Drew Tobia

Drew Tobia

CEFF’s version of the Proust questionnaire

1. What is your favorite movie theater and why?
I love the New Beverly in Los Angeles. I lived in Los Angeles for about a year, and though I didn’t hate it like most New Yorkers do, I didn’t completely fell in love with it either. But there were things that really resonated with me and when I decided to move back to New York one of the things I knew I would miss was the new Beverly Theatre. They play only 35mm prints unless it’s impossible to get a 35mm copy, they program mostly old classics and they do amazing double-features.

2. Your favorite movie rant.
Probably something from Tarantino…

3. The death scene you will never forget.
The scene from Dario Argento’s Opera, where the killer forces the girl to watch her friends getting murdered by taping nails under her eyes, so if she closes them she will go blind. It’s so big and ridiculous that the violence isn’t violence anymore.

4. The first movie poster that you hung on your walls.
Batman Returns by Tim Burton.

5. What movie character do you identify with the most?
Probably someone played by Laura Dern. Or maybe Petra von Kant from The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant because i’m lousy at love and it’s the last movie I watched.

6. Which look to camera struck you the most?
I don’t really like it when characters do that, but I remember seing it in Psycho when I was a kid and that scared me.

7. What movie made you travel the most?
Off the top of my head, the movie Switch with Ellen Barkin, where she plays a male chauvinist pig who was transformed into a woman to see what being a woman is like, and there’s a scene where she’s explaining to her secretary (played by Catherine Keener), who is trying to figure out who this woman (Barkin) is and where her boss (Barkin as a man) went, so Ellen Barkin starts telling her that the man version chucked it all away and ran off to some beautiful tropical island like Gauguin. Then I knew who Gauguin was and thought the idea of travel as escape was very romantic.

8. If you had to live in a film, you would choose…
Pink Flamingos by John Waters.

9. The movie that scared you the most.
The thing is, when I was a kid I shouldn’t have been watching Silence of the Lambs but I was. Which is strange because as a kid I was really scared of horror movies, I couldn’t even watch the trailers on TV. But somewhere around when I was nine years old I decided I wouldn’t be scared of horror movies anymore so I rent everything from the horror movie section of the video store and I was cured. Back then I wasn’t scared of Silence of the Lambs. Now every time I see it, I’m really scared and can’t explain what changed, my guess is it’s really psychological, it plays on your feelings. I wouldn’t say Argento movies are scary. They’re beautiful. In Silence of the Lambs there is so much dread and reality, you really don’t want anything to happen to the characters.

10. The movie that made you laugh the most.
Again Pink Flamingos I think. It was really an influential movie for me, because before that I had only seen the PG-13 movies by John Waters, and seing this one changed things for me: the way I perceive music in film, what you are allowed to show or do in a movie… And it was wildly funny.

Portrait of Drew Tobia

Drew Tobia grew up in Long Island, New York. From an early age he was an avid moviegoer, encouraged but his mother, who was also a refined cinephile. “My mother was big on movies and she exposed me to indies and foreign films, that I probably wouldn’t have seen on my own”. He recalls watching “weird” movies from a young age, relishing in dark comedies and campy films like Welcome To The Dollhouse and Serial Mom.

He proceeded to go to film school at Emerson College, where he met Eleanore Pienta, who would eventually play the lead actress in his feature film, and his cinematographer Andrew Whittaker.

When talking influences he recalls names like Todd Solondz, John Waters, Rainer Fassbinder, Paul Morrissey, Mary Harron – directors whose work usually focuses on flawed, offbeat characters in a way that can simultaneously generate both sympathy and disgust. He describes his universe as being made out of gay and camp melodrama movie scenes from his childhood years mixed with an emotional realism and strong (usually female) characters.

See You Next Tuesday is his first feature film. It tells the story of Mona (Eleanore Pienta), a pregnant, loudmouthed and lonesome grocery store cashier and her relationships with her recovering addict mother May, megalomaniacal sister Jordan and Jordan’s overwhelmed girlfriend Sylve. The main character is inspired by the work of the actress portraying her: Pienta made a series of self portraits and videos where she embodied the character of Mona. “She was a heavily pregnant young woman who was terrified that flies would fly up her vagina and infect her unborn baby. It was weird, funny and bizarre and I felt I could relate to that” explains Tobia. The script poured out of the director, who tried to imagine the life of this character in Brooklyn, where he lived at the time.

Drew Tobia currently lives in Long Island. He is working on his next script, which will tell the story of a group of Jews celebrating Christmas.


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