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Faces of the Festival: Lauren Palmigiano

Meet Lauren Palmigiano, director of the TFF 2010 short film Cried Suicide, the first longform short from online comedy shop Funny or Die, screening both at TFF in NYC and on TFF Virtual Premium.


Lauren Palmigiano
Photo by Melissa Szilagyi

 

TribecaFilm.com: Tell us a little bit about your film.

 

Lauren Palmigiano:
My film is called Cried Suicide. It's about a girl who fakes a suicide attempt in order to get attention from an ex-girlfriend, and then she and her best friend decide they shouldn't tell anyone else that she faked it, and so her friends come over to console her in various silly, ridiculous ways.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What inspired you to tell this story?

 

LP:
I wanted to do something about when you're heartbroken and you're sort of at that crazy place of, "I just need attention at this moment." And so from there I took this person a little bit farther and had her actually call 911 and fake an entire suicide attempt.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What's the craziest thing that happened while making the film?

 

LP:
Michael Jackson died.

 

TribecaFilm.com: Oh no! How did that affect your filmmaking?

 

LP:
Well, one of my leads was a huge Michael Jackson fan, and she had to take a moment and go sit under a tree, and we were all just sort of shocked. We shot two days, and it happened on the second day, and after we wrapped we all hung out in my apartment and did the Thriller dance and watched a lot of Michael Jackson videos. It was actually kind of a sweet way to remember him and the shoot.

 

TribecaFilm.com: Do you have any advice for aspiring first-time filmmakers?

 

LP:
My advice is always, "Finish what you're doing." A lot of people start stuff and then just are like, "Oh, I don't have time" or "I can't do it." I think it's just a matter of sticking to what you're doing and believing that you can make it and finishing it, and you're already ten steps ahead of a lot of people.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What's the biggest thing you've learned while making this film?

 

LP:
Just to be patient, especially with the post-process—editing takes a long time—and just have fun. It's all supposed to be fun.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What are the challenges and the advantages of making a short film as opposed to a feature?

 

LP:
It's a lot faster, [which] is a plus, and a challenge is I guess a lot of times you're doing it on your own, so money and just resource-wise, it can be a challenge.

 

TribecaFilm.com: If you could have dinner with any filmmaker, alive or dead, who would it be?

 

LP:
I'm going to say Nicole Holofcener because she's awesome and I love all her stuff. [Holofcener has a film at TFF 2010—Please Give—so maybe it will happen!]

 

TribecaFilm.com: What else do you like about her?

 

LP:
She's just smart. She always has a good story going on and interesting characters that you just sort of get a glimpse of. I feel like they're always really deep and you just understand what those people are going through.

 

TribecaFilm.com: What piece of art—it can be a book, film, TV show, anything—do you recommend to your friends most often?

 

LP:
Most often? Probably a horrible reality television show [laughs] is what I'm recommending. It's embarrassing. At this point it's probably "RuPaul's Drag Race." I should have a smarter answer, but I don't. [laughs again]

 

TribecaFilm.com: What would your biopic be called?

 

LP:
"Build Your Own Boat."

 

 

TribecaFilm.com: What makes Cried Suicide a Tribeca must-see?

 

LP:
I think maybe—and I may be misspeaking here—but a lot of the other shorts seem pretty serious, so if you need a comedic break, then Cried Suicide. Although [the title] sounds very serious, it's pretty silly.

 

TribecaFilm.com: Can you talk about the Funny or Die process? [Funny or Die is a comedy website, chock-full of hilarious content.] Is your film some sort of milestone for the group?

 

LP:
A little bit of a milestone, yeah. Most of our content is, like, 4 minutes long, so I had this idea to do a longer piece and Funny or Die was instrumental in helping me with crew and producing it and getting it all made and distributed. For us over there—usually it's someone has an idea, we shoot it 2 days later in a few hours, and then we put it out a few more days later.

 

So this was different in the sense of it was a 2-day shoot, which is rare for us. It was going to be longer than 4 minutes, which we never do. So it was long for us, even though it's a short film.

TribecaFilm.com: Was Cried Suicide a group effort?

 

LP:
It was mostly me and another producer of ours, Mike Farah.

 

TribecaFilm.com: Is this your first time directing, or do you direct things for Funny or Die as well?

 

LP:
I direct things occasionally. A lot of it's very collaborative over there, so this was definitely my first "I am in charge of the whole kaboodle." [laughs]  I loved it, and I'm actually directing more stuff at Funny or Die.

 

TribecaFilm.com: Will this be shown online after the Festival is over?

 

LP:
I think we're talking about it. We're trying to figure it out. Since it's long, people online have a weirder attention span, but we're trying to figure out a good way to release it on the website.

 



Read more about Cried Suicide and the Shorts: Wishful Thinking program.

 

Bonus! Cried Suicide is one of the 18 short films available online from April 23-30 with the Tribeca Film Festival Virtual Premium Pass. The Premium Pass is available to all U.S. residents, age 18 or older, for only $45. Learn more, and get your pass today so you don't miss out.

 

Find out where and when all films are playing in the 2010 Film Guide.
Become a fan of Cried Suicide on Facebook!
Meet more Faces of the Festival.

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