Talking Food Fights and Teleportation with Producer Irene Georghiades

Austin Cinematic Limits

University of Texas at Austin senior Irene Georghiades is the producer of two short films that have been selected to premiere at the 2012 Austin Film Festival (October 18-25). Andrew Tilley‘s Incident at Public School 173 and Zach Endres‘ The Teleported Man could not be more different from each other, but they share strong artistic visions and impeccable production values.

Thinking back to the olden days when I was working on student films, I cannot believe that students are able to churn out such high quality work nowadays. It is really exciting to me that these films represent the future of the Austin film community. I chatted with Georghiades about working in the Austin film community, her role as a producer, and what she hopes to get out of her first film festival experience.

What is your role as a producer?

Everyone has different ideas about what a producer does, and it can be different with every project. The way I look at is, I make sure that everyone has what they need in order to do their jobs. So, setting up casting so the director has the actors that he wants to work with; making sure locations are set up and that the crew is informed about what they need to do and where they need to be. Basically, helping everyone with their jobs and making sure they are happy and have what they need.

What attracts you to producing films?

I really like planning and organizing. I tend to approach problems with a big picture view of things then I break things down into steps. I have a lot to learn, but once I started producing it really clicked and its really fun. I really love it.

What attracted you to work on Incident at Public School 173 and The Teleported Man?

With The Teleported Man, I thought that the script was really unique, fresh and interesting. Zach [Endres] has a really distinct point of view as a director. I had seen some of his other work, and I think its great for a young filmmaker to have such a clear point of view.

With Incident at Public School 173, I just thought that it was super ambitious and would be a lot of fun. It was really different from The Teleported Man, so that was cool. Andrew [Tilley] was super dedicated to the project and super gung ho about it. I knew that one was going to be a lot of work, so I had a co-producer on that one, Mystie Pineda.

Incident at Public School 173 seems like it would have been a difficult film to produce, with all of the young kids involved.

We had a lot of meetings. Most of the time was spent figuring out how we were going to structure everything and create a really solid plan for how we were going to deal with all of the kids. On our biggest day we had about 70 kids on set; we needed to make sure they were all there and taken care of. We had people assigned to each group of kids, so everything would go smoothly. Everything went according to plan and I am really happy with the way it all turned out.

What impressed me the most about both Incident at Public School 173 and The Teleported Man is the very high production value. These are both very professional-looking productions.

We have access to really great equipment through UT, but I got to give a lot of credit to both directors of photography — Cameron Jones for The Teleported Man and Taylor Washington for Incident at Public School 173 — they were really great. Both directors had very clear visions about how they wanted their films to look. I think the most important thing for both films is that everybody worked together really well. The crews were both very similar and we shot the films two weeks apart. We all just really gelled and we had a great time. In the end, that’s what made both films come out so well. Everyone was on board with both projects to make them the best that they can be.

What do you hope to get out of your Austin Film Festival experience?

This is my first festival so I am really excited. I am still a student, so this will be like stepping out and beginning what I hope is a long career. I just want to meet a lot of people and see great films. Just get out and about, and get a feel for the industry that I hope to work in.

Do you plan on continuing to work as a film producer in Austin after graduation?

Yes. Definitely.

What are the benefits of filmmaking in Austin, versus moving to Los Angeles?

I think there is a lot of creativity and up and coming talent in Austin. I feel like if I was to move to LA, I would need to start at the very very bottom. Here, if I get some experience at school and get out and show my stuff on the festival circuit, I feel like I can start moving up the ranks faster here. Also, its a small film community, so its easier to meet people here. From my understanding of LA, it is much more studio controlled, and I think there is a lot more freedom here.

Austin Movie Events This Week

10/15 – Violet Crown Cinema – Cinema East presents the regional premiere of Ry Russo-Young’s Nobody Walks. (More info)

10/17 – Driskill Hotel – The Austin Film Festival throws their 10th Annual Film & Food Party to benefit AFF’s Young Filmmakers Program. (More info)

10/17 – Mexican American Cultural Center – Cine Las Americas presents Soldeirs of Salamina. (More info)

10/18-10/25 – Various Venues – The Austin Film Festival takes over downtown Austin (More info)

10/18 – Alamo South Lamar – AFS’ Essential Cinema presents my favorite Ernst Lubitsch film, Ninotchka. (More info)

10/19-10/20 – Blue Starlite at AFS – The Blue Starlite kicks off its Halloween series off with screenings of Monster House, Poltergeist, The Addams Family and Addams Family Values. (More info)

10/21 – Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar – Cinema East presents the regional premiere of Stephen Gurewitz’s Marvin, Seth and Stanley. (More info)

The very first films that Don remembers seeing are Star Wars IV: A New Hope, The Black Hole, and Moonraker. He also recalls watching The Elephant Man at way too early an age, having a demented effect on his psyche for several years. During his high school and college years, Don randomly selected film directors and rented every VHS tape he could find by them. His discovery of the amazing TLA Video stores (Philadelphia, PA) thrust this obsession into overdrive. Don then dove with eyes wide open into a Cinema Studies Master’s program at Temple University. He soon found himself covering film festivals for Ain't It Cool News, which got him started on the path he finds himself on today. Besides contributing to Film School Rejects, Don is also the Senior Editor for Smells Like Screen Spirit.

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