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An Interview with Screenwriter Emily Catalano

Charlene is a smart and quirky comedy about one grocery store bagger’s quest to lose her virginity. The creative script was written by UCSB student Emily Catalano, who also does quite the turn as the film’s protagonist. It screens as part of the Santa Barbara Filmmakers shorts collection, which is a rather impressive lineup this year. Catalano answered a few questions via email last week.

How did this storyline develop?

I first thought of Charlene as a character and decided to build a story around her. We see a lot of stories about young boys trying to lose their virginity so I thought I’d try to flip that around.

Were the quirky parts (giving faces to inanimate objects, saying words oddly, etc.) something you actually did?

No, but I did work at a grocery store once, so that’s where a lot of my inspiration came from.

Was Foodland happy to have you shoot there?

They were good sports. We asked a lot of stores if we could film inside and most of them said no. Foodland was a perfect location though, so I’m really glad that it worked out.

Do you find that young people put too much emphasis on losing their virginity?

I think the time and energy could be better spent on something else, like figuring out who you are and staying true to that.

What’s next in your filmmaking career?

I’d love to be a professional screenwriter, so I’m going to keep writing and developing those skills. I’m graduating from UCSB in March, so I’ll start seeking out an agent or manager then.

Charlene screens as part of the Santa Barbara Shorts I collection on Wednesday, February 1, 2 p.m. at the Lobero Theater and again on Thursday, February 2, 10:40 a.m. at the Metro 4.

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