Electric Nostalgia is science fiction thriller tells the story of Alexis whose unfamiliar dreams haunt her after she is brought back from the dead in a body that is not her own. Electric Nostalgia will be making its World Premiere at the deadCENTER Film Festival. In this deadCENTER Q&A session, Writer/Director, Jacob Leighton Burns, and lead actress, Lauren Analla, discuss the film.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your role with Electric Nostalgia.
Jacob Leighton Burns: My name is Jacob Leighton Burns and I am the writer/director of Electric Nostalgia. I’m also co-founder of Planet Thunder Productions, and I co-host an interview-style web series called Talkies, in which we have interesting discussions with interesting people within the film and arts communities in Oklahoma. You can find it at TalkiesShow.com.
Lauren Analla: My name is Lauren Analla. I’m a 23 year old finance major from Oklahoma City University. I’m an actor, writer, and investor. My theatre and film training background consists of Atlantic Theatre Company in New York City, the British American Drama Academy at the University of Oxford, iO West, and Upright Citizen’s Brigade. I currently live and work in Los Angeles, California.
I play two roles in Electric Nostalgia that of Alexis and Rachel. To refrain from giving away too many plot points, my character (Rachel) wakes up in a body that is not her own, and attempts to understand the paralyzing dreams of the previously inhabited body (Alexis) in order to find out what brought her demise.
How would you describe Electric Nostalgia to people?
JLB: Electric Nostalgia is a sci-fi thriller feature film about a young woman who is haunted by unfamiliar dreams and visions of a man without a face after she is brought back from the dead in a body that is not her own. It’s creepy and tense, but very much built on a foundation of character and drama.
LA: Electric Nostalgia is a fast-paced psychological thriller. It’s an homage to 60s/70s horror, and exposition-wise influenced by films like Primer or Upstream Color. Bottom line, if you’re wanting to be glued to your seat; see it. Planet Thunder Productions has created a project that will not disappoint.
Why should one see it?
JLB: I’ve grown up watching classic films, and I knew when I made my first feature, I wanted to incorporate some of my love for those films into the style, but also use that aesthetic and atmosphere to tell a whole new story. I’ve also always loved science fiction stories, like The Twilight Zone, that are more focused on characters and story, rather than showing off big special effects. There’s a lot of themes and ideas that can be explored in sci-fi that can be difficult in other genres. So I tried to incorporate all of that into Electric Nostalgia. Ultimately, it’s a tense, edge of your seat thriller that’s fun to watch, but if you dig a little deeper, you might find some interesting things under the surface.
LA: Trust me, you’ll want to say that you were able to see director Jacob Leighton Burns’ entrée into the film industry. He has a beautiful imagination and a keen vision that makes his storytelling so captivating to watch. Plus, who doesn’t love an edge of your seat, psychological thriller.
What was the most challenging aspect you had in the production?
“What’s amazing about the story though is that each audience member will leave with different answers. They will definitely leave the theatre in love with different characters and their decision making.”JLB: The heat and the lack of sleep. We filmed for three weeks in July 2014 in a building with no air conditioning, so… that was rough. Also, there are lots of advantages to keeping the crew small, but one of the disadvantages is that means that everything fell onto the three producers (me, Vinnie Hogan, and Zachary Burns). Therefore, there were a lot of really late nights and very early mornings. Eventually, I couldn’t tell the difference between being awake or being asleep anymore. The two had melded into a new third state of being.
LA: Before production, I approached the script like a detective, trying to find specific answers to how and why the end culminates like it does. What’s amazing about the story though is that each audience member will leave with different answers. They will definitely leave the theatre in love with different characters and their decision making.
During production, the scenes called for a lot of emotionally raw moments. We all wanted to do as many takes as possible in order to capture the best moment, but it was definitely the most tired I’ve ever felt after a project once we were wrapped. Also, Rachel doesn’t have the best balance being in an entirely new body, so there were a couple of times during the shoot I truly felt like I had broken a knee cap.
What was the best part about filming in Oklahoma?
JLB: The best part about filming in Oklahoma was definitely the amazing, talented, and supportive community. We could not have made this film without the contributions and support of so many Okies. People, businesses, etc offered so much support in so many different ways, it was hard to keep track. What’s kept us going for the last couple of years was the excitement we felt from our community, they want us to succeed and they want to help in any way they can. We couldn’t have made this film anywhere else, and it’s all thanks to the awesome people of Oklahoma.
LA: There’s a certain exhaustion that comes with filming in cities with major film industries, so I would definitely say the hospitality by local businesses, families, and artists. It became a passion project to anyone that was asked to help in anyway, and that is always amazing to see, especially when a majority of what we were asking for was behind the scenes help. There’s no way this movie could have been made anywhere else.
What were some particular scenes that were enjoyable to film?
JLB: I’m not sure how enjoyable it was for Lauren, but the sequence when she crawls out of the tub of goo (seen briefly in the trailer) holds a special place in my heart. It was a scene that I had feared shooting, because if we couldn’t make it work, if the audience didn’t believe it, the whole movie would fall apart. But thanks to the crew and especially thanks to Lauren’s incredible performance, not only did the scene work, it was better than I could have ever imagined.
LA: It’s so hard to choose, because the most enjoyable scenes were any that I was able to share with the cast of wonderful Oklahoma actors. They each gave so much in their own unique way that I felt fortunate to act beside them.
If I had to single it out though, my favorite scene has to be about 3/4 of the way through the film. I’ve awoken from yet another paralyzing dream at Leland’s home and look out his window. The reason I love this is due to two reasons: 1) Stephen Goodman continually giving his best performance, even when it wasn’t his shot. He was off camera and giving the performance of a lifetime, which made it easier for me to perform; 2) Little known fact, the entire scene even while I’m speaking, the song “Yayo” by Lana Del Rey was playing on repeat in my mind. I love that song, so I love that moment, knowing that it’s playing in there, and I can’t get it to stop.
What are your thoughts on the deadCENTER Film Festival?
“I’ve always known that Oklahoma had potential for bigger and better things within the film industry, and I think deadCenter is leading the charge in that development.”JLB: I can’t think of a better reward for the last two years of work than to premiere the film in front of the people who helped make it a reality. I’ve been attending deadCenter for almost ten years, and watching it grow every year has been inspiring. I’ve always known that Oklahoma had potential for bigger and better things within the film industry, and I think deadCenter is leading the charge in that development. It’s an honor to be included in the festival this year, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the film!
LA: I think MovieMaker magazine says it all by calling deadCENTER one of the “top 20 coolest film festivals.” My first experience there was in 2011 with the Famke Janssen’s film Bringing Up Bobby, and to see how much it has grown in such a short amount of time is astounding. It continues to develop, but still holds true to providing the best experience to filmmakers and audiences. Lissa Blaschke, Lance McDaniel, Kim Haywood, Alyx Picard, and Julie Hall are just a few of many that deserve so much recognition. Not only do they provide Oklahoma filmmakers a platform alongside internationally renowned filmmakers, but they create an environment/festival that champions film, creativity, and community above all. They all deserve a standing ovation.
Anything else you wish to add?
JLB: Planet Thunder Productions is currently seeking investors for what will be our next film, Werewolf Scouts – which is about a group of boy scouts who go on a camping trip and discover that their scout leader is a werewolf! The film will be written and directed by Vinnie Hogan and produced by myself and Zachary Burns. For more info on Werewolf Scouts, Electric Nostalgia and our other projects, check out ElectricNostalgiaFilm.com and PlanetThunderFilms.com! And follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
LA: If you’re interested in screen acting classes or becoming an actor, then you must train with Michelle De Long at Actors Casting and Talent Services in Oklahoma City. You’ll thank me later. She gave me the foundation that I needed in order to pursue this career.
I just wrapped a James Franco collaborative film entitled Dark Hours: Roxana that will be released in 2017. It’s a drama set in an 1800’s woman’s insane asylum. Also, I’ve recently booked a pilot that millennials will be interested in, so keep your eyes on my Instagram/Twitter @yourgirlanalla for updates on both.
Read more Question and Answer sessions with other deadCENTER filmmakers, past and present, here.