Phone Calls is an anthology series of conversations exploring the way people speak to each other when not face to face.
Free of physical proximity, a space is born in which personal truths and, often times, ugliness is unleashed by those closest to you as well as those most foreign.
We were on the red carpet for the film’s Tribeca Film Festival premiere at Regal Battery Park. Read our exclusive interview with c0-directors Bonnie Wright and Martin Cohn. Cohn also wrote the screenplay. Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Josh Seidner, Sonya Dissin, Alexandra Marzella, Daniela Mastropietro and Rhys Wakefield star in it.
Tell me what inspired you to make the film.
Bonnie Wright: Martin and I made it together. Martin wrote it and it was very much inspired by the short stories he’d been writing and …
Martin Cohn: They were becoming mostly dialogue. I think for me at least it was just the fact that I love seeing people on phones. I think it’s a great image.
I’m on my phone recording you as we speak.
Bonnie Wright: Yeah, exactly.
Tell me a little bit about your collaborative process. How did you guys link up?
Bonnie Wright: Well, we were friends firstly and the collaboration has been very much joint on this project, which is a real first for me. A lot of the work I’ve done has been very much my original story and me producing it, so this has been a real joint partnership, which has been amazing.
What do you love about directing?
Bonnie Wright: I just love telling stories and exploring characters and working with actors and crew and I’m just a big cinephile I guess, and I love movies and being part of that story telling.
Tell me a little bit about your casting.
Martin Cohn: Our casting was bar one person, all just friends, people that we really trusted. Well, people that I kind of had in mind when I wrote everything, so it was just another big part of the collaboration, which is just so nice to work with people that you love and respect and who understand where you’re coming from.
How exciting is it to here in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival?
Bonnie Wright: It’s so exciting. I’m still stunned, to be honest that we’re part of such an incredible festival. I find everything that they play here is so inspiring and the whole team at Tribeca has just been so supportive during the whole process.
Did you enjoy the opening night last night?
Bonnie Wright: Yeah, it was incredible. It was insane. I can’t believe those people back-to-back played. It was wild. It was so cool.
What do you hope to do in the future as a filmmaker?
Bonnie Wright: I guess it’s always the aim to start heading into feature-length films, which I’m really excited about, but it’s been fun …
Martin Cohn: We’re sort of gearing up to start work on our first feature, writing the first outlines, the first ideas.
What’s your writing process like?
Bonnie Wright: A mixture. A lot of mine … it’s all so character heavy that often I’m usually thinking of events that come out of that afterwards, rather than before, but it’s so hard to explain I think. Our creative process … it doesn’t make sense. It just happens.
Anything else you want to share besides your joint project in the works?
Bonnie Wright: Once the festival’s over, the three episodes that we directed and made that will be up on the Tribeca Now platform and look forward to everyone watching them.
Daniela Mastropietro appears in one of the shorts.
How was working with Bonnie?
Daniela: Wonderful. It was completely chill, very open, suggestions welcome, and yeah, it was great.
Where’d you film?
Daniela: In the West Village in New York City.
How exciting is it to be at Tribeca in a project?
Daniela: So exciting. This is my first time, I’m so excited and grateful, and it’s awesome.
Ellie Foumbi produced the series.
Tell us about your role on the project.
Ellie: I was the producer so I helped, both Bonnie and Martin and I produce together. Yeah, it was a great script and I just came on board as sort of the person in New York that knows a lot of crew people and can put something together. Yeah, it’s been an interesting ride.
How exciting is it to be here at the festival?
Ellie: Really exciting because Bonnie and I are good friends and this was just sort of a passion project, as friends coming together to do something cool and to see it actually get into Tribeca, I was pleasantly surprised.
What do you hope people take away after viewing? What do you think one of the messages is? I’m sure there’s many.
Ellie: There are but I think one of the things that drew me to work on it is the fact that we were doing something totally different from what’s happening in the web series world. The fact that we shot on film, and that it’s shot in a very kind of European style. Just kind of this message that web series can be also art. Yeah, that’s something that I really believe in and it was kind of in line with the kind of stuff that I want to do. It’s really exciting.