Jenna Laurenzo, you are screenwriter, director, producer. You made a debut with the short film Girl Night Stand. What inspired you to make this sweet story about one night stand which revealed to one of the protagonist that she could be at least bisexual?Girl Night Stand was inspired, because I wanted to make a prequel to Lez Bomb, along with something I could use to pitch a TV series. With Girl Night Stand, in particular, I was interested in exploring the character moving through her sexual identity and discovering something new along the way.
You also wrote, Lez bomb movie. Could you tell us what Lez bomb movie is about and what message do you try to send to the audience?Lez Bomb is a comedy about a still closeted young woman who brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving, only to have her coming out efforts thwarted by the unexpected arrival of her male roommate. The protagonist in the film comes to realize the acceptance she is fighting for is her own, and the theme I was most interested in exploring through Lez Bomb was self acceptance, not just with the main character, but with all the characters that make up the family and ensemble.
Your feature and short movies belong to comedy genre. There are quite some lesbian comedies but your really tend to be 'light' – what do you try to accomplish by using comedy as genre in lesbian storytelling and in lesbian audience in particular, since Aristotle defined comedy as portraying people who have some character flaws (and thus he defined them as 'ugly'). Namely, Aristotle defined comedy as an imitation of men worse than the average. However, „the characters portrayed in comedies were not worse than average in every way, only insofar as they are Ridiculous, which is a species of the Ugly.“ This definition is rather odd today and with time it lost its meaning and comedy became only as something to provoke laughter. Romantic comedy which is a very popular genre which depicts romance in humorous terms also focuses on the foibles of those who are falling in love. Do you think your stories coincide with these definitions and if not, why?Yes, I am a fan of Aristotle, though I think his breakdown of storytelling in relation to comedy is representative of the time he lived in. Personally, when it comes to quotes about comedy, I tend to think on Robin Williams quote "Comedy is acting out optimism." I once had a spiritual teacher tell me that laughter was the distance between what we expected to happen, and what happens. I think tragedy is when we hold too tightly to how we wanted life to go, instead of embracing reality. A little distance between our personal struggles allows us to look back through a comedic lens. In life, very often even the greatest of tragedies have comedic moments. I love comedy. I love to laugh. And I love when an audience comes together and shares laughter. In approaching this subject matter through a comedy lens, I hope to tap into the universality of the subject matter, particularly with the family dynamics. I believe comedy provides an amazing access point into subject matters that are often tackled with heaviness through drama. Comedy has the power to invite the audience into the journey, without being heavy handed, hopefully uniting an audience through laughter.
Do you think it is important that lesbian films convey certain values and attitudes, even when it comes to comedy?
You also play in your movies, what is the difference among playing, screenwriting and directing and what do you like or prefer most?Acting, screenwriting and directing all provide an amazing opportunity to dive into storytelling and explore themes, characters and ideas. I don't have a preference, I love them all.
Where/if any do you see similarities and differences in lesbian storytelling in American and European lesbian films?I think every movie is different, continent aside. We tell stories through the lens in which we see the world. Someone making a film in Europe or America is going to tell a story through the lens of growing up wherever they grew up. Maybe if I grew up in California vs. New Jersey my projects would have a different shade! But all films in general are touched by the individual who's telling the story, and hopefully their voice comes through in the most authentic way possible.
What are your plans for the future; you also produce besides directing and playing, which films have you produced yet and why?I am currently developing another feature film and television project. Yes, I have produced, and love that process of bringing people together and collaborating and look forward to continuing to do that!
Thank you so much for your time and for reaching out,
Here is my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennalaurenzo/
Here's the movie's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lezbombmovie/?ref=bookmarks