For this week’s Fast Forward Friday, we interviewed director-producer and documentarian Lisa D’Apolito. She started her career as an actor with parts in films including Goodfellas.
When she started working at an ad agency as a producer she realized she loved being behind the camera instead of being in front of it. As producer-director of 3Faces Films, in addition to her passion projects, Lisa works with corporate clients but also believes in giving back to non-profits.
She continues to direct and produce for Gilda’s Club, Planned Parenthood, GVYC and Surfer Environmental Alliance. Her current passion project is LOVE Gilda a new documentary about comedienne Gilda Radner.
Q: What are you currently working on? Tell us about it.
My documentary film LOVE Gilda – The Eternal Spirit of Gilda Radner. In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career. It weaves together recently discovered audiotapes; interviews with her friends – Lorne Michaels, Martin Short, Laraine Newman; rare home movies shot by Gene Wilder and friends; and diaries read by modern day comediennes inspired by Gilda – Bill Hader, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Cecily Strong. LOVE Gilda offers a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story.
Q: What was the inspiration and impetus for doing this project?
The idea for LOVE Gilda came out of Joanne’s creative group. I had been doing pro bono videos for Gilda’s Club, a support place for people and their families living with cancer, and realized the deep connection people had with Gilda Radner. She has a very unique legacy as she lives on in the world of comedy but also in the world of cancer.
Q: Who are your artistic heroes – who have had an impact on you and your work?
When I was an actress, I was lucky to have the opportunity to be directed by Martin Scorsese. He was so nice, so calm, funny and yet really knew what he wanted from a scene. He made it seem so easy and comfortable. I have seen so many people stress over production but being on the set is really the best part of a film for me.
Q: What keeps you motivated and inspired as an artist?
I grew up in Greenwich Village in very creative times. As I kid I was always around creative people.
Q: What other projects would you like to tell us about?
I also have a funny screenplay that Gilda Radner wrote. I hope to start working on producing it next.
Q: What is one instance of knowing you are living in your vision?
I think when I was interviewing Amy Poehler. We were having a conversation about Gilda and her writings. I had so much fun with her and Maya, Bill, Cecily and Melissa. And it is all on film!
Q: If there were no barriers to entry, what is one thing you would be doing?
Living in a beautiful space overlooking the ocean.
Q: What has been big your biggest obstacle in achieving your vision?
Though I have 20 years in directing and production, this is my first feature documentary. I have come across many people who say, “you are a first time filmmaker and no, this is how it is done.” I was listening but now I realize that there is no “this is how it is done.” A creative process and choices are unique, and do not always fit into someone else’s box.
Q: What do you do to stay connected to your creative self?
I have great creative friends to talk with, I go a lot of museums and I walk in the park.
Q: If you could let go of something that has held you back, what would it be?
Listening to others who may have their own interests.
Q: What is your favorite piece of art?
There are so many. I love Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage at the Met.
Q: What person do you most admire, living or dead?
Q: If you could be known and celebrated for one thing, what would it be?
I followed my dreams.
Q: If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Wanting it to rain on days I have nowhere to go.
Q: If you could sit down with yourself 15 years ago, what would you say?
You did it! You achieved your dreams.
Q: Where would you most like to live?
By the ocean.
Q: What is your idea of success?
Not worrying about finances and having security to do some fun things.
Q: What is your idea of happiness?
Being by or in the ocean.
Q: Final Thoughts?
Thanks Joanne for your great sessions and advice as I start making some major decisions about my final partners in completing LOVE Gilda.