tank house is an affair of the heart of Noam Tomaschoff and Chelsea Frei, who conceived the concept almost a decade ago. After producing a short film based on the storyline, drawn from the couple’s early careers in the entertainment world, the film was picked up and adapted into a full-length production. The film focuses on a pretentious couple emerging New York artists driven out of the Big Apple. Their quest to find the perfect location for their unique expression leads them to Fargo, North Dakota and a host of potential new talent who will help them land a residency at a small local theater in town.
During exclusive interviews with CBR at the film’s red carpet premiere in Los Angeles, tank house Director/writer Noam Tomaschoff and writer Chelsea Frei discussed how, like other filmmakers’ early productions, the film evolved from short to feature. The couple also spoke about taking their own experiences for the process and how they want it tank house to speak to generations of theater children.
CBR: Congrats on the movie!
Chelsea Frei: Thank you. It was so much fun – even cheesy and cheesy if you see [the energy of the cast in real life], and we’re increasing it a millionfold. i feel so lucky I mean, literally seven years ago, this was a short film that Noam and I made. Now we have this amazing cast to live on. It’s like a dream come true.
You both draw on your own experiences for the film. What’s it like putting so much of yourself into a story like this? Is it exciting? Is it intimidating?
Noam Tomaschoff: On the one hand, it’s very practical because you don’t have to come up with a lot. You can put together a lot of very specific references that end up being pretty universal, especially for the audience you intend this for. We always envisioned this film as something that people in the theater – theater kids of all ages – could really engage with. So it was a decision to draw concrete examples from our own experience in the theatre. That was very specific to us, but we knew it would apply to everyone. Everyone had that kind of teacher, everyone has done this type of group activity, you know. So it’s about finding the universal in the specific. It’s just nice to use a personal experience.
Chelsea, this is a film about performers. As someone who has been on screen himself, what is it like to approach it from an author’s perspective?
Free: Absolutely. I mean, this movie is very much based on a lot of true events. There is definitely my time in New York and my time in the New York theater scene that influenced this film and in many ways we have benefited from our great teachers and other students and years. tank house is, so to speak, the culmination of many things.
What would you like to say to your own younger self – and other young artists and performers who see this film – about this kind of life and your place in it?
Tomaschoff: I think what I admire most about people – certainly not thinking about myself, but thinking about who I’ve worked with that I really admire as people – they understand that important thing, that when you do something does, just do it the way you would do it as opposed to how you imagine someone would do it. That stillness that impacts the audience so intensely through the screen and it makes them love you because they feel like they’re really meeting you as a person as opposed to the projection you created. I would just say it [my younger self] to do it and do everything the way you want to do it, the way you would do it. Trust that that’s enough. You don’t feel like you have to make anything beyond that.
Free: Oh god, work as hard as you can. keep working hard I feel like Noam and I, how we learned how to write and how to make things only with an iPhone camera in NYC. That is [how] we learned everything. Most of the time nobody saw it. The way it’s going but I think that’s what it is… I think you’re doing the right thing by working hard and feeling like you’re embarrassing yourself. Always embarrass yourself.
Tankhouse hits theaters on May 13th.
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