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by Cressida Greening
July 21st, 2011

Come see Looking Forward to Yesterday TONIGHT in Long Island City

This Thursday Rooftop is showing a special series of shorts, collectively entitled Hope and Heartbreak as our way of helping you (and ourselves) navigate the twisted and confusing concept of the modern relationship. One of the films which will be shown is  Looking Forward to Yesterday which is more than just a classic tragic portrait of a love forlorn, it also deals  with existential questions of free will and predestination. We asked co-director Kaia Rose to shed some light on the matter of love and fate and got to talking about the inspiration behind the film and her experience of making it.

Rooftop Films: The idea behind the film is so interesting and original. Can you briefly explain the premise of the film for someone who hasn’t seen it? What was initially your inspiration behind it?

Kaia Rose: The film is about a man who experiences his life in reverse – each day he goes to sleep and then wakes up to the day before.  It focuses on his relationship with the woman he loves and the day that they “first meet”, which of course is the last time he’ll ever see her.  We thought it would be interesting to explore their relationship as they don’t have shared memories like most couples do; they can only ever share the present, because she remembers the past but he remembers the future.

I don’t think we usually think about how much of our relationships with people are based on shared experiences and even what we do on a day-to-day basis comes from knowledge of what we did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. It’s interesting to see what happens if you take that away from someone, that foundation of remembering the past – it changes the way they relate to people, their outlook on fate and ultimately creates a very lonely existence.

RF: It seems like a lot if not all of the film is shot on location, explain a bit about the actual process of making the film? Some of the locations, such as the city which your characters visit, are especially striking visually, how did you choose the locations?

KR: We’re very lucky to be living in a famously beautiful corner of the UK so we thought we might as well exploit that and make a beautiful film!  We wanted their day in Bath to have a really magical feel, as that day needed to make such an impact on both characters that they would remember it for years to come, so we went searching for locations in Bath that would be stunning enough to help create that magic – I have to say, it wasn’t too hard.

As for the making of the film, it was quite a roller-coaster ride!  Our lead actor broke his arm mid-way through shooting, so we had to take a week-long hiatus and then find ways to hide the fact that he couldn’t move his arm when he got back.  That was fun.  Then we built our own steadicam out of PVC pipe because the budget was absolutely minuscule, and we wanted to do lots of walking shots in Bath.  Our first day in Bath it rained almost nonstop and our second day of shooting was the hottest day of the year so far, which is what you get for filming in England.  Our actors hated us because although we got to wear shorts, their costumes had been chosen when it was raining so they were stuck in coats.

RF: The film looks into a lot of existential questions about the nature of life and memory, would you consider making the film into a feature or would you be interested in pursuing some of the ideas you raise on a larger scale in a future project?

KR: Absolutely!  We’re playing with different ideas about how the story could translate into a feature film at the moment, actually.  I think the concept always seemed a lot bigger than a 20 minute film and there were so many things we know about the characters and their story that didn’t actually make it into the script.  It would be fun to work on it again, as we’re both still fascinated by the ideas about determinism and free will and I think there’s a lot more to explore, whether in a longer adaptation of this story or in other films.

RF: The mood of the film moves from carefree joy and exuberance to heartbreaking melancholia; do you think the film is ultimately optimistic about love and the impact which is has on our lives?

KR: I think the film is very tragic in a lot of ways because, unlike normal people, our main character knows that today is the last day he’ll ever spend with the woman he loves – but she doesn’t know this, so he can’t even properly say goodbye.  So the tragedy is in the loss of love and the loneliness that follows.  But I do think the film is optimistic about love in general and how important it is to share your life with someone who understands you in a way that no-one else can.  In a way, it’s a very idealistic way of looking at love because when the characters meet, on either side of their respective timelines, they each meet someone who knows everything about them and understands them – wouldn’t we all love to meet someone like that?

RF: What’s your next project?

KR: Nick and I are both still in Bristol, he’s working for Aspect Film & Video and I’m currently producing films for a production company called ArthurCox who creates animation, live-action and archive projects, so we’ve each been a bit busy lately.  But it’s been a year now since we finished Looking Forward to Yesterday and I think it’s about time to start something else!  I’m working on a couple of scripts and we’ve both been discussing what the next project should be – so hopefully we’ll be back again soon with another film.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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