Cassie Jaye is one of two featured filmmakers at the 2014 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema. She is returning to Idyllwild, a springboard for her successful and growing career.
“The new feature at IIFC this year is a more focused spotlight on our featured filmmakers. Both Wolfgang Bodison and Cassie Jaye are alums of the fest, and I thought it proper to kick of this new feature with them,” said IIFC Director Steve Savage.
In 2010, Jaye’s film, “Daddy I Do,” premiered at the IIFC and was awarded Best Documentary. The film examines the effects of abstinence-only programs versus comprehensive sex education in schools, and what society can do to help lower teen pregnancies, abortions and STDS, as well as poverty and sexual abuse.
From here, Jaye has screened “Daddy I Do” at 10 other festivals and “won six other awards,” she said, including Best Documentary at the Cannes Independent Film Festival in France.
Both “Daddy I Do” and her second documentary, “The Right to Love: An American Family,” (about gay marriage in California) will be shown at the 2014 IIFC. She also has just completed her first scripted film, “Isabella.”
At 27 years old, Jaye already has nearly two decades of film experience. She started acting as a youngster. She and her family moved to Los Angeles about six years ago so she could pursue her acting career.
As in the movies, fate intervened. The writers strike happened and she had no work. Being dependent upon others to live was not satisfying.
“I was at a standstill. I had to wait for the writers to be satisfied before I could get an acting job,” she said. “So I started to make my own films.” From this frustration, the seeds of an award-winning documentary germinated. She founded Jaye Bird Productions in 2008.
She is now working on her third documentary, which may not be finished until 2015, she said. “Documentaries are not as lucrative as a script, but [to me] they are rewarding in a moral sense,” Jaye explained. “Documentaries are definitely investigative reporting.”
Directing a documentary requires one to interact with different personalities. “While you’re filming and worried about whether it’s in focus and sounds adequate, they are thinking about their performance,” she explained. “But you need people to be comfortable with you and to open up with you.”
And before she can sit in front of the camera with a subject, she has to finance the film. “For independent filmmakers, finances are the blood, sweat and tears,” she lamented.
For the scripted film, a psychological thriller, she was hired and enjoyed the opportunity to leave the fundraising to others. Directing scripts and documentaries are much different, she said. For example, her documentary crews are usually three to four people. The scripted film had 30 to 40 people involved.
Jaye’s IIFC segment,. “Cassie Jaye: Movie Activism and the Creative Artist,” shows at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at the Rustic Theatre. Her documentaries, and perhaps a sneak peak of the newest, will be shown. Then Savage will host an on-stage interview followed by a question and answer session.
“She is screening four of her short documentaries as well as her feature-length film ‘Right To Love’ as part of the program. This film screened last year but we have invited it back, not in competition. We will also be screening her first documentary, ‘Daddy I Do,’ the following day [Jan. 11] at Astrocamp in a return performance, also out of competition,” Savage wrote in an email.
“Wolfgang Bodison: A Filmmaker’s Journey” will be spotlighted at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Rustic. His interview is scheduled for the next Town Crier issue.
J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]