QWFF: Q&A with Marisa Vitali, Claudine Marrotte of GRACE


GRACE follows the story of a recovering addict

GRACE, a short narrative was screened at The Secret Theatre on Saturday evening as part of the International Short Stack thematic block. Here is the movie description: “In family court, Janice, a waitress and recovering addict, faces her Ex and the demons in her life.”

Afterward, creator/producer/lead actress Marisa Vitali and producer Claudine Marrotte answered questions. Here’s what they had to say:

Question: Tell us your inspiration for the film.

Marisa Vitali: The film Grace is actually inspired by my own personal journey about getting clean from heroin addiction. So with this film, I wanted to start a conversation about recovery. I feel that there’s such a focus on the problem, and I know that there is a problem, and I feel like there’s not enough of a conversation about what a solution can be.

Q: How did you connect with Claudine Marrotte?

MV: We actually connected through Alysia Reiner who plays Bridgitt in the film. I had workedshopped the script in an acting lab here in New York City and I got to a place where I felt like I could take the script no further, and I wanted some feedback. I had emailed it over to Alysia and I was like, ‘I need some feedback. What are your thoughts?’ And she said, ‘Oh my god, I love it. When are we shooting this?’ And I said, ‘OK, great. I guess I can make it a movie.’ And then she said you need a great producer. You need someone who can help you put it together and introduced me to Claudine.

Q: What was your favorite part of the movie?

Claudine Marrotte: I think really the end, because you don’t really know what she’s doing, and she has to make some choices. She was in a tough position. Whatever choice she made, there was going to be a consequence. I think everyone can relate.

Q: What was it like working with Marissa?

CM: Working with Marissa, this is the first time she had ever produced a film. What was great about her is that she trusted me to take care of it. We had a nice relationship. That’s the hardest thing with a filmmaker is that you’re afraid someone’s going to change your vision or try to manipulate you because you don’t have experience. I was impressed with her. The reason we had success is because I could trust her, and visa-versa.

Q: What was it like working with Claudine?

MV: Working with Claudine was a God-send. This was my first film that I made as a filmmaker. I’m primarily an actress. Working with Claudine was great, because I wanted to allow myself to have time on set to just be the actress. We also shot in diner in my hometown that I worked in in my first year clean. So I knew it was going to be a coming home of sorts. And I wanted to be able to have that experience as an actress and as the person living in recovery and have that healing journey with the piece. So Claudine was amazing that she allowed me to have that space to be able to have that experience. I’m grateful to have been able to do that.

Be sure to check out more about the movie on its website.

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