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Michael Cross’s feature comedy Second Nature will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 05/30/2017

Michael Cross’s feature comedy Second Nature will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!

Michael Cross’s feature comedy
Second Nature will be premiering at the New Jersey International Film Festival on Saturday, June 3!

Here is my interview with Second Nature Director Michael Cross:

Nigrin:  Your hilarious and timely feature comedy Second Nature is about a most unusual mayoral race between a woman and a womanizer. Please tell us more about your film and why you decided to make it. 

Cross: Second Nature is a comedy with a social conscience, really trying to change the way that we see women in film. It was written as a collaboration by a team of both women and men. Gender behavior and gender identity have always been fascinating to me, as I have always wondered what the world would look like if girls and boys were nurtured in opposite ways. My writing team crafted Second Nature to explore this hypothetical world through the prism of comedy. And now that the film is finished, we have found the film is much more relevant today than when we began writing over 8 years ago.

Nigrin:  The two lead actors Collette Wolfe and Sam Huntignton are really funny and compelling. Plus they have really good chemistry. How did you select them?



 
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Cross: I asked Collette Wolfe and Sam Huntington to play the leads because they are both amazingly skilled actors. And it was interesting how different their approaches were for this film, with Sam always looking for the comedy in each scene, and Collette searching for the honesty and truth for the character. This resulted in each scene playing out with a perfect balance of earnestness and nuanced humor which I love. 

Nigrin:  The film features a magic mirror. What does it do and why did you select it as a transformative device in your  film? 

Cross: The mirror grants Amanda’s wish that women and men could switch places for a change. For me, grandma’s old magic mirror was the perfect portal of entry into the “flipped” world. Because on the “other side” of the mirror, everything is the same except backwards. And in a sense, the mirror lets us see our ourselves in our own world more clearly. 

Nigrin:  Gender equity is a main theme of the film. Why did you decide to focus on this issue?

Cross: I started writing Second Nature over 8 years ago because I’ve always been fascinated by gender behavior, as well as gender balance in politics. We are molded from birth and nurtured to behave a certain way, which greatly affects who we are as individuals and as a larger society. So flipping the entire world, so that women behave like men and vice versa, is a way of looking at ourselves more clearly. Through the comedy we are also able to understand better what it’s like walking in someone else’s shoes.

Nigrin: Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can rely to our readers?

Cross: The film was shot in 21 days in the Fall of 2015. Ellensburg, Washington was the perfect location for Second Nature. Ellensburg is my hometown, which meant I was able to draw on a lot of favors when it came to caterers, extras, street closures and filming locations. My father cooked many of the meals himself, my aunt took care of craft services, and the scenes that take place in the City Manager’s office were filmed in the actual City Manager’s office at City Hall.



 
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Check out the Second Nature Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQ8qG8LCgGg 

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Second Nature will be preceded by the surreal short Seppuku by Darryn Wakasa. Here is more info on this screening:

Seppuku – Daryn Wakasa (Montebello, California) Mari, a young woman who holds the U.S. record for the fastest 400-meter time in track and field, is crushed to discover, just before the Olympic trials, that she has a potentially career-threatening injury. Not listening to her doctor or her mother’s advice, she pushes herself too far.  So far that the powers of nature thrust her into the depths of a psychological purgatory. While there, she meets her spiritual sidekick, who communicates through handwritten signs as she lures Mari deeper into her domain. 2016; 22 min.

Second Nature – Michael Cross (Seattle, Washington) In this hilarious and timely indie comedy, a most unusual mayoral race is about to go down in the small town of Louisburg. One female candidate decides to fight the odds by taking on a womanizer who is running on the other ticket. One magic mirror may turn it all around. 2016; 80 min. Special Guest Appearance by Director Michael Cross, Actor Carollani Sandberg, and Co-writer Edi Zanidache!

Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.


Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University


71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey


$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends


Information: (848) 932-8482;
www.njfilmfest.com

Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick will be providing free food prior to all New Jersey Film Festival Screenings!




Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.



 
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