Today we talk with Larry Brand Director/Screenwriter of CHRISTINA, a film inspired by the true story of a young German woman who must confront a dark secret before she can start a new life in America. As the young woman prepares to leave her war-ravaged city to begin a new life in the U.S. with her G.I. fiance - standing between her and a hopeful future is a relentless police inspector, determined to prevent her from escaping the past. He pushes her to face the truth about a child, whose secret the woman has kept all this time. Before she can leave for her new life, she will be forced to confront the past she's been trying to leave behind.
Q: How did you hear about the Newport Beach Film Festival?
A: My executive producers, Rebecca Reynolds and Jim Carpenter, heard about it through our producers’ rep, Noor Ahmed, who’s a longtime fan of the festival. Noor thought it would be an excellent venue to premiere our film.
Q: Tell a little about the story of your film and the production of it.
A: Years ago, a family friend told me a story about an American GI who became involved with a young German woman just after the end of the war. As their relationship unfolded he learned, painfully, that she was not what she had appeared, and in fact stood accused of a monstrous act committed in the shadows of the greater carnage. I’d always been fascinated by World War II, but wasn’t particularly interested in doing a traditional war movie; personal, intimate crime is inherently more intriguing to me than the spectacle of battle. The story of CHRISTINA, its constantly shifting narratives, its layering of truth and half-truth, its real-time pacing and cinematic intimacy, offered a way to shrink down to human scale the unapproachable vastness of a war that took fifty million lives.
Q: Tell a little about yourself and your story in filmmaking.
A: Like most filmmakers, I loved movies as a kid, and can remember waiting for the next horror or monster flick to hit the Midway Theater in Forest Hills. Years later, when working for Roger Corman, I would recall how effective his THE PREMATURE BURIAL had been on me and my friends. But I was equally influenced by TV shows like “The Twilight Zone,” “The Outer Limits,” and “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.” In fact, I can even see some Twilight Zone influences in CHRISTINA. Sometimes, I can almost imagine Rod Serling, standing just off the set, watching the story unfold....
Q: Your take on the performances of the lead actors, (set backs, triumphs, impressions, good surprises, etc.)
A: Nicki Aycox and Jordan Belfi seemed as if they were born to play the roles of Christina and Billy. Nicki has the ethereal quality of a living ghost, a survivor who doesn’t quite believe she’s made it into the present; Jordan captures the optimism and likeability of a WW II GI, certain the future is his for the taking.