Local filmmakers Émilie Richard-Froozan and Rémy Bennett are currently premiering Buttercup Bill at the Marfa Film Festival and my bet is it will be the talk of Texas. This is not a chill-for-90-minutes-with-some-extra-butter-popcorn kind of movie. This film is an utter mind trip the whole way through and lingers in your thoughts for days. I won’t give away too much of the plot, but it centers on two lifelong friends, Pernilla and Patrick, as they meet up in the South after years apart, drawn together following the death of someone close to them. The film peers into their love for each other and the secrets of their past. Bennett wrote and stars in the film, and her performance is mesmerizing.This is the first full-length feature produced by Blonde to Black Pictures, owned by Emma Comley & Sadie Frost. The film constantly keeps you in suspense- guessing about Pernilla and Patrick’s relationship, about the choices they’ve made and the skeletons that might still be hiding in the closet.
I had a chance to catch up with Émilie before they hit the road:
Free Williamsburg: How did you two come together? Have you worked on other films?
Émilie Richard-Froozan: Remy and I met in Dublin when we were 16 in an acting/directing summer high school course. She was in my first short there which was a silent film about a teen who finds out she’s pregnant and runs away. We just became really close friends and continued to make shorts together. We made a short called Rufur that won Best experimental film at the LA film & Script Festival and that led us to wanting to make a feature together and to Buttercup Bill.
FW: How does your friendship shape your work partnership?
ERF: I don’t know how it’s happened the way it has, but our friendship is stronger now than it ever was. We really respect each other and one another’s opinion so our friendship has lent itself to creating work that wouldn’t have happened solo. I feel truly comfortable to bounce any ideas I have and also to receive and criticism from her because I know she has great taste and I trust her.
FW: Where do you feel most inspired? Where do you like to write?
ERF: I feel most inspired when I experience some sort of heightened situation. The emotions during and after that are some serious fuel to my brain where my imagination really opens up. I like to write to a soundtrack, so I usually make a playlist that is associated w whatever is inspiring me and then blast it on repeat.
FW: Who is doing great things in film right now that you admire?
ERF: I loved Ana Lily Amirpour’s A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night starring Sheila Vand. Also, a German film called Wetlands starring Carla Juri. Both actresses school friends of mine and have serious acting chops and really cool taste.
FW: What has been the initial reaction to Buttercup Bill?
ERF: A little bit of shock haha.
FW: Where does the inspiration come from? Are/were either of you involved in a sort of magnetic, yet dark relationship like Pernilla and Patrick?
ERF: Yea, we wrote what we knew but we also we made the film because we feel like in some capacity almost everyone has felt a doomed magnetic pull to someone and it’s a really difficult painful reality to get one’s head around.
FW: Where did you film? Why the South?
ERF: We filmed in the lower ninth ward in Holy Cross and all around the bywater and other parts of New Orleans. When I went down there for the first time I was staying in this really beautiful magical house near the levee in Holy Cross and just became really inspired by the environment and the people I met, so all of that catapulted us into writing the script and having it based in that house, where we shot the movie.
FW: What can we expect to see in the future?
ERF: We just directed a music video for Hurray For The Riff Raff, who were also in Buttercup Bill, that we loved doing. We’re both writing scripts and gearing up for whatever’s next.
FW: Additionally, when/where will the film be available for public viewing? Is it going to be screened in NYC anywhere? Online?
ERF: We are headed to the Marfa Film Festival where Buttercup Bill will be premiering so, its life after that is soon to be revealed!