After its initial release in June, Emily Diana Ruth’s short film Cold has been picked to become one of six series New Form Digital are creating for Verizon’s video streaming service, Go90. TenEighty caught up with Emily to discuss the short film and her thoughts on it being turned into a series.
“Initially, I was pretty intimidated. You don’t just throw around a name like Ron Howard – that has certain weight to it,” Emily says, when asked about working with New Form Digital. “But early on, it was clear everyone involved with NFD was just really kind and really wanted to help me make my film as good as it could be. They provided a lot of feedback in the writing period, and they really pushed me to re-think my story over and over again until I landed on something that worked. The film is infinitely better because I was able to have that back and forth with them.”
“When it came to production, they allowed me to be autonomous and to just make the film the way I knew how, and then jumped back in with feedback once we headed into post-production. I feel really comfortable and confident going forward knowing I’m doing this series with them.”
Discussing the inspiration behind Cold, Emily says: “Cold is not remotely autobiographical, but does come back to a theme I use a lot in my work, which is the idea of ‘home’ and ‘where you come from’ and how those things play into the person you become.”
“I wanted to explore a mystery through the eyes of a young teenage girl,” she continues. “As a kid, I was very into mysteries when the protagonist was someone I could relate to: Mary-Kate and Ashley in their mystery films, Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy – [I] could not get enough of that stuff. I started thinking about the idea of adulthood and how, for me, how I made choices for my life was so informed by my upbringing and the people I knew, whether that meant I was going to go along their path or detour and make my own. Knowing where I came from and who I came from helped me make these choices, so I really wanted to explore the idea of someone going through that and not knowing any of those details.”
Extending a short film into a series can be a difficult job, but Emily tells us that she already had a series in mind when she pitched to be part of the Incubator programme.
“I wanted the pilot to stand on its own as a short, but I’ve known since the beginning what kind of arc the series would tackle,” she explains. “We’re just beginning the writing process, so everything is very much in flux, but all you really need to know is that there is another – quite large – mystery for Isla to solve going forward.”
“I’m really looking forward to working with a larger team than I’m used to. I’m usually working on smaller-scale projects where I wear multiple hats, but in those situations you often don’t get to focus on the directing as much as you’d like. So I’m looking forward to having slightly more tunnel vision with this project.”
The film is set in Canada, Emily’s home country: “I was really keen to make something which showed off small-town Canada, where I grew up,” she explains. “I’m just really happy to be able to show off my snowy homeland! So much stuff is shot in Canada – lots of American TV and film, and every effort is taken to make it not look like Canada. So I’m excited to really embrace that setting of small town Canada and show it to the rest of the world.”
There is currently no release date for the series, but all six of the 12-part original series are set to premiere on Go90 over the next year.