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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Interview with Fontessa de Ridder

COF: Can you tell the readers a little about "You're Cordially Uninvited"?

FdR: It’s a great short film about Rose, played by Gabrielle Christian, who’s shocked to hear that her parents found out about her upcoming engagement party. She’s been telling them that she has had a boyfriend, Jeff, when it’s actually a girlfriend, Lisa. Together with Lisa she comes up with a plan to fool her parents… or at least she thinks so.

COF: Can you tell readers a little about the main characters in the film, and why you chose the actors used?

FdR: Rose comes from an upscale, traditional family that suffers from a total lack of communication. Lisa is openly gay and has a hard time accepting that Rose denies her sexuality to the outside world. She is excited to marry Rose, but is not about to start a marriage based upon a lie.

After finishing my script, I called Gaby, with whom I had become great friends during the filming of GIRLTRASH: All Night Long. I asked her to read the script and she felt an instant connection to Rose which was great because that was exactly the role I had in mind for her!

In every day life Gaby has a beautiful mix of a strong character, proudly standing behind her beliefs, combined with a genuine vulnerability that makes her so easy to love. Rose needed just those characteristics to come to life in an authentic and moving way.

As for Lisa, I needed someone with the world famous South American temperament! I needed a girl whose choices in life, in all meaning of the words, are based upon emotion, heart and instinct. I spent months casting in both San Francisco and LA, but funny enough I finally found the perfect Lisa with help of a good friend.

She suggested me to audition Jade Catta-Preta, this sexy, witty, Brazilian comedian. I invited Jade for call backs and as soon I put her up on stage with Gaby, their chemistry blew me away! Opposites attract as they say and these two girls are the living proof!

COF: What drew your interest or inspired you to the behind the camera aspects of filmmaking?

FdR: I’ve apparently been writing dialogues and actions scenes ever since I was ten years old! Writing, combined with visuals and music is what my life is about. I can read my morning paper, catch a weird news article and my mind instantly drifts off, creating an imaginary world with profound characters, moving storylines and unexpected twists. Then all I want to do is visualize it. I guess it’s second nature!

COF: What was your inspiration behind "YCU"? 

FdR: I got inspired to write this script after hearing a story from a good friend who had been invited to a party where half of the guests had been informed that it was a lesbian wedding reception, while the other half thought they were attending a birthday party. One of the brides went through all that trouble to hide her sexuality from her family.

I thoroughly researching the topic and discovered that for many LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people, their fear of rejection turned out to be unrealistic. Many of their friends and family responded in a positive, respectful way. That’s exactly what I’m trying to pass on as a message: Don’t underestimate your family, they may just love you for who you are.

COF: Are there any other projects that you are working on?

FdR: You’re Cordially Uninvited is in post-production now, so most of my time goes into editing, sound design, etc. Besides that, I’m writing a feature length script, inspired by a shocking news article that I read two years ago and that I’m turning into a thriller. I’m trying to finish a treatment within the coming months that I will try to produce afterwards.

COF: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the industry? Biggest reward?

FdR: You need to be persistent if you want to make it in the industry. Never loose hope, be genuine and stay true to your beliefs. I had to endure a lot in the first six years of working for Dutch national TV but was finally rewarded with a company that believed in me.

They flew me all around the world to work on their shows and by doing so, helped me find my passion for directing, which eventually led to my move to the US. I think my biggest reward so far is POWER UP believing in me and allowing me to work as a 2nd AD on their movie GIRLTRASH: All Night Long! That experience has taught me so much and I loved every minute of it!

COF: Where can a fan go to learn more about the film and donate to it?

FdR: Fans can go to !! You’ll find more background information and you can make contributions varying from $10 to $1000! Another great way of helping us is by forwarding the link to all your friends and family!

I want to emphasize that even though it may seem as if we’ve reached our goal, you can still contribute!

COF: What are the perks that come with donating?

FdR: You can get signed Thank You post cards, T-Shirts, production stills and even a 5-minute Thank You phone call from Gabrielle Christian! I say: go to and make a donation!!

COF: Can fans donate without wanting the perk?

FdR: Absolutely! Once you hit the button ‘Fund this Campaign’, you’ll be given a choice of whether to stick to the perk or not and whether you want it to be an anonymous donation.

COF: With working on both "YCU" and "GirlTrash:ANL" - do you want to stay in the indie film industry?

FdR: Oh absolutely!! I’ve worked on many TV sets, but film has won over my heart! Working on GIRLTRASH: ANL was like a dream come true! POWER UP is an amazing organization with a great mentorship program and by working on their film set, my love for film has only grown bigger! Now with the completion of YCU coming up, I can’t wait to start a new film project!

COF: More mainstream television is focusing on the lesbian and gay community by making having their main stars either take place in a homosexual relationship or be an out title character, what do you think this means for the future of lesbian/ gay entertainment and for the community all together?

FdR: I’m from The Netherlands, the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage. Therefore, I encourage this development so that maybe one day, the American LGBT community will experience that same sense of acceptance in every day life.

COFDo you have any public social networking sites?

FdR: I don’t have any public social networking site, but I encourage everyone to go to!/pages/Youre-Cordially-Uninvited/145850222128679 and become a fan of YCU!

COF: What actor and/or actress would you love to work with one day?

FdR: Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage. They’re pure, genuine and like chameleons when it comes to playing their roles. I find that fascinating!

COF: What processes do you go through while writing a script, any traditions?

FdR: The only ‘tradition’ I can come up with is that I listen to soundtracks that fit the scene that I’m writing. It triggers my fantasy and helps me find the right emotion.

Questions from Twitter:

COF: What was it like working with Gabrielle Christian?

FdR: I loved working with Gaby! She’s very professional and hardly needs direction. My strategy was to let the actors go and give them a lot of room to improvise and so she did!

There’s a scene in which Rose has an argument with Lisa and all I said to the girls was that they knew better than me what their characters were feeling at that specific moment in the script. We shot the scene in very few takes and every single one of them is intense with true emotions that came from their hearts. Gaby is a real joy to work with!

COF: What is the biggest difference between working on "YCU" and "Girltrash: All Night Long"?

FdR: The biggest difference is that I was responsible for every single aspect of YCU but not of GIRLTRASH. I had to write a script, find the perfect actors and locations, gather a crew and arrange lodging, craft services and transportation. And I shouldn’t forget: I had to gather –and still am- my own funding! On GIRLTRASH I had to make sure things went smooth on set, but I didn’t have to worry about pre- and post-production. 

COF: Besides the one in Seattle what other film festivals are you either doing or hoping to take part in?

FdR: If I’ll finish in time, I’ll submit it to as many festivals as possible this year! Toronto, Cannes, Sundance (next year), Mills Valley, Outfest, Boston LGBT and many more.

COF: Any final words for the fans/readers? 

FdR: I want to thank you all for your support! Many of you have already donated, giving us an opportunity to turn this film into a film festival hit! We’ll keep you updated about YCU’s progress on Facebook and let’s keep our fingers crossed that YCU might be screened at a festival near you!

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