Don’t Pass Me By DVD  A wise man once said, 'Life was for the living'. Well, I think it was a man! Because it could have been a woman, couldn't it? Come to think of it, I bet you anything it was a woman who coined this phrase. Especially after having an amazing conversation with a nice lady named Rachel Noll, who told me about her very personal film...

Don't Pass Me By

Rachel Noll -- Don’t Pass Me By 1) What are your own origins, Rachel? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to were you are today?   I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in a very conscious and creative family. I always found myself engaged in activities that stimulated my own creativity and let me bring the fantastic creations of my imagination to life. I would dance, draw, paint, write, play music… and eventually I found myself leaning more and more towards performing and acting.

As I moved into high school and college, acting became my focus, and I knew that I wanted to come out to LA and work in movies. What I didn’t know, though, was that the journey would take me around and through that dream and flesh it out in a whole new way.

Through a series of doors opening and closing during my first few years out in LA, I found myself on the other side of the camera as well as in front of it. Writing and producing a film as well as playing a key role. I got a taste of a certain kind of ownership and freedom that I hadn't experienced before, and I realized how fulfilled I felt being a part of the storytelling process from so many different angles. So slowly, the dream of being an actress expanded to include a dream of being a filmmaker.

Don’t Pass Me By DVD2) What inspired the creation of ‘Don’t Pass Me By’?   As I mentioned, acting was my first love. I grew up performing, and got my BA in Theater with a focus on acting. I was out in LA auditioning for a couple of years, and I started feeling creatively frustrated because I was constantly waiting for other people to approve of me and offer me work. Plus the jobs I would book were few and far between, and so in an especially dry month, I decided to pull out a book that I had loved as a teenager and adapt it into a screenplay. 

As it turned out, I really enjoyed writing, and I was good at it too! In that moment it dawned on me that I had just given myself the keys to the kingdom, because I had cultivated the tools to create work for myself. So when I had finished that script, I partnered with Katy K. Burton and started writing another… and we began the process of turning that script into a movie. 

3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   It’s a story about the wake up calls in life. The moments that shake people out of their comfort zones and show them where they have been unconscious. It’s an exploration of those moments of choice most of us have experienced in some form or another, where something unexpected shakes up everything we believe… and we are given the opportunity to make a change. 

Don’t Pass Me By DVD
The story is told in a vignette style -- four intersecting story-lines that follow four women at a crisis point. One women learns she has stage four cancer with very little time to live. Another comes to the harsh realization that she is not happy in her marriage when she is confronted with unexpected feelings for her best friend. The third is a rebellious teen who finds out she is pregnant. And the last follows a Hollywood starlet who has achieved fame and fortune, but lost touch with the things that really matter to her. 

4) If this film omitted a collective odor, what would it smell like and why?   It would be like living in a room filled with cinnamon all your life. The only smell you have ever known is cinnamon. And then one day, you are brought outside into a field of lavender, and your senses are flooded with a completely new smell… and it’s scary, and exhilarating, and you don’t know if it’s better or worse or if it will harm you, and part of you feels loyal to the cinnamon and doesn't want to like this new smell… but the mere fact that it’s different makes you want to explore it further. And as you walk out into the field, you start picking up on other smells. Grass, and baking bread, and dirt, and rain… and suddenly the cinnamon room seems small and limited in a vast world of possibility. Just one color in an infinite rainbow. And rather than being limited to just one, as you thought, you realize you can have them all. 

Hows that? 

5) What song would you say best represents your wares and why?   In this moment, I would say “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. In my work and in my life, I’m realizing more and more how little I know… and what a wonderful thing that is. Things that seem to be obstacles turn out to be blessings, things that I thought were wonderful opportunities fall flat…. so in letting go of the need to know, life becomes an infinite playground to explore. Its the exploration of these polarities of life, the ups and downs, the jarring misdirects and the moments of profound wonder and understanding that I most love to explore in my life and my work.

Cate Blanchett
6) If you could get a known celebrity – either living or dead – to promote this flick, who would you chose, and why would you want this particular person?   I would choose Cate Blanchett or Olivia Wilde -- because they have both made a point recently of speaking out about the gender bias in Hollywood, and the inequities that female filmmakers still face. They are passionate about seeing more opportunities for women in front of and behind the camera. Applauding films that have stories with interesting and complex female characters and pointing out how few and far between they still are. There is a turning in the tide, with more awareness being placed on these inequities, and I am excited to be able to lend my voice to the conversation with a film written by women, and featuring four strong, complex, female protagonists. 

7) What were the main obstacles you had to contend with along the way?   Production had varying stages, and snags, and delays, as most film productions do, and we had to constantly improvise and let go of notions about how things were going to turn out. Let people go, bring new people on, but ultimately, everything came together in it’s right way and time, as things usually do. 

8) If ‘DPMB’ had a motto, what do you think it would be?   C. Thomas Howell’s character in the film says it best: "Don’t waste your time with regret. If you want something, go and get it. Otherwise, life can do an unfortunate thing… pass you by".

Wow! Doesn't that sound like a magnificent movie to you, dear reader! So what are you waiting for? When you have the time please check out their facebook page and twitter stream for more information. Or alternatively, grab a copy from the links provided.   
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