Natalie Sarah Brown & Jennifer Gouchoe

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
Natalie - SLUT CHAIN is the story of a young woman who was looking for love, but suddenly needs to to employ merciless tactics when she realizes a romantic prospect is a misogynistic predator. Her unintended actions lead her to shed her innocence and become an avenging warrior.

Jennifer - This script started off as a story about a date gone horribly wrong. And while this story is a commentary on the inherent power imbalances in the heterosexual dating world, Slut Chain is also a story about friendship. It's a film that makes you wonder: if I had to get rid of a dead body, who would I call?

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What are your ambitions with your project?
Natalie - I wanted to practice the art of filmmaking and make a film that people would enjoy. Now, I would love for Slut Chain to be screened all over the world.

Jennifer - I agree with Natalie - I want people to see this film, and I want them to root for these characters and empathize with them. I hope they enjoy the journey of Jen and Kayla enough to want to follow them on a feature-length adventure.

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Natalie - During the shoot, I was so proud of our crew, our cast, and our army of friends who showed up and made this film possible. I will never take their time and effort for granted.

Jennifer - When I first sent Natalie the script, she responded within two days with a shooting schedule. I was excited and invigorated to have found a creative partner who was as ambitious and hard-working as me! We were on similar brain wavelengths. Natalie and I felt a strong impulse to make this film, and so we did. It was meant to be.

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For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
Natalie - At first, you might think our film's demographic is strictly 20-somethings in Los Angeles. However, after viewing the film for the first time, my grandmother commented, "The way the main character speaks about guilt is the same way sexual assault victims talk about their experiences when they are victim-blamed and shamed for coming forward." This film makes you wonder if the male predator deserved his untimely death. Slut Chain comments on the differences in how men and women are fundamentally socialized, which is something everyone has experienced in some way. Why are women's boundaries so often crossed? This film makes you laugh, and it makes you think.

Jennifer - It's natural to assume that this film is strictly targeted towards Gen-Z and Millenials, but I truly believe anyone who watches this film will laugh and enjoy the ride.

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Why should distributors buy your film?
Natalie - Distributors should buy our film because it can be screened to anyone, regardless of age or gender. My old family friend who is an ex-cop loved it. My long distance best friend loves it. My grandmother loved it. Friends and colleagues who live in Los Angeles love it. My hometown in Washington state loves it. It has reach, and it has drive.

Jennifer - Everyone who has watched the film thus far has commented on my chemistry with Kayla. It might sound cliche but I think it's really the sort of chemistry people wish they could bottle and sell.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
Jennifer - This script started off as a dark comedy aiming to critique how cis het men act in the modern dating world. Natalie took this script and elevated it by leaning into both the humor and the darkness. During pre-production, we discussed the camp elements of the film - there are absurd qualities to this film (in the world of Slut Chain, the threat of them being caught by the cops distantly exists), and Natalie had a clear understanding of those elements as the director. I believe what makes this short stand out is how we were able to take a serious subject matter and turn it on its head with humor and absurdism.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?
Natalie - I always knew I wanted to adapt novels into film or limited series. I was in a "shorts" club in university, not knowing exactly what I wanted to do or how I wanted to do that. While I was there, I viewed a film that gratuitously sexualized the female characters. Shortly after, I made a film about the female orgasm out of spite. That's when I realized what directing was - and I loved it.

Jennifer - When I was in fifth grade, I started keeping a journal, and now I have upwards of 20 journals sitting in a box in my parents' home (sorry Mom). In middle school, I roped my younger siblings into making little comedy sketch videos with me. At Sarah Lawrence College, I discovered my passion for acting. Film is my favorite medium because it encapsulates so many different art forms; at its core, it's about capturing human emotion. I want my films to elicit emotion.

Who is your role model?
Jennifer - My mom. She started working as a radio news anchor in New York City in the 1980s, back when newsrooms were primarily male and the rumor mill worked overtime to try to knock her down. My mom held her head high and persevered. Beyond that, she taught me what it means to have a strong work ethic, which is something I am grateful for every day.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
Natalie - Pride and Prejudice (2005) - the score is breathtaking. Lady Bird - coming of age, the relationship between mother and daughter is stunning, Before Sunrise - Richard Linklater's conversations and honesty made me love slice of life films. My Life as a Courgette - learning to trust in love again as a young person who faced trauma is beautiful, and the work they put into the animation is astounding. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - the practical shots used to tell the story from a very difficult POV was inspiring as a budding filmmaking, and painful and heart wrenching as a viewer at the same time. Also, I completely agree about Aquamarine, Jen

Jennifer - Lost in Translation, The Graduate, Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet, and Aquamarine. People may think I'm insane for choosing Aquamarine, but it is truly one of the best rom coms ever made. It helps young girls understand the importance of female friendship, and how the love for your friends can supersede the romantic love we sometimes chase to no avail.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
Natalie - I look for inspiration in what great artists have done before me. I look for it in my life, in my heart, and in my heartbreaks.

Jennifer - The notes app on my phone. Any funny quote I hear, whether it comes from a friend or a comment in passing, I jot it down. That, and my own personal experiences. Write what you know.

Which topics interest you the most?
Natalie - Life, conversation, friendships, love and loss.

Jennifer - Heartbreak, unrequited love, friendship, and sex.


What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
Natalie - Slut Chain. I hope to continue learning and making better (and longer) films.

Jennifer - Slut Chain, without a shadow of a doubt. It only goes up from here.

What do you consider most important about filming?
Natalie - I want to make sure everyone on set is happy, but also working hard. I want to hear laughter at the same time people are sharp and on top of their tasks at hand.

Jennifer - With indie filmmaking, you wear all the hats, which can be extremely stressful. But I learned how important it is to let it all go and just have fun. Enjoy the ride.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
Natalie - Any technique that is necessary to tell the story in its truest form.

How would you rate/what is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Jennifer - We're in a difficult time with the double strike in Hollywood right now - but I hope that once the strike is over, indie filmmakers have more of a platform and a new golden age of film and tv can begin. The market is flooded with remakes, re-boots, and biopics, but there are so many talented creatives with original ideas—it would be great to see them shine. This year, my favorite movies have been the ones with fresh ideas: Beau is Afraid, Sanctuary, Past Lives, and Barbie. I'm most impressed and invigorated by filmmakers who take risks.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
Natalie - When they try to do too much. Fit in too many characters, too many storylines. They can be told successfully, but you must give time and due diligence to each. I want to live and breathe with the main story. The simplest films, ones that stay true to their core, are my favorites.

Jennifer - It's disappointing when a movie loses sight of its purpose. Something that I've learned just from writing Slut Chain is how everything needs to mean something - what are the life and death stakes? Why are we watching this in the first place? If I don't care about what the main characters are going through in a movie, I'll tune out.

Who supports you in your film career?
Natalie - Jennifer, my roommates, my family, the many wondrous humans I have connected with in Los Angeles, and my old boss. I am very lucky to have so many people support me.

Jennifer - I'm lucky to have a family that supports me no matter what. I'm also extremely grateful for my community of artists in LA, especially my Beachwood Cafe community. Even though we're hoping to one day quit the day job, we're family - a talented, artistic family! I met Kayla Fast, my incredible co-lead, at Beachwood, along with Blake, Tia, Jaya (to name only a few) who also worked on Slut Chain. Kayla and I also have our acting class community at the Ivana Chubbuck Studio. If it weren't for my teacher, Aleks Popovic, and my close friend Augie Dannehl, I wouldn't have had the impetus to make Slut Chain.

 What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Natalie - Oops, I have already answered this question in multiple questions above. My grandmother (who is very wise and is a retired English teacher) found it thought-provoking and understood the underlying theme immediately. My old family friend's father, the ex-cop/detective, laughed and loved it so much. He said burying the body where they did was genius. So many friends and acquaintances have said the kindest, most encouraging words about the film, and I am overwhelmed with their feedback.

Jennifer - I've said it before and I'll say it again: the people want to see more!

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
Jennifer - I distinctly remember attending the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 to watch a short film my cousin had acted in. I left feeling so inspired, knowing I wanted to be involved in the film world. Since then, I've been to screenings at Berlinale, New Directors/New Films, Dances With Films, and more, just to watch, absorb, and take in the new perspectives of up-and-coming filmmakers. I'm so excited to finally be on the other side, having my own film in the festival circuit!

What are your future plans in filmmaking career?
Natalie - We hope to jump from short films to features. We hope to create films that challenge our perceptions as individuals and films that are very entertaining at the same time. We hope the double strike in our industry right now finds a resolution that will create better livelihoods for all those who write, act, and make a living as an artist.

Jennifer - Acting is my priority, so I'm manifesting that once this strike is over, I will book something big. Until then, I will continue working on my independent projects. I'm currently producing another short film, writing another short that we would ideally produce by the end of 2023, and most important, writing a feature film. In the meantime, I'm continuing to work on my craft as an actor.

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