Producer Angela Giarratana On The Sperm Bank

Producer Angela Giarratana stops by on Close-Up Culture to discuss the short film, The Sperm Bank.

Written and created by Rob Scerbo and Jeremy Culhane, the film shares a story of a young man recently diagnosed with cancer who takes a visit to a sperm bank. Based on the writer and star Rob Scerbo’s real life experiences with stage 4 testicular cancer, The Sperm Bank is a dark comedy about one of the bizarre, chaotic, existential, and life-affirming situations a cancer diagnosis can cause.

What attracted you to this story? 

Jeremy Culhane and Rob Scerbo have been two of my favorite comedians that I’ve had the pleasure of working and playing with at Upright Citizens Brigade so when the two of them were going to start working together on something more long form, I knew I wanted in. The way Rob sees the world and his battles with cancer has always been one of my favorite things about him as a comedian and a writer. I knew this was going to be a very special story that was going to mean a lot to me and everyone around it. 

Had you worked with the team before? 

In getting the team together I knew I couldn’t do any of this without Grayson Propst. She’s taught me so much about producing and indie filmmaking since I’ve known her for over 6 years. Once Grayson got on, the team we assembled became a very special group of people who had mostly all worked together before in different capacities from short films we would make in our backyard to late night bit shows at UCB. With all these trusted relationships and Margaux Susi at the front seat leading us all, it was, (sorry I’m gonna say it!!!) a dream team. 

Please can you share more about your background and how you got into producing? 

My parents are both filmmakers who moved to LA straight out of Bible college and learned the business from the ground up. I’m blessed to have seen my mom, Deborah Giarratana, produce all kinds of projects of different sizes and learn as she went. I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly of producing all in my kitchen and I owe it all to my moms perseverance in her work that leads me to where I am today. 

What does it mean to you for the film to be shown at high profile festivals like Tribeca? 

Getting to premiere The Sperm Bank at Tribeca is more than we all ever dreamed for this short. Tribeca put our film in a block of other films that so beautifully highlighted what we wanted to show most in our story— someone refusing to give up. These films and filmmakers around us this week have made this premiere all so surreal and special. It’s all been a dream, 

Did you face any difficulties filming and if so, how did you overcome them?

We had a big team and not a lot of time. Making sure everyone felt heard and given the space to do their best work was really hard when you don’t have the money to slow down. We overcame this with our line producer Grayson Propst and our director Margaux Susi’s communicative relationship. They both gave space to each department and strung it all together so beautifully as leaders. 

THE SPERM BANK will screen at Tribeca Film Festival on June 17th.


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