Interview: Kat Coiro, director of And While We Were Here

And While We Were Here movie
Kat Coiro
Kat Coiro is the director of And While We Were Here, which I recently reviewed, and her films have played at festivals worldwide, including Tribeca, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Cannes. She attended Carnegie Mellon University and the Moscow Art Theater for history and directing. Coiro was also accepted as a fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory before she left to pursue a professional career in film and television.

Her most recent feature, A Case of You, starring Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Vince Vaughn, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage is being distributed by IFC.


Q: How did you get into making movies? Was it something you wanted to do from an early age? 

A: I always wanted to be a director. I started studying very early, at the high school level by attending Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. From there I went on to the conservatory at Carnegie Mellon University and to The Moscow Art Theater. I moved to New York and got a job doing commercial casting, which landed me my first commercial as an actor.

This led to me working as an actor on movies, pilots and commercials and, although I hated every minute of it, it's been one of my most valuable experiences to date when it comes to working with actors. I started writing and directing shorts in 2007 and I briefly attending the masters program at AFI before my first feature got funded in 2010. I've since done another short and three features!


Kate Bosworth is also in your movie L!fe Happens. How did she end up cast in And While We Were Here?

She had such a great time on Life Happens and loved the reaction to being seen in a comedy so she asked me to craft a movie for her based on her strengths. I wrote the role of Jane for her. Because I was pregnant at the time I knew we had a very limited time to make the movie a reality so I wrote the script in three weeks, knowing we would have a crew of four and a very limited (read non-existent) budget. We shot the whole thing in 13 days while I was 8 months pregnant.


How was it shooting in Italy for And While We Were Here? The scenery is beautiful in the film. 

The beauty of the film can be credited to both the Italian landscape and our DP, the talented Doug Chamberlain who shot with no equipment, using all natural light. Shooting in Italy was fantastic and inspiring. I wrote the script by google earthing the island of Ischia and when we dropped down we had to hit the ground running and every location worked out exactly as scripted. Besides the three lead actors everyone else in the movie (waiter, taxi driver, etc) was an actual non-actor Italian. The people of Ischia were incredibly accommodating and helpful- they were also excited that we filmed their Island in such a positive light. We hope to screen at the Ischia Film Festival in the future.

And While We Were Here. Credit: brianorndorf.com

Why did you choose to major in history in college? Would you ever want to make a historical fiction film? 


I think part of being a filmmaker is being well-rounded and knowing where the world has been is an important part of that. I majored in Russian History partly because their history of story-telling is and will always be inspiring to me. From Dostoevsky to Chekhov you can't beat the Russians when it comes to drama. The very first script I ever wrote is a WWII Russian drama set during the Siege of Leningrad- so anyone out there reading this who has 200 million dollars to spare, give me a call and we'll make a real film!


Do you have any projects in the works as of this moment? 

I have a new film "A Case Of You" coming out in November through IFC. It stars Justin Long and Evan Rachel Wood. I'm also developing a TV project at the moment and I've started to direct commercials.

Thanks to Kat Coiro for letting me interview her via email, as well as the Gathr Preview Series! You can check out my review of And While We Were Here at this link, as well. 

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