PALM SPRINGS – “It’s a family affair,” said emerging filmmaker Virginia Cassavetes before the debut her first short film, “Love and Skin” at the 2013 Palm Springs International ShortFest on Friday night, Jun. 21 at the Camelot Theater.
Virginia Cassavetes, 27, or Gina to her family and friends, is a third generation filmmaker coming from a Hollywood dynasty. Her father is Actor/Director/Screenwriter Nick Cassavetes, best known for his 1997 film, “She’s So Lovely,” starring Sean Penn. Her grandfather is Actor/Director/Screenwriter John Cassavetes, best known for his film roles in “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Dirty Dozen,” and his television roles in “The Virginian,” and “Rawhide.” Her grandmother is Gena Rowlands, a four-time Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner, and still acting in roles at the ripe age of 83.
“Love and Skin” is a 27-minute short film about two couples – one younger and one older exploring the questions of why some people who love each other just cannot work things out, as opposed to another couple who settles for less and stays together for decades.
It’s a dark, dramatic comedy that stars the young filmmaker’s father, step mom, two sisters and friends, who all volunteered their time and expertise. Even Cassavetes’ grandparents pitched in allowing her to film some scenes at their home in Century City.
“Everyone I asked for help, said ‘Yes,’” Cassavetes said during an interview before “Love and Skin” premiered at the PS Shortfest.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make the movie without all the people, contacts and connections,” she said. Aaron Zigman, who has composed more than 50 scores for Hollywood films, composed her music and Ricky Fosheim worked as her Director of Photography.
Even former employers pitched in to help the young Cassavetes make her short film into a reality. “We shot some scenes at my grandma’s and grandpa’s house and some at Carmines Two,” a restaurant in Los Angeles she worked at between her classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in both Los Angeles and New York City.
“I saved $40,000 of my own money and got the rest donated from family and friends who worked for free,” she said.
“Love and Pain” offers a little bit of everything in life. It’s hard to categorize because the story came in fragments and unfolded itself during a year of writing and rewriting the 30-page script.
“This is a passion project for me,” she said, “and I learned a lot from my mistakes. I’m very excited because 40 friends and family members have come here to support my debut.”
Cassavetes’ career started as a model and actress, but now divides her time studying, writing, producing and directing between Los Angeles and New York.
She can be found on Facebook.