2013 Bushwick Film Festival Filmmaker Profile: Nick Frangione (Writer/Director – ‘ROXIE’)

ROXIE‘ is the story of two 60-year-old marriage and family therapists going down the rabbit hole of recklessness, seduction and sex. Friends and colleagues for longer than they care to remember, Dave is forever enticing Joel into risky adventures. With Joel’s second marriage failing and Dave perpetually forgetting his own marriage, they take off for a Marriage and Family Therapists conference in San Francisco where Dave convinces Joel that they should hire escorts. It is here that their lives start to unravel. Joel falls in love with the escort Roxie, who has been around a little too long and seen a little too much, while Dave frantically tries to get someone to actually care about him. In ‘ROXIE‘ you will see secrets uncovered, notions of love confronted and friendship tested in ways never imagined.

Anticipating the 2013 Bushwick Film Festival screening of ‘ROXIE‘ we profile the films Director Nick Frangione.  ‘ROXIE‘ screens on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at Light Space Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Purchase Tickets for ‘ROXIE’ at the 2013 Bushwick Film FestivalHERE

As taking on both writer & director duties, how do you approach constructing a narrative? Are you able to separate the responsibilities at the time or does direction play into your writing decisions? Is there a particular role you enjoy more?Since shooting came so quickly after pre-production, I think I approached creating the Roxie narrative wearing both writer and director caps simultaneously. I never received formal training in either role, but I have more experience as a director. That being the case, I wrote Roxie from a director’s point of view. There was lots of written direction, mostly emotional, rather than technical. I absolutely think that direction played a huge part in my writing decisions.

I enjoy writing and directing equally, but for different reasons. I feel more equipped as a director. I feel confident talking to actors because I am one myself. I understand the emotional aspects of a scene more than anything else, so a conversation with an actor comes more easily to me.

Writing has become more enjoyable to me the more that I do it. I like creating completely original pieces, and I love writing intuitively, even though it lacks construction. It can be soothing, far more soothing than trying to run a set.

ROXIE‘ROXIE’ centers around two 60+-year-old friends who rediscover sexuality at their mature ages. How do the friend’s ages allow for the ‘ROXIE’ plot to unravel in a way younger subjects would not be able to?
As I worked on Roxie I realized that despite the fact that the characters and actors were significantly older than me, I completely related to them and in the end found that I was writing about myself. I found the major difference between me, and Dave’s character, to be the consequences of our actions. An older man has more responsibilities, more to wreck if he decides to lie and cheat. A younger man has so much more freedom.

I think that because the characters are so much older there is a much deeper plunge, a much longer free fall. Young men have more to look forward to, more opportunities to regain the trust of others and to learn to trust themselves. Dave really is approaching the end of his rope, and I feel the stakes are therefore so much higher.

ROXIE is not only the films name but also the name of a principal character in the film, who also acts as an escort. What sort of character traits did you employ in Roxie (the character) to separate her from the conventional escort film role?
I think what makes Roxie different and unconventional is her ability to draw men out of their shell and allow them to expose their deepest, sometimes darkest, memories, or to express deep-seated pain. In doing so, the men not only have a sexual experience, but a therapeutic one as well. I’ve often felt that men run the show when it comes to sex, and romance in film. In the case of Roxie, the women are in charge. Roxie makes the rules in this film, not the other way around.

I think that we all have experienced the loss of someone whom we felt could never leave. I think we all, at some point, fall in love quickly, or perhaps it’s better to say we become infatuated quickly, only to watch that object of infatuation walk away. We are left forever wondering, “Did they ever feel the same, or was it all just a hoax?” Roxie is meant to represent this experience.

Of all the characters, Roxie was the most foreign to me. Kelly Burk brought insight and an authenticity to Roxie that gave her depth. That’s something I am incredibly thankful for. I feel she gave a wonderful performance.

ROXIEDescribe what your strategy for distributing ‘ROXIE’ to the widest possible audience? Have you given this thought during the development/production process and (if so) did it evolve over time?
Due to the fact that we are such newcomers to this process, we have been figuring out the distribution process as we go. We stumbled upon things as we travelled down this path, but we have not yet found a complete and solid plan for distribution. We were so focused on making the movie that we barely had the energy for anything else. Now that we have a completed film, we are hard at work looking for ways to get Roxie out there!

The film took 3 years to complete between 2010-2013. How did you manage to keep the momentum going over the course of production? Was there ever any incident where you felt the film might not end up finished? If so, how did you push through that?
It was very difficult to keep the momentum going during our three years of production. At first, everyone was thrilled, ignorant of the challenges ahead. I think that the two main things that kept us working were our incredible friendship, and our love of the characters and the story. Whenever one person fell there was always someone there to pick them up and make them press on. If ever one of us tried to let go, a character, or the story itself, would call us back again.

There were several moments throughout production that made me believe we were stuck and would be unable to finish. We were forced to re-cast some of the roles, which was a painstaking process, but ultimately for the best. Finances were our main woe, and we still face an uphill battle when it comes to money. Technical problems arose constantly, problems that forced us to reshoot, which meant more and more money that none of us really had.

We pushed through these problems by way of lengthy discussions and the unwillingness to compromise. Raising funds, thankfully, became easier when we had more footage to show people. Roxie became our lives for a long time, and none of us could let it go; we still stand together today as great, life-long friends,. We wanted to make a real movie, and in the end it became a tribute to our friendship.






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