Written & Directed by Valerie Genzano

A young female tries to keep it together while dealing with her college finals and her mother’s cancer diagnosis from 100 miles away.

Project Breakdown

Nora Ephron, an intern, and a project assignment walk into a blog.

My first week at JTwo felt a little rough for me. I was a little rusty while going through JTwo-U, made some mistakes, and learned things that were totally new to me. I was the last intern to start this summer, so I had to catch up on meeting the others and had to get used to the workflow. Now, by the start of my fifth week, I have found my rhythm. Every morning I visit my favorite coffee shop, and I start the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I have officially started working on a few projects and am now finished the ever feared intern project.

This wasn’t an easy road for me. It took a few tries to get the idea right. When I told Justin I wanted to do a mini-doc, he said, “You and everyone else.” I explained that I didn’t know if I had it in me to do another narrative piece – well, it turns out I did. When thinking up ideas, I turned to my personal hero and creative inspiration, Nora Ephron. Ms. Ephron consistently wrote about ideas she was connected to or had lived through herself. Her greatest inspiration was true life. So, I sat down, and I wrote a few drafts of a narrative piece about my life. (Not my whole life, of course, that would be a really long, boring movie about someone drinking too much coffee and watching a lot of Twin Peaks.) The last month of this past semester, the end of my junior year of college,  someone very close to me was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I go to school a hundred miles away from home, was in the middle of finals, and had no way out. It was one of the hardest times in my life and I wasn’t really sure how to cope.

And so, given this opportunity, I decided to make a movie about a girl trying to cope with her mom getting cancer during finals. Slightly on the nose, but it was an exploration for me of myself and of my situation. On top of ending up with a completed project, I’ve ended up with a better understanding of myself and saw what I was enduring through a different lens than I had seen it through before. The process of filming was difficult, but thankfully I had an amazing DP (@ Maria) and a wonderful actress, Jenna Lam. They really understood where I was coming from and each of them added so much to my first idea.

The second problem I had was that I was too tied to my idea. I ended up with around an hour of footage that I had to cut down to around 3 minutes. My first cut was around 6 minutes long, and after Justin gave me feedback, I bit the bullet and cut it down to around 3 minutes. It’s hard watching some of my favorite shots go, but I think everything turned out the way it was supposed to. I ended up with something that means a lot to me and that I am very proud of. I’m grateful JTwo gave me the opportunity to make this, because I know I wouldn’t have otherwise.  I learned a lot and now I can move on with the new knowledge and understanding of creating and of myself.

Going forward with my internship here, I’m so excited to see what I have the chance to do. I’ve already started working on some assignments here and there, but mostly I’ll be excited to focus fully on doing what I can to help the company. Cheers to the next few months, I can’t wait to see what’s accomplished while I’m here. Until next time!

Meet the Director

Val is an undergrad at Towson University studying Film and Art History. Her focus in film is Producing and Assistant Directing and she has a love for creating experimental films as well as narrative shorts. In the next few years she hopes to attend grad school in Philadelphia and find work in the fields she loves.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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