize that there were so many other people in their early-20's feeling a big responsibility to help care for a parent, grandparent or loved one.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I would love for more people to watch my film and let me know what they think! The film is available on Amazon VOD/Prime and Tugg for more in-person screenings. The dialogue I've had with people who've watched the film has been wonderful, and I'd love to hear what you all think!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Journalists and people to spread the word!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would love to see it continue to grow, word of mouth to spread and more people to talk about the film and engage with me and other film lovers on social media, etc.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Do children have a responsibility to care for their parents? And if so, how much of a responsibility? How does one "care" for another? Okay, so that's three questions...
Would you like to add anything else?
I'm eternally grateful to everyone who has watched my film and opened up their hearts to me either in person or online. The struggle in completing my debut feature film was great, and the conversations and reactions from audience members has made the entire process worthwhile.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I'm in development on my second feature film entitled ULTRA and I'll be directing a short 2 Weeks this spring in New York City. I'm very excited to continue making films and sharing them with more and more people!
Interview: February 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Vicki, a young music school dropout struggles to make sense of her aimless life while caring for her dying 90 year old father.
Length: 90 minutes
Director: Victoria Negri
Producer: Katie Maguire, Effie Fradelakis, Ellyn Vander Wyden
Writer: Victoria Negri
About the writer, director and producer:
Victoria Negri is an award-winning writer/director/producer/actress. Her feature directorial debut, Gold Star, features Oscar nominated actor Robert Vaughn in his final performance and was released in November of 2017.
Key cast: Robert Vaughn, Catherine Curtin, Jacob Heimer, and Victoria Negri
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Journalists!
Social media handles: @goldstarfilm, @victorianegri
Made in association with: Big Vision Creative
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?
The film can be seen on Amazon and Amazon Prime! And please review, it helps so much!