A typical present day college party. A girl. A guy. They hook up and go the man’s pink hued apartment, yes pink you read that right, to be alone together. But this is the age of #MeToo and nothing is quite the way it used to be. I mean, just the pink lights of the man’s apartment alone should have given that away!
So the guy (played by Billy Meade who gives a perfectly vulnerable and appropriately intimidated-male-in-this-incomprehensible-age performance) wants the girl to sign a consent so he can “manhandle” her, but the girl has one move up on him. In fact, she (played to perfection by Broadway and film star Veronica Dunne, in what appears to be truly a filmmaker’s greatest casting coup!) pulls out her cell phone and begins to explain her own app for making sure the hook up is handled in a politically correct and no-bitter feelings afterward way. Checkmate!
If it sounds like it’s all too otherworldly, strange, futuristic, it is. And yet it’s the kind of atmosphere that we live in at the moment, this aftermath of the #MeToo movement, the accusations, the wrongdoings, the ruined lives and the blame games. And we still have a Pink Tax to deal with…
Think of it as Rotten Tomatoes meets Tinder on Netflix. The future of dating. A hook up in the internet hell days.
‘Hook Up 2.0’ is beautifully shot and perfectly told. So much so that I’ll gladly admit I didn’t see the end coming. All this wrapped up in a quickie too, because the film is less than 20 minutes long, doing everything a feature could do, in less time and brilliantly.
I caught up with ‘Hook Up 2.0’ filmmaker Dana Nachman via email and following is the full interview. Until one day when I’ll hopefully get to sit with her face to face. She’s just too fascinating to catch up with on the world wide web. Even if we do live in the internet age.
‘Hook Up 2.0’ screens in the “Shorts: Funhouse” program at the Tribeca Film Festival. Check out all screening times and dates here.
I know ‘Hook Up 2.0’ is part of a trilogy featuring strong women. Can you talk about how it fits in with the other two and what are the other films about?
Dana Nachman: I am making a trilogy of short romantic comedies that each focuses on the love life of a female protagonist of a different generation. ‘Hook Up 2.0’ is about a 20-year-old woman, the next in the trilogy, which is not written yet, is about a 40-year-old woman and the third film is called ‘The Final Show’ and is about an 80-year-old woman. I started the trilogy with ‘The Final Show’, which has been on the festival circuit and has done more than 40 festivals over the last couple of years and is being featured now as part of Lunafest and is screening all around the country.
Do you think there is a way to protect ourselves as women, using technology, the way your protagonist does? Is it in the near or distant future, this idea of an app that lets us take control of our sex lives?
Nachman: I do think that technology can play a role in protecting women. In fact, several people after seeing ‘Hook Up 2.0’ have emailed me with articles on consent apps similar to the app I made up in the film. None of the real apps that I have seen have taken it to the rather absurd level that we did in the film.
Forgive this questions, it’s dumb, but I need to ask. After the Arab Springs in the Middle East, there was a trend for filmmakers to deal with stories about their world, pre or post revolutions. Do you think now women filmmakers are working through the #MeToo movement in their content? And why, or why not?
Nachman: I think that is a great question and that yes, you are right to ask it! I do think that #MeToo is top of mind for all of us.
When I was in college, I was a rape counselor for the city of Hartford, CT where I went to school. When I was on call, I would answer the hotline and try to get women calling in to go to the hospital to have a rape kid administered. If she agreed to go, I would accompany her.
This experience always stayed with me but as I got older I moved away somewhat from being on the frontlines of a cause I feel very strongly about. #MeToo has brought this issue back to the front burner for me and this film is a direct result of that.
What inspired ‘Hook Up 2.0’, a particular moment, situation, even a visual cue?
Nachman: I have three children, and in the mornings when I drop them off at school I have a group of friends, and we chat on the corner. Two dads and another mom. The one dad is a Republican and I am one of the bigger liberals in our town. We have had much to talk about over the last several years. We live in Silicon Valley and several years ago we started talking about a horrific sexual assault case at Stanford, a few miles from our house. The four of us are parents of boys and in one of the first conversations of my life, I thought about the issue of sexual assault from the perspective of men. I, for a moment, became nervous for my son when he got older; I wanted to make sure he would know how to protect women and also how to protect himself. After this conversation, I set out to write a short about sexual assault from the perspective of a boy trying to navigate the waters. But even though that was my intention, what came out was ‘Hook Up 2.0’ a total feminist satirical rant on how girls today can protect themselves from predators.
How did you cast Veronica Dunne?
Nachman: Veronica’s Dad, Murphy Dunne, was in ‘The Final Show’. When the film was finished Murphy and his wife loved it and said, “Write a part for our daughter Veronica.” So after I wrote ‘Hook Up’, I called them back and said, “your script is ready!” They sent it to her and I was so thrilled when she said yes.
And Billy Meade?
Nachman: We did a casting call for the role and instead of doing the one scene that we had asked for Billy taped the whole film! And he was great! This was the first casting call I ever did. So stressful! I wanted to take all of them. But I’m thrilled I ended up with Billy!
You are a documentary filmmaker as well, and this short film has almost a reality aspect to it. I forgot I was watching a film, and for a moment was there with the characters, as real people. What are the challenges of each type of filmmaking, documentary and narrative? And do you use your expertise in one to weave into the other when creating a project?
Nachman: That’s such an awesome thing to say! I take that as a huge compliment! I think the awesome work of my DP, Dominique Martinez, also has something to do with that. I really think the way she shot it was quite immersive! I do love the fly on the wall aspect of documentary filmmaking and it’s fun when narrative films can utilize this feel and technique. I have been interviewing people for more than 25 years, first as a journalist and then as a documentary filmmaker, so I have worked with the words of people and how they speak for a long time, so I try to tap into this when I am writing my dialogue. It’s a huge challenge for me, but also an amazing thing to be able to get to have the people say exactly what you want them to which is not a luxury we have in documentary film! I am just starting out in fiction filmmaking, but I think my documentary work is very much woven into the fabric of this narrative work
How would you describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
Nachman: I’m very curious, love being around people all the time and am childlike and goofy.
And finally, what do you wish audiences to walk away with from ‘Hook Up 2.0’?
Nachman: I hope they find it funny and have a chuckle!