Since the advent of cinema, indie filmmaking has always been a labor of love, and director Pieter Gaspersz’s debut feature After snugly fits into that category. Set in 2002, the drama centers on a middle class family in upstate New York who are trying to keep a tragic secret from their matriarch (Kathleen Quinlan).
With a bare bones budget and a 20-day production schedule, Gaspersz’s biggest creative coup was landing a grade-A ensemble to anchor the narrative. John Doman (The Wire, Damages) brings a heartbreaking gravitas as the seemingly strong as an ox patriarch, while Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black) and Adam Scarimbolo also do fine work as the dad’s diametrically opposed sons. From top to bottom, each member of the ensemble (which also includes Diane Neal and Tracy Howe), are up to the task.
During the interview, Gaspersz talked about working with Quinlan. “You’ve prepared your shot, you’ve protected your actor,” said the director. “Kathleen and I were side by side – any time there was an intense moment, no one was allowed to talk. It was her and I on set and ready to go. You get into it, and her performance – her magic takes over. The director side disappears . . . and you’re just grateful to be there with the camera capturing it.”
Quinlan’s distinguished acting career started in the 1970s, and several of her most recognizable films include I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, Apollo 13, and The Doors (If you’re a fan of nuanced, coming-of-age dramas, check out Quinlan, Sam Rockwell, and Mischa Barton in Lawn Dogs).
“I was attracted to After because there was an actual story,” said Quinlan. “And there was an actual character and something to play which gets more and more difficult to find. Certainly, it’s always the writing first and Sabrina’s a fabulous writer. Each character is not just talking – they are speaking as a character.”
For Sabrina Gennarino, crafting After’s script began with painful self-reflection. “It was a healing process for myself,” said Gennarino, who also stars in the feature. “We lived the event – three blocks away. The whole works. It’s my take on how my family would have reacted if that was me . . . It is from mine and Pieter’s personal experience on where this story comes from. So I wrote what I knew.”
In the following audio clip, Kathleen Quinlan talks about the difference between fame and actually doing the work as an actor:
After is now available On Demand, iTunes, and Amazon Instant. For more info, check out the film’s official site.