Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival. An Interview With Alex Goldberg
Alex Goldberg, playwright, screenwriter, television writer, director and Winner of Best Feature Film at the 2018 DC Film Festival has quite the resume. This is understandable since he directed his first play at the age of 6, and by the third grade wrote, directed and acted in his own school play. No, he wasn’t the only one in his class, he just knew from a very young age what his passion was. Among his feature film credits is Closure, making it’s Florida film debut at the much anticipated 2018 Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival, located on the Treasure Coast. As a fan of the festival, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time interviewing Alex, and he was gracious enough to share details about the undertaking of Closure, the working relationship he has with his wife, and advice for young people that may want to follow in his career path.
Background: In Alex Goldberg’s dark comedy, Closure, Nina (played by Goldberg’s real-life wife Catia Ojeda) travels to Los Angeles, following her mother’s funeral, to find her sister who has been missing for months. There she encounters a bizarre mix of Angelenos (including Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Dee Wallace) and uncovers the secret of her sister’s disappearance.
DT: As a New York play writer and director, how did you find your way to California
AG: Writing can happen anywhere, and I take full advantage of that. My wife and I initially moved to California 6 years ago to support her acting career, while I pursued my TV and film career. Catia like myself has been in “the business” since a very young age. She has starred in dozens of commercials as well as episodes of Law and Order, 30 Rock, Fringe, and Damages. Since moving to Los Angeles, she continues to work in episodic television and theater, as well as commercials and independent film.
DT: Catia plays the role of Nina in Closure. What was it like working on this project together?
AG: We work well together. The challenge was working consecutive 12-hour days with a 2-year-old at home. Fortunately, we have a fantastic family support group who rallied around us to fill in the gaps. We have been together for 10 years and married for 8. She is my muse. She also makes me a better writer because she struggles with lines that are not well written. So, I am happily forced to step up my game.
DT: Is it awkward or difficult watching your wife in an intimate scene that you are directing?
AG: Absolutely not, those are her “freebies”. Not to mention there is nothing sexy about being surrounded by your closest friends as your wife kisses one of your best friend on an air mattress that makes the most disturbing sounds. Thank goodness for sound editing.
DT: Was Closure based on a true-life experience of yours? Where did your inspiration come from?
AG: The inspiration came from both an artistic and business perspective, and although the story is fiction, we realized not long after moving here that culture of California in and of itself is like no other. This can be depicted by the eccentric, somewhat self-centered people that Nina encounters throughout the film.
DT: How did you fund Closure, and how did you stay on budget?
AG: Although we did have funders for the project, we fell a little short. So, we resorted to crowd funding and it help put us in a place that we could move forward. We were also blessed to have the support of our friends who took the time to take parts in the film. It was a day by day labor of love and took the whole village.
DT: There is a whole festival circuit. Why put your film in the hat at the VBW+FF?
AG: Well, when wine gets the billing before films, you know it’s going to be a great event. Vero Beach is also a special place for Catia and I. Not long after we begin dating, she landed a 2-month job at Riverside Theatre. I had the opportunity to come a visit a couple of times, and we fell in love with the location, the community and the overall laid back feel of the Treasure Coast. You could say we fell in love here.
DT: Will Catia be joining you a the VBW+FF?
AG: Well sadly no, but happily we are expecting our second child any day now. Our first son Leo will be joined by a baby brother.
DT: What’s next?
AG: For Closure, we will be presenting in Austin and then, fingers crossed, be contracted by distributors; ideally in New York and LA. From there, streaming on HBO Go. Ultimately, we have the practical goal of paying our investors back so that we can ride this train again.
DT: What advice do you have for kids that may want to follow in your footsteps?
AG: Make a movie. Make a movie with your friends. Make a movie on your phone. There are some great apps to help you. DO NOT post your movie on line or social media. You may be subjected to trolls and discouraging. Keep it between you and your friends, and then make another one.
A huge Thank You to Alex Goldberg for his candid interview. Congratulations on your Florida Film Premier and the new addition to your family. I look forward to attending Closure this weekend at the Vero Beach Wine and Film Festival. For more information about the film and show times, visit http://vbwff.com