Filmmaker Courtney Paige returns to Close-Up Culture to talk about her award-winning film, The Color Rose.
CLOSE-UP: Hi Courtney, when we last spoke to you, a lot of things were happening. ‘The Color Rose’, your directional feature film debut, is on the festival circuit. Congrats! How does it feel to know that something you wrote and directed is being seen?
COURTNEY: Yes! Hi. It feels like such a nice change of pace from acting after ten years. I love learning new things and have decided writing and directing is more so what I would prefer to pursue moving forward. I’m really proud of our team and what we were able to accomplish. We were just nominated for five Leo Awards on the picture. Arc Light and Untitled Entertainment recently had us in the Cannes digital market and Signature has acquired the UK. I believe we will be in Fright Fest, so hopefully the world reopens soon. I’ve always wanted to go to London.
CLOSE-UP: The film heavily dives into taboo topics, really taking risks. Was it quite scary to make a film with what Hollywood needs rather than what it always wants?
COURTNEY: Yes. I think that’s the arena most of our films will dabble in. This one in particular is more so a teen cult thriller. I wouldn’t say Hollywood needs more of those, but it’s definitely important to shine a light on LGBTQ subject matter, religion and such topics that are often neglected. Our next film Neon Candy is about mental health, domestic and sexual abuse. I think it’s important for all stories to have a deep meaning, otherwise – why tell them? A lot of filmmakers are doing a great job raising more awareness lately— especially with the BLM movement. Our industry sure needs more equality and diversity that’s for sure.
CLOSE-UP: I see that the film was shot in your hometown. Did the film take some sort of inspiration from your own teenage years and your likes at the time? I hope you weren’t part of a scary cult though, haha!
COURTNEY: Haha. Definitely wasn’t part of a cult, but my parents were raised in what you could say was a strict household and religious setting. I grew up on teen cult classics such as Jawbreaker, Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. I think those and being on a cheerleading squad had a little influence on how The Color Rose was crafted.
CLOSE-UP: The world has been at a standstill the past few months, however we’re slowly moving out of quarantine, and into a more relaxed, slightly back to normal way of life. Did you take the last few months as a time to rest and reset, or were you busy hustling for what’s next?
COURTNEY: I did a bit of both. Although so many negatives came with COVID such as the economy dropping, it was a necessary change of pace to slow down and reflect on what really matters. I think that’s what set the tone on what I should focus on next and allowed me the time to really do that.
CLOSE-UP: So, with the world at your fingertips, from directing to podcasting, what are your dreams and aims for the next year?
COURTNEY: Arc Light is in talks with me about jumping on my next feature, which I’d love to have green lit so we can start location scouting and casting. Aside from that, dabbling in directing some music videos.