Meet Director Victoria Negri
“When things feel impossible, I remind myself of moments of absolute bliss in this profession, moments when I’ve thought, this is why I do this.” – Victoria Negri
Victoria Negri can’t point to any immediate inspirations that got her into filmmaking. Except, every weekend when she was a child, she would go to the movie theater with her family. It was a place they could all “experience a story together.” She spent a lot of time writing stories as a kid, and running around her family home with a videocamera, making up films with her siblings. Initially, Negri pursued acting and went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for an undergraduate degree in drama. However, after graduating, she grew frustrated with the roles she was auditioning for, and soon realized that she had a storytelling voice that she yearned to express through her own films.
After her father passed away when she was 26, she took some huge risks to further her career. “I decided to direct myself in my first feature film. In losing a parent, life all of a sudden felt much more precious to me, and I didn’t want to waste it. I saw how quickly life can pass and thought, ‘If directing is something I want to eventually do, why would I keep waiting to do it?’” What makes Negri persevere is reminding herself of the small successes she’s had, whether extremely personal or or outwardly facing. “The conversations I’ve had with audience members after my screenings have renewed my passion time after time, as well as the personal feelings of accomplishment in wrapping a long shoot with people I love to work with… and of course, seeing my film on a screen for the first time, all push me.” Negri goes on to say, “when things feel impossible, I remind myself of moments of absolute bliss in this profession, moments when I’ve thought, ‘this is why I do this’.”
Negri wrote and starred in her feature directorial debut, GOLD STAR, about a young woman whose life is changed after her older father suffers a stroke. The role was played by the late Robert Vaughn in his final screen appearance. The film premiered at the Buffalo International Film Festival in October 2016 as the opening night film where it won the Audience Award. While GOLD STAR was on the circuit, Victoria won the Lisa Blount Memorial Award for Acting at the Oxford Film Festival, and the film was selected by incubator Big Vision Empty Wallet as an inaugural kickstart diversity film and participated in their prestigious Distribution Lab.
GOLD STAR had a theatrical release in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston in November 2017, and is now out now on Amazon and Amazon VOD.
Negri has also produced and assistant directed numerous short films, music videos and web series that were featured at Cleveland Film Festival, Queens World Festival, NY WebFest, IndieWorks, and Nitehawk Shorts Festival. She has also acted in award-winning features, shorts and webseries featured at Cinequest Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, and Tribeca.
“It’s a frustrating thing to literally watch people at festivals and other film events assume I’m not the filmmaker.” ~Victoria Negri
Despite her accomplishments, the greatest obstacle Negri continues to face is being overlooked. “Often, unless somebody knows I’ve directed my film, the men around me are immediately approached as the filmmaker. It’s a frustrating thing to literally watch people at festivals and other film events assume I’m not the filmmaker.” In situations like this, Negri asserts herself even more to avoid being overlooked, and puts herself out there even more. She actively promotes her film in person, speaking to people about it, as well as, opening up about the filmmaking process. “I’m no longer shy about all the hats I’ve worn. Too often, I think women are afraid to admit what they took on, for fear of looking like an egomaniac or narcissist. I’m proud of writing, directing, producing, and acting my first feature. And I’m not ashamed to be proud of it.” Negri believes that continued confidence is an exercise for her, and she continues to humbly work on it.
In the meantime, the industry needs more than just the support of women for its female filmmakers, they need men to hire them. Negri points out, “We need to be in the room. Women need to considered for the same jobs as men, with the same pay. It’s not enough to say that women don’t want to make the same big blockbuster films that men do.” While this may be true for some women, and some men for that matter, it’s simply a false excuse that gets floated around the internet as a universal truth that couldn’t be more wrong. “It has to go beyond programs that fund films by women, women in film groups, etc…” In order for the industry to make it easier for female filmmakers to get the recognition and opportunities they deserve, Negri believes, “progress has to be across the board, supported by the men who are currently in powerful positions, in addition to women supporting one another.”
Her advice for first time filmmakers is to be ready to learn everything from raising finances to distribution. “Nobody is going to work as hard as you are on your film. It is a lot of work. And it will make you stronger and smarter and better prepared for your next film.” However, Negri is quick to note an important truth in the filmmaking world that first time filmmakers and seasoned filmmakers need to accept: Nobody is going to give you a hand out.
Negri is currently in development on her second feature film, ULTRA, a psychological thriller about a woman who runs 100 miles across Death Valley and has a psychotic break with reality.
For news and more information on Victoria Negri and her feature films, follow her online:
Watch GOLD STAR on Amazon
Personal website: http://www.victorianegri.com
Film’s website: goldstar-film.com
Film Twitter/Instagram: @goldstarfilm
Personal Twitter/Instagram: @victorianegri
Article written by Annette Palmer of Netscribed.