Interview 11 – Dianna Ippolito

The Oscars this year were by far the most diverse I have ever seen – in my honest opinion. It encompassed black, white, gay, straight, women men, and even transgendered. We do have a long way to go, yes, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.

So this weeks interview is with Dianna Ippolito who has written and is directing her first feature film; a psychological thriller called Close Your Eyes, next month, April, near San Diego, California.

View the trailer here:  Close Your Eyes

1.  What was your inspiration for this script?

I’ve done quite a few short films as a writer/director and producer and realized that it was time to make the leap into directing a feature. Making any kind of feature film is difficult, no matter how big or little your budget is. So, knowing that I would have to find investors and do some crowd funding, I wanted to write a script where I would be able to work within a small budget, and not have more than one location. I began to think about what I could do that was interesting, and didn’t require a lot of special effects. With those kinds of constraints in mind, I came up with the idea of a cabin in the woods movie. But not wanting to do a typical horror, I came with an alternative. A psychological thriller that would focus on the characters and the horrific situation they find themselves in.

2. Who are your biggest influences?

As far as influences, I love Hitchcock for his style and suspense, and the films of Krzysztof Kieślowski who was a Polish film director. His film The Double Life of Veronique is very stylized and full of interesting poetic themes. Also Roman Polanski’s film “Repulsion” was a big influence for me particularly for Close Your Eyes. It deals with duality and the descent into madness.

3. Tell us a little bit about how you will show ‘Close Your Eyes”

I will have a screening in San Diego, and do a one week limited run in theaters in Los Angeles. I will then have the film up on all digital platforms, including Amazon.

4. What do you find is the biggest struggle these days as a woman director?

Mostly it’s just fewer opportunities overall for women in the industry. I think the #MeToo movement will begin to change things. There is absolutely no reason to believe a woman is less qualified to direct a film than a man. It’s a creative process, one that requires collaboration, good communications skills and organization. That’s something women do innately, so it puzzles me why this has gone on for long. Decades and decades of inequality for no good reason.

5. What advice would you give to those young ladies who want to write/direct?

This is actually a very good time in history to attempt a career as a female director. Things are slowly starting to change and new opportunities are on the horizon. Lots of women are opening up production companies, more grants are becoming available and there are tons more ways to make a film now with such easy accessibility to digital cameras. I would say, find your truth, tell a story that moves you, and surround yourself with the most positive, hardworking team you can find, who will support you and stand behind you. These people may end up being on your journey with you for decades. Choose wisely and do your best work possible. Anybody can be a mediocre director, but only a few can be great.


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