So, listen. I don’t fangirl often, but after I watched Jessica, Jessica, I fangirled like crazy during this interview. Jessica, Jessica was such a real, hilarious portrayal of women and I was so happy to speak to Jessica Hinkson and Jessica Greco about their short film.
Jessica, Jessica is the story of two women named Jessica in their thirties who aren’t married, aren’t mothers, and aren’t failures. The funny/sexy/sad truth of how hard it is to be a woman who wants to settle down, but won’t settle.
Jessica, Jessica is screening at the Breakthroughs Film Festival this Friday at the Royal Cinema in Toronto. You can purchase tickets for the festival here.
KG: What inspired you to make this film?
JH: Well, Jessica and I went to theatre school in New York City and we’ve been friends for a long time but we haven’t actually had the opportunity to work together before and Jess was on her way to Sundance a couple years ago for a film called Antibirth and for some reason, as she was literally at the airport and I think had just posted a selfie on Instagram, I was like ‘we should create the opportunity ourselves to work together’. So, I called and left her a voicemail at like the best time, not the best time, and just said ‘you know, let’s create the opportunity to work together ourselves because I think it would be awesome and we should call it Jessica, Jessica. Live your best live at Sundance, talk to you in a few weeks’ and then when she got back, we had a conversation a couple weeks later and took some convincing, some wine, some brunch and some yeses and then there we went.
KG: You walk a fine line in this film between between being really funny and really sad. How did you navigate that?
JG: Yeah, yeah, it was important to us because we really wanted to do something that felt like a comedy and it became sort of quickly apparent to us that we were going to make a sex comedy because sex is hilarious. It can be! I mean, there’s all sorts of stuff in the female experience that’s really funny around sex that doesn’t often get explored, especially in film but there’s also a lot of truth in what’s funny. Like, things are funny often because they really happened to you, or things are hard, or embarrassing or awkward. We figured in order to tell the full story and to tell an authentic story from the female gaze, it was going to have to be both.
JH: There’s also like in our daily lives, there’s a lot of comedy that comes off at inappropriate times or you know, in times when you least expect it as well.
KG: A lot of the female characters we see in media are ‘nice’ or ‘agreeable’, and the women in Jessica, Jessica are so raw, and hilarious, and I’m rooting for them but they’re also not making the best decisions. How did you go about creating such real characters?
JH: Well, you know, these stories are rooted from our real lives and parts of it, not the obviously the entire story, but there are elements of it that we definitely pulled from our real lives and then Jess can probably take it from here.
JG: Yeah, I agree with you. I don’t think that we really get a proper portrait of women in their 30’s generally speaking in media, and I think that there’s sort of archetypes that are assigned to us that I don’t necessarily fall into and I know Jess doesn’t fall into and so, we did just that. We took sort of the stories that you share over brunch or over a glass of wine that you say ‘don’t tell anyone, put it in the vault’ and Jessica Hinkson was the one that said ‘what if we put it on screen?’ and as much as I went ‘I don’t want to put this on screen, that’s embarrassing and awkward and you are never going to tell anyone’, I knew she was absolutely right because that’s the truth. I mean, that’s really representing women, or at least we felt like representing us in a fair way. We show these women who are amazing and flawed and awkward and sexy and best friends. We are contradictions at the best of times.
JH: And it makes for authentic storytelling.
KG: So, what do you hope those watching Jessica, Jessica take away from the film? Aside from just a general sense of ‘hell, yeah’ like I got.
JG: I’ll take a general sense of hell yeah pretty happily.
KG: It’s pretty great!
JG: That it’s relatable. That whether it’s a moment from one character or both characters or the entire film, that people or women see themselves within those characters or moments of those characters. Self-acceptance. That being flawed is beautiful, being imperfect is perfect, there is no such thing as perfect.
JH: Being seen. Yeah, that they feel seen and they feel heard.
KG: So, what’s next for you and for Jessica, Jessica?
JG: We’re developing it into a web series!
KG: YAAAAS! Good!
JG: That was essentially the first episode of the web series and we will follow these characters from there and we’ll get to learn more about them as women and as professionals in the world and you know, get to meet some of their families. See more ridiculous relationship stuff and tackle some issues that are important to us as women. Like health, both mental and physical, fertility, what it means to not want to be a mom, what it does mean to want to be a mom, lots of stuff. Once I start writing it, I realized really quickly that this was going to be bigger if we allowed it to be. There was a lot to mine here and we’re excited to make it into a web series!
Thanks Jessica Greco and Jessica Hinkson for speaking with me! If you want to see Jessica, Jessica this weekend, don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the Breakthroughs Film Festival here.