Husband/wife team created an amazing film off a simple concept: Memory.
By Jacob Engels
Claire Carré and her husband Charles Spano wrote and produced Embers, a film that has been described as a masterpiece, visceral, and high concept poetry.
The apocalyptic setting is paired with a mysterious epidemic that results in our memories vanishing each and every day.
Though it was a low-budget indie film, Spano and Carré assembled an amazing cast that includes Parenthood’s Jason Ritter and featured some breathtaking landscapes.
Embers screened this week at Florida Film Festival and Carré lead a panel on women in film-making which was well attended and very informative. Don’t be suprised to see Embers finish well at the Florida Film Festival’s Awards Bash tomorrow night. Get tickets here.
If you loved Under The Skin, It Follows, and Goodnight Mommy… you will feel right at home with Embers. If you love cinema… you will love Embers! Our Q&A with the husband/wife team is below.
Trailer for Embers.
Q&A with Charles Spano and Claire Carré….
All right tell us about yourself and the motivation/inspiration for Embers.
CS: Well, we are a married filmmaking team. We wrote and produced Embers together and Claire directed and edited and was the costume designer.
CC: The inspiration came from the idea that this is my first feature film, and I wanted to make it about something really personal to me. I kept coming back to memory, because I’m a nostalgic person and my memories are very important to me. Each person will remember a shared experience differently, so memory is kind of like a mental fingerprint.
So then I thought – if memory is such an important component of who I am, who would I be if I didn’t have my memories? What if no one had access to memories, and couldn’t create new memories?
CS: Then the other thing that was going on when we were developing the idea is that we were rewatching all of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Enterprise often travels to a world where one thing is different – a world where…everyone speaks in metaphors, or a world where…all the inhabitants are children.
We decided to look at memory on this sort of global scale. A world without memory.
Still from the film.
Embers has been called a science fiction masterpiece. What core components helped you shape this film in a way that was authentic but efficient?
CS: Because we knew from the beginning that we were going to make Embers ourselves and not ask anyone’s permission, from the development stage we were thinking creatively, but also logistically. We tried to transform our constraints into strengths and, knowing the kind of budget we would be working with, write a script that would be powerful on it’s own terms, not just a cheap version of a bigger idea.
So it was a choice to make a film with a high concept idea combined with a very experiential, art film execution.
For me, Embers was on the same level as Under the Skin or It Follows. Hurdles and obstacles to overcome at all?
CC: That’s such a big complement, thank you! Honestly there were so many hurdles to overcome it would be hard to list them all! As a first time filmmaker, fundraising was really a challenge. We’re both very grateful to have received so much support from friends and family and fellow film lovers through Kickstarter and beyond.
When you’re making a low budget indie film, every little bit helps.
CS: That is a huge compliment as Under the Skin especially is a film that we both really love. Being new filmmakers, I suspect we faced bigger financing challenges than both of the films you mentioned. Embers really was our proving ground but every film is a learning process on a path filled with obstacles and constant challenges.
This is our first and it was important to us to stay true to our vision. No film is going to be perfect, but if it represents your creative voice, that is something to really be proud of.
Jason Ritter as Guy in Embers.
Has the festival circuit been fruitful so far?
CS: The festival circuit has been an incredible experience. We love to talk directly to audiences and hear what they have to say. Plus, going to festivals is this amazing way as a filmmaker to meet your colleagues and see firsthand the unique talents that are part of the independent filmmaking community.
CC: The film spent months existing as files on a hard drive in the little office room where I edited the film. It’s such an amazing experience as a filmmaker to share something you’ve worked on for so long – sometimes in isolation – with a room full of people you don’t know, and to hear what they think afterwards. It’s kind of like the film is out of your hands having a life of its own.
I love doing Q&A sessions after we screen, because there’s always new interpretations of perspectives on the film neither of us had thought of. There aren’t a lot of laughs in Embers it’s pretty serious, so during a screening, there isn’t this instant feedback of how people are responding, like there is watching a comedy.
A lot of people stay to talk to us afterwards though, and what makes me really happy is when I hear from someone a few days after the screening and they tell me they are still thinking about the film.
Other than Embers, share with us some of your other projects.
CS: Well, we have several feature scripts in various stages, including another scifi project and two that are not scifi. We are also working on developing a scifi series.
How can people follow you from here on out?
CC: Like our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/embersmovie and check out our website www.embersmovie.com . I personally update both to let everyone know about our festival screenings, what’s going on with the film, and it’s where we will announce our the specifics of our official release later this year.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com