For hardcore Adam Rodriguez fans, most of you will know that writer and director Jessica Kavana is the woman behind the much anticipated movie “Love & Debate”. Jessica sat down with myself to talk about the movie and what it was like working Mr. Rodriguez.
Q: What sets Love & Debate aside from other love stories?
J: Wow... Well to begin with, the protagonist is a woman, which is not as common as one might think. And not only is she torn between her love for two men, or the fight for her heart vs. her head so to speak, but she's also torn by her love for her talent and her desire for a future unlike that of her mother's.
Q: How does the rape issue play out in the movie? Or will that give away too much of the plot?
J: No, it's a "date rape". I put that in quotes only because they weren't on an actual date, but rather how is so often the case with date rapes, it is with someone you know and to some extent, trust. This blurs the lines much more of whether or not a rape actually occurred, which is what Jordan struggles with.
Q: So would you say Love & Debate is quite dramatic viewing?
J: No it's pretty dramedic, a romantic dramedy if you will.
Q: How has the movie been perceived in the debating world?
Jessica: I've only heard great things so far, but the reality is that with ANY sport you can only go so far in without making a documentary. Yet, having said that I think we stayed as true as any story is going to stay to the sport of debate while still having other stories to tell. And, as a former debater I was very particular about keeping the specificities (for the large part) true, and not cheesing it up.
Q: So being a former debater, how did you come up with the plot? What was your inspiration?
J: I had many stories I had been wanting to tell, about young love, the trials and tribulations of being a woman with dreams, my love and respect for debate...all of these experiences inspired me.
Q: Is the story somewhat semi-biographical?
J: Somewhat, many of the characters are also composites of many people I knew growing up. Although Adam's character Elias is a direct representation of the man who is now my husband, Elliot. And every scene that people REALLY laugh at, is funny enough one of the scenes that is based in reality.
Q: Besides being the writer/director of the movie, what made you decide to have a small part?
J: We couldn't find another female debater who was the right age and could speak that fast in such a short amount of time.
Q: Tell us an overview of the movie and how significant Adam’s role is?
J: The film is a coming of age story about Jordan Landa, a bright girl who is very talented in debate, and who is constantly on the search for "the road less travelled". Adam plays the guy your head falls for before your heart. The perfect guy, the one you don't want to like because your parents usually do.
Q: What was it like working with Mr. Rodriguez?
J: I loved working with Adam, he's a sweetheart, and he couldn't have been more at home in the role or in Miami, where we shot.
Q: Adam is a known prankster. Did he pull any pranks on set?
J: Luckily no, because we were all working so hard we probably would have fallen for anything! Not too much time for jokes on an independent film. No time for anything actually.
Q: How gruelling was the schedule?
J: Very, we had no money to pay overtime so we had to be very strict about ending at exactly on time. We were shooting with one camera and there were many six or even seven page days which is a huge amount.
Q: You're very passionate about the movie aren't you?
J: It's been my life for the past six years. I love it like a child, but I am SO ready for that kid to go to college.
Q: How important is it for you that the movie succeeds?
J: It's important that the movie succeeds financially because this was done old school, in that we raised the entire budget through friends and family, so it would be really nice to get some money back to them. Personally, it would be huge. It would allow me to keep telling stories that I feel aren't being told in the current movie-making environment.
Q: Are there any other screenings planned? I hear the movie went down a storm at the 2006 CineVegas Film Festival!
J: Yeah, we also had a huge reception at the Miami film fest, we sold out in like ten minutes, it was crazy.